Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unraveling
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: April 24th, 2012

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.

One of my all time obsessions is The X-Files. I love it. It's just the right blend of conspiracy and the supernatural. And THAT is why the moment I started reading Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris I just knew, just knew, that it was the book for me. Norris somehow achieves that perfect conspiracy theory/supernatural mix and actually had my heart pounding through my chest as I rushed to find out the fate of the characters I was growing so attached to! 

I'll admit, I haven't been reading my fair share of all of the parallel universe books that have been coming out lately. But this one just seemed so... right to me. The way Norris' characters discuss the multiverse it just seems so real. But not in a way that feels like reading a text book. It's fun and compelling and leaves you begging to know more. I've never been more interested in quantum physics in my life!

Janelle is one of those characters that I just connected with (mostly anyway). She's sarcastic and smart and tough, but not in an in-your-face sort of way. She mostly just goes about her business and tries to be nice to people. She does have a stressful home life and she complains the way any teenager would, but she never neglects her family, even if it would be easier.

Before I read Unraveling, I read the first two stories in Undone, the sort-of prequel novella. Ben Michaels, the very sweet love interest is the narrator of all three novella stories. The first one is told before he meets Janelle, the second takes place during the very beginning of the Unraveling, and the third takes place at the end. (I skipped number three until I finished the book.) Having read Ben's point of view before Janelle's I was already sort of in love with him when I started the book. He's funny and so smart, he's loyal and hardworking. Ben is the kind of guy you want in your corner if you're racing against a clock to stop the end of the world.

One of the things I liked about the story was that even though the book is about a bunch of teenagers playing FBI, it is still very obvious that the adults are involved and not stupid the way adults are portrayed sometimes in YA. Janelle's father and his team are very involved in Janelle's life and do try to keep her out of the case, but she has very logical reasons to keep sticking her nose where it might not belong. And, honestly, she's a smart character with smart friends, and they do more than just get in the way.

Unraveling was a little more emotionally intense than I was expecting. Parts of it really rattled me. It could have been because I was reading it very late at night by myself—in the dark—or it could have been because Norris is an amazing writer who's words pack a punch. Either way, the book left me with an overall sense of doom and gloom and a sad feeling somewhere in the middle of my chest.

If you enjoy science and talk of parallel dimensions, or even if you just want to flash back to the good old days of The X-Files, Unraveling is a mind-blowing start to what has the potential to be one of my favorite sci-fi series ever! So make sure to add it to your To Read List.

For more about Unraveling check out these sites!


  1. I love this book, it's one of my all time favorites! I think I loved the second one better though, it's just more..... exciting. Liz's writing style is just fantastic. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one!!

    Literary Exploration

  2. Ooh, I didn't know this book was that good. I didn't really give it much thought since I thought it was just another 'the world is ending!' books, but wow. I've been missing out! I'm definitely going to try to get myself a copy of this one :)

  3. "Unraveling is a mind-blowing start to what has the potential to be one of my favorite sci-fi series ever! " ---------------Now I want to read this book. Thanks for the lovely review :D


  4. Awesome review. I have heard so many great things about this book. It's on my TBR list and I will hopefully be able to get to it soon. Thanks :)

    Katie ~ Turner’s Antics

  5. I've been wanting to read this one! I had it on NG but timer went pffft. So I must catch up to it. Glad you enjoyed it! Gald you connected with it. I haven't really ever watched an X-Files episode . Your review made me wanna bump it up my list and hunt it down at the library:D


  6. I guess I shouldn't have pushed this one aside for so long! I was iffy about the whole parallel dimensions thing because those were always my least favorite episode of Stargate, haha. Anyways, it sounds like I've been missing out on a really great, strong, female lead along with a potential new book boyfriend =) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ooh, "more emotionally intense," than you were expecting? *stares at copy* I bought this one last fall and SHAME ON ME for having not read it. Obviously I need to bump it up. I hope when I start it, I love it like you did! :)

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue


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