Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
Elizabeth Norris’ debut novel is absolutely, mindblowingly fantastic! I went into Unraveling not having a clue what to expect and I was completely blown away. However even if I had the highest expectations for it, it would have exceeded them.
Unraveling is unbelievably fast-paced. It’s a good sized book (445 pages) but it never once felt overwhelming. The story is gripping from the very first page and readers will fly through the book. The chapters are pretty short and that speeds the book along. Also, the fact that the chapter titles are a countdown that leads to the end of the world really add to the urgency of the book.
Janelle is one fabulous heroine. She is strong, knows how to take care of herself, smart, funny, and kind. She’s also really honest. She knows that she sometimes isn’t the best person and especially not the best daughter. It’s refreshing to see a character who has a relationship with their parents even if it’s not the best relationship.
The best friend in Unraveling is not your typical best friend. For one, it’s a guy. Oh and he’s actually a good friend, not a backstabber. Alex is beyond awesome. It’s clear how much he cares for Janelle and he’s always there for her. Ben, the love interest, is also not exactly typical. He’s a bit of a stoner, he’s not popular, he’s not perfect by any means, but it’s clear why Janelle likes him. He also has a couple great friends that add some laughs to the book. Elijah and Reid have serious trust issues (they don’t trust Janelle at all) so they add some humor to the book. Struz and Jared are the best though. They are great family to Janelle (even though Struz isn’t technically related) and they are funny guys.
The plot is something that I have not read before. There’s something going on with radiation burns and a countdown that leads to something unknown (but definitely bad.) At first it’s impossible to figure out what genre Unraveling fits into. I won’t give anything away but I will say that it is definitely not what I was expecting.
Overall, Unraveling is one of the best debuts I have read and I highly recommend it. I’m really hoping there is going to be a sequel and hopefully sometime in the very near future!