Published by Balzer + Bray on 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.
Unraveling is one of those books I see myself re-reading at some point down the road because of it’s sheer amount of awesomenimity. It’s very edge-of-your-seat intense with danger lurking at every corner. The whole feel of the book was raised to a heightened sense of doom because of THE COUNTDOWN, a mystery once revealed; that will leave you reeling. I loved how Norris didn’t take anytime jumping right into the action. A few pages in and I was hooked.
Janelle Tenner is my kind of heroine and quite truly one hell of a girl. She’s a force to be reckoned with, uber-smart and resourceful. When one of her father’s FBI cases re-open with a string of deformed corpses she can’t help but team up with her best friend Alex in order to lend a helping hand. Of course Janelle doesn’t necessarily tell her father what she’s doing… She’s also very strong and nurturing. With a father who spends most of his time working and a mother with a severe case of Bi-polar disease, household management has unfortunately fallen on Janelle’s shoulders. She’s had to watch over both her younger brother and at times, erratic mother. And yet, there’s still another side to her. Janelle can be quite saucy at times, during character dialogues and her own narration. I loved being inside her head because they’re was a lot of humor which kept the sometimes darker story, light.
“When did I become such a hormone-crazed psycho? Ben comes to my house in the middle of the night, obviously upset, and I practically jump him. And in his weakened-by-blood state, he doesn’t fight me. If he ends up dying because I was turned on, I might shoot myself.” – direct quote
“Loner” Ben was also a great character. We only get to see the world through Janelle’s POV but through unique circumstances we do get an inside look at who Ben truly is i.e. his true thoughts and emotions. What I loved most was the fact that although Janelle never really noticed Ben, Ben has always had Janelle on his radar. I don’t want to spoil the sweet reveal, but I will say that Janelle has always been highly regarded and beloved by Ben due to an incident that occurred when they were younger. Ben’s very protective, sweet and charming, and although his secrets build up throughout the story, Janelle still can’t resist getting closer to him.
I’ve personally never really liked sci-fi movies or TV shows (Roswell and Fringe are the exception) but I do LOVE this book. The whole END OF THE WORLD plot line is very sci-fi-y but it’s not the core of this book. Unraveling is very much so about it’s main character, Janelle, realizing that she’s got so much to live for and being thankful for the second chance she gets. The emotions are very strong in this book, especially the sad ones. Like the synopsis says, death hits close to home and when it does it’s toll is devastating.
In conclusion: Unraveling is fabulous. The writing is briskly paced and the characters entirely engaging. There’s not one fault that I could find with this book. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’ve been in a reading slump because it’ll get you right back out!