Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction, Mystery
Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.
And that was before she died…and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)
So “Me” It’s Crazy…
This book is just filled with everything I love. It’s science fiction (although for a while I thought it might be paranormal, but I don’t consider it to be at all), there’s action right from the beginning, there are twists and turns all throughout, and the main character and her friends have to figure out how to save the world. This book reminded me of Veronica Mars, FlashForward, Gilmore Girls, Men in Black, Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, and so many other fantastic shows and movies. I also pictured Andrew Scott, who played Moriarty in Sherlock, as one of the characters, and that really made me love that character even more.
Plus, Elizabeth Norris isn’t afraid to kill off some characters. I read something recently where someone thought killing off characters was becoming the cool thing to do, the kind of shock-factor thing to do. While I see that could be the case with movies and TV shows, and possibly adult books, I don’t feel like that’s the case with YA books. In fact, I’ve read quite a few books where I think a character should have died but they didn’t. And I think when you have a book with life-and-death stakes, people should die. It’s realistic. It’s not very realistic to write a story about people who go to battle and NO ONE dies. Or to write a book about people with cancer and they all beat it (although I hope one day that’s what’s realistic). In Unraveling, Janelle and her friends have to save the planet. They are dealing with some crazy stuff and it’s only realistic that some of the characters in the book are going to die. So I was quite happy with the deaths in this book, even if I didn’t want those specific characters to die.
There are lots of other little things that I really loved about this book but I don’t want to say too much because I think this is a book you should go into knowing as little about as possible. In fact, I’m glad that I’m such a spoilerphobe that I only read a book’s synopsis once, and by the time I get around to that book I’ve forgotten a lot of the details in the synopsis. Because I wasn’t expecting certain things in this book that are in the synopsis, and personally, that made my reading experience all the more enjoyable.
Elizabeth Norris gets some of my Bonus Points for the following reasons:
- Harry Potter references. 50,000 points.
- A Firefly reference. 50,000 points.
- The fact that Ben’s favorite movie is Donnie Darko. (That’s my favorite movie, too. Possible new book boyfriend for me, maybe?) 50,000 points.
- This line: “Harry Potter is a classic”. Infinity points.