Kay's Reviews > Unraveling

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
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3.5 to 4 stars for the first half, and 2 to 2.5 for the second.

The premise of this book was what grabbed me. It reads like an X-Files episode with a dash of Veronica Mars, and I do like my plucky heroines spiced with some badass in the face of the unknown. You know, more along the lines of



rather than, like,



By the way, meme notwithstanding, Janelle is an excellent cook, on top of her dividing up her time as a high schooler and a pseudo FBI sleuth.

For the most part, the book did not disappoint. The characters were strong, and the plot was intriguing. But I found that the further I got along in the book, the tight knitted plot started to unravel and fray, leaving some loose ends and less than well explained plot devices.

Plot Summary
After getting hit by a truck, Janelle is miraculously brought back to life by a boy with, well, unusual abilities. In trying to find out more about her accident, Janelle sneaks peaks at her FBI father's case files, finding instead a countdown... But a countdown to what? And how is this mysterious boy involved in what seems to be the impending end of the world?

Thoughts
There were definitely many positive aspects about this book. To name just a few:

1. The Pace: As the synopsis suggests, the story is very action and goal driven. The book checks in at around 450 pages, but it felt more like 200.

2. The Protagonists: Bombarded as we are with doormat zeroines and Viagra testosterone hyped bad boys with a little too many shades of grey, I found Janelle and Ben to be genuine and sweet. Janelle is surprisingly mature for her age. Partially, this stems from her living situation. With a mentally unstable parent, she had become the de facto mother of the household. I liked reading about a girl who is grown up enough to get her priorities straight, especially since, ya know, the world is about to end.

3. The Chemistry: Janelle and Ben have chemistry. I did see some instances of Instalove, especially on Janelle's part, but overall, I did enjoy reading about the two well enough. Plus, some dudes could really take a leaf from Ben's book in courting women.


However, once I read past the 50% mark, the story took turns that literally came out of nowhere. And by turns, I mean sharp, stomach-lurching, tire-screeching turns that confuses more than thrills.

Plot-wise, the direction that the story took, especially after what I'd like to call the Big Freaking Revelation (view spoiler) really, really forced me to suspend belief. There were a million other ways to resolve the countdown that the book was better equipped to explain. I know fiction is about the impossible, but when the impossible isn't really explained enough, I tend to cry WTF and cock my head suspiciously.

Also, I felt there was way too much going on in this book. It was as if Elizabeth Norris was trying to jam in every single YA trope into a scant 450 pages when the plot was already cruising along at terminal velocity. Also, I didn't feel like I really got to know any of the key characters besides Janelle, and when people started getting hurt, I wasn't sure whether I should feel bad for them or for Janelle, who was affected by the loss.

Overall, 3 to 3.5 stars and recommended. The book started off strong, but gradually lost focus in its character development. I would say my feelings post-read were lukewarm, especially after the end, though more on the warmer side than not. Still, I think this book has enough fun and action that it would appeal to a lot of people, so if you get a chance and enjoy YA, definitely pick this one up!
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Reading Progress

April 27, 2012 – Started Reading
April 27, 2012 – Shelved
April 27, 2012 –
page 32
6.9% "I can't seem to stick to one book these days. \n \n That said, this story has a strong start. I can't wait to have more time to read this straight through. The weekend can't come fast enough!"
April 30, 2012 –
page 57
12.28% "Norris described inefficient public school systems so accurately. There...is...no...escapeeee."
May 2, 2012 –
page 155
33.41% "Aw, <3 Ben. Call me old fashioned, but a guy who sticks up for a girl is a winner."
May 2, 2012 –
page 255
54.96% "Wait, what the-- REALLY? I admit I didn't see that coming. Not sure how I feel about it."
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: apocadystopia
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: here-and-now
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: quite-the-romantic
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: sci-fi
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: science-experiments-gone-wrong
May 4, 2012 – Shelved as: teens-tweens-and-ya
May 4, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Neyra ♦ (new) - added it

Neyra ♦ I'm looking forward to this book, can't wait for the review :D


message 2: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay Neyra wrote: "I'm looking forward to this book, can't wait for the review :D"

Will try to get my review up asap! Are you thinking of picking this book up anytime soon?


message 3: by Neyra ♦ (new) - added it

Neyra ♦ ^-^ Sounds good. And well, in about a week or two :)


message 4: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay I'll keep tabs on your profile. Maybe we can have a mini readalong of sorts. It'll inspire me to read. I always promise myself that I'll sit down and read for a few hours during the weekend, but other things always seem to creep up on me.


message 5: by Neyra ♦ (new) - added it

Neyra ♦ That would be fun. And I too feel like sometimes other things get in the way of my reading, or the very least just push it further back during the day. I'll keep a look out for your updates as well :D


message 6: by Neyra ♦ (new) - added it

Neyra ♦ great review Kay :) I saw this book at B&N a couple of days ago, and I was gonna pick it up, but I hesitated. Now that I've read your review, i'll just purchase it on Kindle, and if I like it, I'll get the book, if not, well at least I wouldn't have spent 18$ on it xD Lol Thanks for sharing your review :)


message 7: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay Neyra wrote: "great review Kay :) I saw this book at B&N a couple of days ago, and I was gonna pick it up, but I hesitated. Now that I've read your review, i'll just purchase it on Kindle, and if I like it, I'll..."

Thanks, Neyra. Glad I could be of service. :) I'll keep a lookout for your review too. I love comparing notes.


message 8: by Neyra ♦ (new) - added it

Neyra ♦ Same here :)


message 9: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa Great review, Kay, you've confirmed my suspicion that this is not one of those 5 star deals where I have to read straight away. I'll wait for a library copy!


message 10: by Kay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kay Alyssa wrote: "Great review, Kay, you've confirmed my suspicion that this is not one of those 5 star deals where I have to read straight away. I'll wait for a library copy!"


Thanks, Alyssa! I hope you do enjoy it once you get a chance to read it. It was a pleasant way to pass the time.


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