Tuesday, April 24

Unraveling: Book Review

Balzer + Bray
April 24th 2012
Young Adult | Science Fiction
Inter-dimensional Travel

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
When I first saw this book I was only mildly interested in reading it. I got the opportunity to borrow it from a friend and decided to take the plunge. Once I had it in hand I noticed a note from the publisher tucked in the pages. The small message it contained had me instantly sold. The editor noted it as "unputdownable" and stated that she made the rest of the team read it "Right now." If it can turn their heads so effectively surely as a reader I will be entranced.
I was of two opinions as I delved into the first chunk of this story. On one side I agree with the editor, this is a great read that will keep you on edge until the end. By page fourteen my heart strings were already being tugged and manipulated. In fact I loved that section so much I had to revisit it later on just to savor its sweet essence. I give my kudos to Elizabeth Norris for making me fall in love with a character that I don't even know yet. In turn I was rather miffed. There was a lot of swearing and several media mentions. Not everyone is in the loop and so media mentions just fail. Luckily I am geek enough to understand nearly all of the mentions in this book. We are talking things such as X-Files and Tron:Legacy. The swearing only got worse as the book progresses. It seems some of the characters can't complete a sentence without the use of obscenities. The media mentions do justify their presence by the end. Who would these characters or even the story be without the X-Files? It becomes such an intricate part of it all.
I am guilty of getting a false impression from the cover. Somehow the fading repeats made me think there would be some sort of time travel or reverse time power development. So I kept waiting for this to occur and was waiting in vain. I am actually unsure as to the meaning of the cover but it does look intense and catch the eye.
I love the emotions pouring out of Ben and Janelle. They are so moving and on several occasions stole my breathe in their intensity. The relationship between Janelle and her father is also very sweet. What at first seems a bad connection is something far deeper and involved. It is very easy to relate to this family and their ups and downs. But through it all they are unswervingly loyal which is precious.
The ending is not what you would precisely call happy. Even so it is gracefully done and very hard to be upset about.
This book is full of intense moments of discovery and suspense. But to help patch all these moments together are the even sweeter and tender moments that forges bonds between the reader and the characters. It is a very interesting and odd book that is fairly fast paced. I thoroughly enjoyed this foray into fiction. If you like 24 and X-Files this is a book made for you.