Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Published: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Pages: My copy - 377
Copy: Publishr and Edelweiss
Summary: Goodreads

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.

Unraveling surprised me. It was so good and I just didn't see it coming.  I really don't recall seeing much about it, but I thought the blurb sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it does not do the book justice, at all.  Unraveling masquarades as contemporary paranormal - but really it's more contemporary science fiction with a dose of apocalypse.  Think Sliders with a side of X- Files at their most mysterious and a healthy helping of Twilight Zone for dessert.

Ms Norris's characters are well written and 3 dimensional.  There are positive, responsible adults, with adult problems.  There are various teens  who cover the high school spectrum, but each one is an individual.  Nick, the jock with a great sense of humour and a sense of entitlement.  Kate, the ex best friend who wanted to go with the in-crowd.  Alex, the best friend from Kindergarten.  Janelle, who's sure enough about herself that she doesn't feel the need to fit in.  Ben, the stoner who has much more to him than meets the eye.  All of them very real.

 Janelle is trying to solve a mystery.  Seems fairly straight forward - ask Ben why she's still alive.  But that is just the start of a much larger puzzle and the countdown is on. With a count-down clock running at the beginning of each chapter, there is a sense of impending disaster - all the more so because we don't know why the clock is counting down.  It's really quite intense.

And yes, there is a love story, with an ending that shocked the hell out of me, because I didn't see it coming.  It's not a cliff-hanger ending.  Everything gathers together nicely and all the questions are answered, but Ms Norris, if you don't write a sequel to Unraveling, I for one, will be extremely disappointed.  I want to know what happens next!  I absolutely LOVED this book.  It's mysterious, engrossing, wonderfully written and a captivating love story.  Highly recommended.

Check out Liz's blog for the trailer, and to find out more about Unraveling.

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