Keertana's Reviews > Unraveling

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
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Jul 26, 12

it was ok
bookshelves: debut-author-2012, did-not-finish, why-the-hype
Read from May 13 to 26, 2012

I think I need someone to explain to me just what was so great about this book, because I sure as hell didn't get it. Maybe I'm missing some pages from my copy of Unraveling, but unlike most of the book blogging community, I was not drawn into this seemingly original story. If anything, Unraveling felt as if it was being written from a checklist:
- Female protagonist who is in high school and has the fate of the world on her shoulders? Check!
- Male protagonist who saves the female protagonist from death and makes her fall half in love with him through that action alone? Check!
- Quiet, shy male protagonist who is in love with the female protagonist from afar and hides his intelligence behind a stoner persona? Check!
- Smart, intelligent, popular female protagonist with issues both at home and concerning her past? Check!
Practically every standard element that you can think of in your usual YA flick is in this novel, so why was it so popular? Let's see if I can unravel that mystery in my review...

When a truck hits Janelle on the road, she should be dead. Yet, even while she's taking what she believes are her last breaths of air, she is mysteriously resurrected by Ben, a stoner who she's never spoken to before. Now, Janelle has to know how she's still alive, why she's still alive, and exactly what her father's new FBI case has to do with anything. There's a countdown and time just may be running out...

Janelle, despite having her family issues that I sympathize with, was extremely annoying and her narration completely grated on me. She was constantly whining about her life, taking out her frustration on her younger brother who did nothing, and had an attitude and aura of being better than everyone else around her. If you're thinking she sounds like a bitch you're right! I couldn't stand her and reading her narration took an immense amount of effort. Furthermore, despite supposedly being "smart" and "clever" and "intelligent" she still manages to fall in love with Ben almost instantly. Their love story felt a little too much like Twilight: Edward is mysterious, he saves Bella, Bella tries to find out why, Bella falls in love with him in the process. Now, just substitute Bella and Edward's names with Janelle and Ben and you have the entire romantic story of Unraveling. Unoriginal much?

Enough about the characters, let's talk about the plot. I suppose for a debut author, Unraveling was clever and original. Each chapter was a countdown to a bigger event, the bipolar mother had never been done before, and it had elements of science fiction. However, there was way too much going on in this story. There were various subplots and the book was too long and drawn out to be credited with having a tight plot. In addition, I wish that Janelle's mother's bi-polarness had been treated more realistically. It was one aspect of this story that I was really intrigued by and it fell flat. Furthermore, the sci-fi elements in this story were disappointing. Perhaps I've read and watched too much sci-fi for this to come across as being truly authentic, but I wasn't "wowed" by it in the least.

Overall, Unraveling was an utter disappointment. I had built this book up to be something amazing in my mind because of all the spectacular reviews, but I didn't find myself enjoying it. I can see the allure for other readers, but I'm getting tired of the same old story lines, characters, and ideas. Publishers seem to enjoy a story that can fit the mold of classic YA, but as a reader, I'm yearning for something more unique. I almost wish I could have seen what other readers saw while reading and falling in love with this book, but I guess I'll never know. I won't be reading any more of Elizabeth Norris in the future, no matter how stunning her reviews are.
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Reading Progress

05/13/2012 page 81
18.0% "last update: I think I'm going to put this on hold for a little while...for some reason, I'm just not able to get into it. The idea is definitely interesting, but Janelle's perspective is grating on me. *sigh* Yet another book with phenomenal GoodReads ratings that I'm failing to enjoy. Hopefully things will pick up...when I decide to pick this up again :/"

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Poop. I hate unoriginal plot movement. Twilight knockoffs especially irritate me, so your review is a little concerning...


Keertana I know! I was really expecting to this book to be brilliant and original, but it just wasn't. Somehow, it got a lot of positive reviews though, so you may still like it. I'm one of the few reviewers who didn't like this book, so the majority of readers definitely loved it and didn't notice the Twilight knockoff. I tend to be a rather critical reader though and I did have very high expectations of this, so maybe that contributed to my low rating of this. Either way, I'd love to see what you think of it when you finally get around to reading it...maybe you can explain to me what I missed in this book if you liked it!(:


message 3: by Inge (new)

Inge I'm sorry you didn't like this book. Just like you, I'm getting really sick of reading the same storyline over and over again, just with different creatures. It's getting tiresome and boring. So I'm thrilled with these recommendations from you and I can't wait to read them! At least they'll be a lot different :)

I suggest you start reading Before I Go to Sleep, it's something entirely else and it'll be a nice break from all these mind-numbing books. The Forbidden Game is also pretty original, but you do have a love triangle. Still.. I'll keep defending L.J. Smith until the end! It was written before it was cool! :D

Also, you obviously need more Sophie Kinsella. It's the literary equivalent of comfort food :)


Keertana I really thought I'd like this story, so I was unbelievably surprised to find I didn't like it! The story line of this one was exceptionally unoriginal and just had a twist to it to make it seem unique, but I didn't buy it. I'm actually really proud/confident of the recent recommendations I gave you since they're all exceptionally original and different, so I can't wait to see what you think of them! :)

Before I Go to Sleep is on hold for me in the library, so I'm waiting for it to arrive for me. Same with The Forbidden Game - all the books I want seem to be checked out! I'm really excited to read both of them, even though The Forbidden Game has a love triangle in it ;)

Yes, I definitely need more Sophie Kinsella! She really is the literary equivalent of comfort food or romantic chick-flick movies...gosh I love her!(:


message 5: by Inge (new)

Inge Poo, your library's no fun! I was gonna recommend other books to you but you've already read them all :P there is no way I can keep up with you!

For me, The Maze Runner is like a breath of fresh air. Maybe you should give that another try?


Jasprit Oh sorry this one didn't work out for you as you'd hoped Keertana! :(


Keertana Inge - *Studying For Exams* wrote: "Poo, your library's no fun! I was gonna recommend other books to you but you've already read them all :P there is no way I can keep up with you!

For me, The Maze Runner is like a breath of fresh a..."


I'm definitely going to give Maze Runner another try, especially seeing your ecstatic status updates! It's going back on my TBR Shelf! :D I'm sure there are plenty of other books you can recommend to me! I haven't read half the number books I've wanted to read, so don't let my library or my crazy pace hold you back - recommend to your heart's content! ;)


Keertana Jasprit wrote: "Oh sorry this one didn't work out for you as you'd hoped Keertana! :("

I know! I was really looking forward to this one! :/ Well, there are always other books out there, so hopefully I'll find a debut author I really love. So far, the only truly amazing debut novel I've read this year has been Under the Never Sky. I recently finished Storm by Brigid Kemmerer which was also really good, but Under the Never Sky has been the best debut book so far.


message 9: by Inge (new)

Inge It's really hard to find books you haven't read though!

1. Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. You need to put that on your to-read list right now.
2. Angels And Demons by Dan Brown.
3. Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews.


Keertana I feel as if you've read so many books I haven't, so I love all your suggestions! I've actually never heard of Where Rainbows End or Wrapped Up in You, so I'll be sure to check them out! Angels and Demons has been on my list since...forever it seems like. I haven't even read The Da Vinci Code yet, so I'm waiting to finally read that before I pick up the sequels! I really need to hop onto the Dan Brown boat...I'm behind the rest of the world on that one!


Keertana Wait...The Da Vinci Code is the sequel to Angels and Demons! Whoops! Yeah, I really need to start reading Dan Brown...like...NOW! Thanks for the wonderful recommendations Inge! :D


message 12: by Inge (new)

Inge You're welcome! :D And I don't think you need to have read Angels and Demons to understand The Da Vinci Code. Though I haven't read the latter myself.

Where Rainbows End is one of my favourites, I mentioned it when you asked me about my favourite books :D it's really cute! All written in letters, emails and notes :)


Keertana Where Rainbows End sounds really cute! :D Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it, but I called them and am making them pick it up for me from another library faaaar away, so it'll take a while to come, but I'm getting it! Angels and Demons has been on my mental-to-read list since The Da Vinci Code came out and my mom fangirled over Tom Hanks for hours, so I definitely need to get to it soon!(:


message 14: by Inge (new)

Inge Ah, good that :D I wish my library did that!


Keertana Maybe you should suggest it to them? Start a new trend in Belgium! ;)


message 16: by Inge (new)

Inge That'd be great!


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