Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review: Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris


Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)
Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: April 24th 2012
My rating: 4 stars


Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.


Unraveling was an action packed story with twists and turns that leave your heart pounding, a swoony and sweet romance, and a smart, likable, resourceful heroine.  This fresh and original story was a winning combination for me.

Seventeen year old Janelle’s life has been far from easy.  She’s had to grow up quickly with a bipolar mother and a workaholic father.  She’s stepped into the role of parent for her brother, Jared and takes care of most of the household chores that a mother would care for, and her father lets her.  She even has to parent her mother who is so unstable Janelle must make sure she eats and doesn’t harm herself or anyone else.  In spite of that, Janelle loves her dad fiercely and she has a close relationship with him.  She’s always interested in the cases her FBI dad is working on.  

Everything takes a crazy turn when Janelle is killed in an accident and is brought back to life by a schoolmate, Ben Michaels.  Ben has never been on Janelle’s radar when he hangs out with the stoner crowd and she’s an overachieving AP student.  But now he has her full attention because she wants to know what happened.  As if that wasn’t enough to stick in an “X-File,” the driver and truck that hit Janelle have unexplainable details that seem to fit into a case her father is working on.  Then there is the countdown clock listed at the header of every chapter and you have to wonder: what is it counting down to?  It gives an urgency to the story as we find out more about it!

Unraveling was a non-stop action packed ride, but it was more than that.  It was a story of a broken yet loving family.  The characters and problems they faced felt real even set in this fantastical story.  It was easy to relate to Janelle and all that she’s going through because of that.  You experience the sadness of Janelle and her family dealing with a mentally ill and poorly functioning mother.  I don’t know how I would cope.  It would be hard not to be resentful but Janelle handles things.  I think this why she comes off as a lot older than seventeen, and I loved her no-nonsense approach to life.   She tackled things without complaining but instead looked for a solution for whatever was thrown at her.

My heart swelled over Ben!  I wondered right along with Janelle how she never noticed him before.   When details of the past come to light you’ll love him even more.  Janelle can’t stop thinking about him to the point that another boy she’s been casually dating blends into the background:

It’s weird, though.  As he talks, I feel off—like I’m spacing out.  I can’t help but think of Ben Michaels hovering over me, his hands on my skin, the way he said my name.  The unflinching certainty I was dead and now I’m not—and it’s because of Ben.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Ben either!

Ben is all about Janelle too:

“You’re like gravity to Ben—his own personal gravitational force.  He revolves around you.  It’s been that way since we got here.”

Unfortunately for these two, bigger things are a stake so they can’t just dreamily stare into each other’s eyes and swoon (dang it!). 

This didn’t leave off on a cliffhanger, but at the end you are anxious to get to the next book.  I’ll be picking that up very soon!  I can’t wait to see how this story turns out. 

 

 

 

29 comments:

  1. I sooo loved this one! Can't wait for book 2 (time seems to be stuck somehow, the publishing day might as well be running away from me, LOL)

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  2. So glad you enjoyed this Rachel! I loved it and cannot wait for book two! :)

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  3. The fact that there is no cliff-hanger is a huge plus point for me. I like it when an author can make you excited for the next book without stopping in the middle of something exciting. An action-packed ride with two great characters and a broken family sounds great to me :)

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  4. The ending definitely left me pining for the next book! Although I rated this a little higher than I meant to at the time (I gave it 5 stars, and in hindsight, it's not quite at the 5-star level), I really enjoyed it! Ben and Janelle were fantastic characters and I can't wait to see what lies in store for them next. Brilliant review, Rachel!

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  5. So glad you enjoyed this, Rachel! Janelle certainly made it to my fave mc's list, and Ben was amazing. I love the quotes you picked! Great review. :)

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  6. RACHEL!!! THIS BOOK!!! I'm so glad you loved it too:) This was one that I really had no desire to read when I first heard of it, but I was lucky enough to get a review copy so I went ahead and read it and it just blew me away. I adored Janelle. AND BEN. BEN, RACHEL! I'm madly in love with him:) So excited for Unbreakable!

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  7. Ooh sounds like a lovely romance. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! It didn't really stick out to me before, but I have to admit that i'm a bit more curious now. I'm glad the family dynamics are played up a bit in the book. That's always nice to see in YA.

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  8. This sounds really good. I remember that I featured it one of my 'waiting on wednesday' posts. Glad to hear you liked it, Rachel. Great review and thanks for sharing! :)

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

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  9. This is one of my favorites! Like Jenny, I simply adored Janelle and thought she was brave and pretty darn unique. As you know, I just finished the novella from Ben's POV and started the second book. So far, I'm loving it.
    GReat review, Rachel!

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  10. I need to read a action packed book, so this might we one I will have to pick up soon! Ben and Janelle seem like interesting characters worth reading about!

    Great Review Rachel :)

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  11. I'm really looking forward to this one. Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  12. Another series I have to read. I think I'm going to like Janelle, I love when a character is mature than their age. Great review :)

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  13. I've been looking forward to reading Unraveling. Your review has just made me more excited to get to it! :)

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  14. This is another series I haven't started yet! Though I love the sound of an action-power novel! I haven't had many of those latterly and I think it will make for a change of scenery, so to speak! Janelle, sounds like a brilliant female protag and I love the sound of Ben! ;) Brilliant review Rachel! :)

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  15. I was confused for a minute because I very clearly remember this book being onn this blog, but that was when JAsprit reviewed it last spring. I really liked this one, too, Rachel and I cannot wait to see how the story continues and talk about tear your heart out the end! So glad to see it was a win for you!

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  16. I feel like this is a book I should love but when I read it last year, I was so unimpressed. For me, the beginning was too slow and I wasn't a fan of the MC at all for some reason. I think I might have to give this another try, though, since it really sounds incredible! Lovely review, Rachel! :)

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  17. This one is on my to-read shelf for too long, I hope I'll read it soon. This said, this book sounds really interesting, and the characters seem amazing. Great review Rachel!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

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  18. oh wow I LOVE action packed books!! Ben sounds like an awesome character i'd swoon over too!! Fantastic review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  19. I love your current blog design Rachel and Jasprit; its magnificent!

    Amazing review Rachel!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the way you describe the story and why you liked Janelle and I laughed out loud when you wrote "dang it" :)

    The clock wants an amazing thing incorporated in this story!!!!!! So glad you enjoyed it too!

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  20. Really interesting premise! I haven't actually heard about this book before - I guess it published before I started blogging. It almost sounds like it's bending genres here - both paranormal and contemporary/issues driven. I hope that you're able to read the sequel soon, Rachel!

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  21. I haven't read this one but now I'm really curious about the significance of this countdown clock... Janelle and Ben seem so likeable, thanks for sharing!

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  22. Oh will I ever catch up with all the books I want to read. I've read some amazing thins about this book but it really sounds interesting. It sounds like a book that has a lot of action and we can say drama and also nice a sweet romance, plus as it seems a great MC! I can't ask for more. Great review Rachel :)

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  23. Ah, I love the quotes that you picked, Rachel! <3 You really know how to make any romance in book as sweet as candy! ;) You just reminded me that I need to read this book soon! Ben sounds very swoon-worthy, and the FBI thing make this book even more appealing for me. :)

    Awesome review, Rachel! <3 I missed your fabulous reviews! <3

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  24. Yay! I'm so glad that you loved this book, Rachel.
    It was such an interesting and fun read for me too last year! Gosh, I completely agree about Ben. He was so swoon-worthy. I actually think the romance in Unraveling was my favorite aspect.
    Fabulous review, Rachel! :)

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  25. Ah!
    I've been trying to hard to get a hold of a copy of this one but no such luck. Time to go buy it because I REALLY want to read it, especially now!
    -Martha @ http://theshortone08.blogspot.com/

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  26. Yay, glad you liked this! I was convinced by all the rave reviews last year and it did not disappoint, I loved all the action, although the twisty bit at the end sort of lost me a bit.

    Bring on the sequel!

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  27. This is the first review I've read for this book and it sounds fabulous. Lots of action and some very swoony moments.

    I definitely need to add Unraveling to my wishlist.

    Fabulous review, Rachel. Nice to see you back! :)

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  28. Great review Rachel. Everytime I read reviews for this book I want to read it again straight away. It was SO good. I'm really glad you enjoyed it so much too. Ben is totally awesome and so is Janelle. I can't wait for Unbreakable.

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  29. I loved Unraveling. It was a surprise to be how much I loved it because I kind of picked it up on a whim. I can't wait for the next book, especially since we might be visiting Ben!

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