Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unravelling
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: May 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck. And killed. Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life… Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time. That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

It doesn't happen very often but occasionally, a book will fall slightly short because of the insane hype surrounding it. I began Unravelling, expecting the best book on the planet and was sadly disappointed as a result. While it didn't ignite burning flames in my heart or get me building a shrine for it, Unravelling was undeniably an enjoyable sci-fi read that was entertaining from beginning to end. The characters are loveable and Norris does a wonderful job at slowly unfolding the plot, leaving us in suspense in the meantime.

Janelle Tenner is a summer lifeguard who's dating one of the most popular guys in school. Although gorgeous, she finds Nick annoying when he's surrounded by his jock friends and yearns for something more, a genuine love and closeness. I don't think she anticipated that it would come in the form of Ben Michaels, an untouchable "stoner" at school who she wakes up to after she's hit by a truck. Her life flashes before her eyes in her "final moments", but she eventually realises that they're someone else's memories, someone who's watched and loved her for a very long time. It becomes quickly obvious to us that Ben's feelings are deeper than he lets on - that aloof attitude doesn't fool us! - and I loved watching their relationship develop. It's sort of insta-love at first but eventually achieves that depth and authenticity. Like many couples, they're faced with issues of trust and are covered by a cloud of secrets. Ben's extremely sweet but he isn't one of my favourite love interests just yet...

I won't go into the details of the plot because it's constantly changing and full of twists, but Janelle is brought back to life after the crash and determined to find out how Ben did it. He's obviously reluctant to divulge his secrets and during her investigating, Janelle is thrown into the driver's seat of a race against time that could bring about the end of the world. A mysterious box with a countdown and an unknown result..? Well, like the mysterious dead bodies that are appearing left, right and centre aren't scary enough! I wasn't on the edge of my seat with the countdown, like I was in Everneath, but Unravelling is very engaging and will leave you wanting to know what happens next.

Janelle finds herself somewhat alone in this book. Almost every character can't be trusted. Not Ben, his best mates, her friends, her father, his friends, the FBI…NO ONE. We change our minds about their intentions and true loyalties every few minutes and it's very satisfying when we reach the final page. Finally, we're in the know and have most things sussed out! Of course, there are still questions left to explore but our minds are safe for now...

Overall, Unravelling is an impressive book that will be loved by many. My high expectations were my downfall but otherwise, this is a unique action-romance that definitely passes as a strong sci-fi. I'm not a huge fan of the genre but YA books are beginning to convince me otherwise this year! While otherworldly, there are multiple aspects of realism in Janelle's teen life that readers can easily relate to and the book really does have a great range of intensity and emotions. I can't wait to read the sequel!

I know, I'm the odd one out who didn't give it 8 out of 5 stars. I blame the magnificent reviews I read before this LOL.

Find Elizabeth on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy Unravelling from Amazon, The Book Depository, Borders and Barnes & Noble.

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