K. Bird's Reviews > Unraveling

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
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Sep 25, 12

Read from September 17 to 25, 2012

4.5 stars, actually.

Want a little geek humor, action and science in your paranormal, teen romance? Unraveling is the book for you. A fresh take in a genre somewhat oversaturated, don't be put off by the Twilight-esque beginning- Janelle is nothing at all like Bella.

For one thing, she's a lifeguard. She's also the sole person in her family of four keeping things running; her dad, an FBI agent, is absent because of work, and her bipolar mother is non-functioning. It's up to Janelle, with the unquestioning support of her geeky friend Alex, to hold down the fort, make sure her little brother eats, and continue to get good grades.

She's not an outcast-geek, but an incident a year ago with her (now ex) best friend Kate that ended up with her drugged at a party means she's more or less an emotional unit of one.

Just as she starts to hook up for the first time since that traumatic night, life, or rather death, gets in the way.

She's hit by a truck. And she dies. Only she doesn't stay dead. She wakes up to the sight of Ben Michaels, a stoner from school she has never paid attention to- until now.

He's saved her life somehow. Now Janelle is fascinated and attracted to him. Only, he's got a major secret that is connected to a mysterious case that her FBI dad is looking into.

Who can she trust? What is that mysterious countdown machine her father is busy trying to investigate? And why do dead bodies, burned beyond recognition keep turning up in her town?

Dude. Very cool book for the first 5/6's. I love how matter of fact and un-angsty Janelle is as she gets things done. I love how the story has her do the right thing in terms of treating the boy (s) she falls in like with. I also love all the sly geek references to X Files, Comic-con and the like.

The mystery and the action sequences are fairly believable. It was nice to have a REAL reason a kid would investigate a crime (she has access to special files and inside information through her dad) in a believable way.

The pacing, the romance, and that characters are the bomb. So why do I begrudge .5 of a star?

The last 1/6 of the book, when the mystery, action, and sci fi elements all come together in a huge explosion- when everything in Janelle's life starts unraveling- it's just too much, too fast for me.

Contrasted with the realistic, mundane details of Janelle's high school life, I felt we lose touch with reality in a way that completely makes obsolete everything she'd gone through before.

Still, I'll definitely be getting the next book in the series- if only to find out what happens with the romantic cliffhanger.

This Book's Snack Rating: Parmesan Garlic kettle chips for the solid, crunch of Janelle and her friends, seasoned with addictively delicious mystery and action.
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