Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 30, 2012 | 6 Comments

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth NorrisUnraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Published by Balzer + Bray (4.24.2012)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 445 pages
Source: I own it
Buy on Amazon

5 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.

My thoughts

Lives are made of strings of moments, and every once in a while, one of those moments is pivotal and defining. It changes everything, alters you so completely that when you look back, there’s a clear before and after.

Wow. This book blew my mind! I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, so it was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. And boy does Norris know how to kick your feet out from under you! There were a few things I never saw coming, and I found myself having to stop and go back to re-read because I just couldn’t believe it. And then I just stared at the pages, dumbstruck – like, did that really just happen? Did she just go there? Yes, yes she did. It picked up right away with the accident and kept me on the edge of my seat at every crazy twist and turn. Unraveling grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go!

I loved Janelle! She reminded me so much of myself it was a bit scary at times. She had plenty of flaws and she knew it. She kept people at a distance because it was easy, so she wouldn’t have to try. It seemed like she didn’t really like herself much in the beginning.
Day after day passed, and I went through the motions and focused on the mundane because the significant was too hard.
Ten days ago, I should have died. But I didn’t. I’m alive. I have so much to live for. And this time I’m going to do it right.
When she died, she realized that she was never really living to begin with.
Enter Ben. *dreamy sigh* Just so you know, I think I was in love with him before I even cracked the book open. Just look at him! I think his cover model is beautiful, and that’s the kind of guy I like in a book. Not the super gorgeous perfect kind, but the boy next door kind. 
Anyway, I got off on a tangent there…Ben. *dreamy sigh* I loved him! The broken memories you get when he saved Janelle made it clear he had a thing for her already. From the first scene he was in, I craved more and more of him. Did I mention his favorite action hero is Wonder Woman because he thinks the chick has a right to save the guy, too? Move over Janelle, I want a piece of that!
I was able to connect with the characters in a way that I can’t with most books. They each had their own individual personalities and felt so real! And I love a writer than can make me feel outright hatred towards a character, to the point where I can feel my blood boil and I want to reach into the pages and smack the eyeballs outta someone’s head. Brooke, for example. Reid and Elijah had their douchebaggery moments too, but they did get a little better as the book progressed.

In the very beginning I had a small fear of a love triangle forming, but I am pleased to say I was wrong. Alex is just a best friend, more like a brother, really; and Nick hardly stood a chance against Ben. There wasn’t much of a choice for Janelle to make there. Alex was pretty awesome – he stood by Janelle and supported her no matter what. 

I loved the countdown at the beginning of each chapter. Not only did it give you an idea of where you were time-wise, it also added a feel of desperation to the book. Time was running out and every chapter reminded me of that. Which in the beginning, I was wondering what the hell it could be for. Then I got to  the crazy sci-fi twist (never expected that!!) and it made me even more eager to get to the end to figure out what happens. The whole Wave Function Collapse thing was mind-bending and intriguing!

Unraveling was a fantastic emotional rollercoaster for me. There were times I was angry, wanting to yell out loud, “Punch him/her in the face, J!!” and times I was in such total shock that I couldn’t say anything all. And I cried…oh my! Norris crushed my soul with that ending! There’s no sequel listed (yet?), please tell me that’s not the end!! I need more Ben. :(

Favorite character: Ben!! New book boyfriend? Yes, I think so. :)
quotes“You lost, baby? Or are you looking to rebel against Daddy?”
“Wow, that’s original. What eighties movie did you steal that line from?”

“He refers to it as the ‘confusion of my thoughts, so that I am fit for nothing,’ which essentially means he’s so torn up over what he feels for her that he’s just walking around like he has no brain.”
A couple of guys in class laugh like they know the feeling. I’m pretty sure whatever is muddling their thoughts stems from an organ south of their hearts.

Plot: 5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Characters: 5+/5
World-building: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5 starfish
Jessi (Geo)

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6 responses to “Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

  1. LOVE your review! I’ve been meaning to read this book for awhile now but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll try to push this up on my to-reads list since you seemed to like it so much. I had no clue this book was sci-fi till I read this review. *excited* ;)

  2. I don’t think there is anyone here as jealous of you as I am! I simply have no money to buy this book, but the quotes alone and you saying that it was unpredictable, and heck, the fact that it’s not your typical genre but that you enjoyed it (which makes me hope that I’ll enjoy it just as much).. AAAAAAAAAAARGGGH! *gnaws on fist*

  3. Svenja

    I HAVE to read this book! I always hoped it would be translated soon, but I guess I´ll read in in English soon ;)

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