Jen (Books that Spark)'s Reviews > Unraveling

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
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Aug 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2012
Read from August 12 to 13, 2012

Stop the Countdown. Save the World. If that tag line doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what else will. Janelle Tanner is the protagonist at the heart of Unravelling, the debut novel from Elizabeth Norris. When she is hit by a truck, Janelle knows she has died. She feels it, but to her surprise she comes back to life. She can’t explain it but all she knows is that when she opened her eyes, she saw Ben Michaels. She’s known of Ben for awhile, but nothing other than that he is the part of her schools stoner crowd. She’s never given him a second thought. Until now; she knows Ben has something to do with her coming back to life.

Janelle’s Father is a department head in the FBI and determined to get to the bottom of her miraculous second chance at life. Just as eager to get to the bottom of eveything, Janelle decides to snoop around in his files to see if she can find anything relating to her accident. That’s when she comes across a countdown. There is no clue as to what it is counting down to, but alongside are files detailing unsolved, horrific deaths, Janelle knows something terrible is going on. Along with her best friend Alex, Janelle is determined to get to the bottom of it before the countdown ends. As time runs out, Janelle learns things are about to get a whole lot worse than she could ever have imagined.

I began reading Unravelling with an idea of what the book was going to be about. A character that comes back to life and a stranger, loner guy being responsible? My thoughts were that it would be reminiscent of some other books I’ve read. Oh boy, I was wrong. Yes, Janelle does come back to life and Ben Michaels is the prime suspect for being responsible, but Unravelling was so much more than that. From the first page I was intrigued. The action begins almost immediately and continues throughout. The plot was fast-paced; before I knew it I’d finished in under a day! What I appreciated most about the plot was Norris’ talent of not giving too much away. There have been times when I have been let down by plots that were just too predictable but Unravelling didn’t disappoint. As the plot progressed and more information was being unravelled (pun intended), I grew more excited about this book. From start to finish, this book offers a lot to its readers. It’s not only mysterious but is full of action and romance too. There was a message running throughout too; a message I believe.

Janelle was likeable and believable. Above all, I had a lot of respect for her character. Her parents aren’t always there for her and as a result, she has had to take care of herself and her brother. She’s conflicted with her feelings towards her Mother who has a mental illness and she is honest about it. She doesn’t feel bad for herself, instead choosing to demonstrate determination. She seemed real to me; she had fears but instead of running away from them, she faced them head on.

The other characters were all well-developed and believable too. I loved Janelle’s interactions with her best friend Alex and her brother Jared. It’s obvious that there is a lot of love between these characters. Janelle is also getting to know more of Ben too, as can be expected. The relationship between these two was sweet. I liked that there was no case of insta-love. Instead, the pair know that whatever feelings might be developing between them, there is more important matters at hand than falling in love. There were obstacles put in their path, which made me root all the more for their relationship.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Unravelling. There isn’t much that I could say I didn’t like about it. I’m pleased that this is only book one in a series and I’ll definitely be returning for more. Elizabeth Norris has written a great debut novel in Unravelling.

Read more of my reviews here.

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