Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
Author: Elizabeth Norris Website|Twitter
Published: 7 June 2012 (HarperCollins Children's Books)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo
Source: Borrowed from library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
STOP THE COUNTDOWN. SAVE THE WORLD…
Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…
Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.
That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…
I'd heard great things about this book so when it was right in front of my face on the library shelves, I couldn't resist checking it out! Unravelling tells the story of Janelle whose world is rocked my a near death experience. On top of that, there's some pretty weird stuff going on with a case her dad is working on with the FBI and Janelle is determined to get to the bottom of it all.
The concept of Unravelling is what really won me over. Each chapter starts with a countdown so it's obvious that the book is building to something that may just threaten the world, and that information is slowly pieced together throughout the course of the story. For a lot of the book Janelle doesn't know what's happening so that mystery really added to the craziness and I loved her drive to get to the bottom of things. I'm on a sci-fi kick at the moment and Unravelling definitely fulfilled that need for some sci-fi! I adored the combination of clever ideas and how they were explained.
The characters were also a highlight for me. I really liked Janelle herself. I loved her sharp tongue and clever wit. Some of my favourite scenes were the ones where she's in school and we get to see her brains and her potential. She's also kind of forced to be strong throughout several areas of her life which endeared me to her even more. As well as the action and suspense, the book provided some really moving moments that I just was not expecting! I got so attached to the characters and what happened to them. I liked that there were some darker subjects touched upon throughout the book as well, for example Janelle's mother's bi-polar disorder and Janelle's own traumatic experiences. Plus, it was quite refreshing to have a main character who is predominantly surrounded by males.. There's Janelle's best friend Alex, Nick, Ben plus her brother Jared and her dad and his colleagues. The brother-sister relationship between Janelle and Jared was really moving.
The relationship with her and Ben was one of my favourite parts once it really kicked off. There was this obvious connection between the two of them and that intensity that had me rooting for them and dying to know what the bigger picture was. Plus Ben himself is just so awesome. He's really smart and helpful and looks out for Janelle. There was a bit of uncertainty for me at the beginning because we're introduced to another potential love interested in the shape of Nick. I don't know if it was really necessary to have him there because it distracted a bit from Janelle and Ben's story.
I really enjoyed the secret FBI investigation side of Unravelling. It just made it feel like a TV show or film with all this super cool secret stuff going down. There's also a lot of suspicion shed on several characters that had me hooked to find out who was up to what. It's one of those books that's incredibly hard not to spoil because Janelle doesn't find out a lot of what's happening until midway through the book.
The only downside for me was the crazy amount of characters I had to keep up with because I am just not good with that many people. Half of the important characters I haven't even mentioned in this review because I just wanted to focus on my favourites! Even though the plot itself was quite intense, I loved all the scientific shenanigans that were happening and I am so excited to read the next book because there seems to be so much potential to explore Norris' incredible world and the ending of Unravelling broke my heart a little. It'is a must for sci-fi fans.
What to read next: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris, the sequel to Unravelling
Books like this: Parallel by Lauren Miller, After Eden by Helen Douglas