Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

UnravelingUnraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Published by: Balzer & Bray on April 24, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction
Pages: 464
Source: Gifted
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★½

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.

Why did I not read Unraveling sooner??? A few months ago, this book was all anyone was talking about. I was intrigued, but didn’t jump on it. Even when I got a copy of the book, I still didn’t jump on it. But OMG I was totally missing out! This book rocked.

I think I never realized how much cool FBI stuff there would be in the book. A large part of it is Janelle trying to play teenage FBI agent. Her father works for the FBI so she’s grown to be really interested in his work. She likes to sneak peeks at his case files and speculate. A lot of the book was her going through FBI speculation sessions with her best friend Alex. They’d go over the evidence together and talk about their theories, etc. That’s something I see in movies a lot and I always think it’s super interesting! But what made Unraveling so cool was combining the FBI element with science fiction!

And oh my gosh, Unraveling has SUCH a sweet romance! Ben is one of the nicest and most interesting guys ever. He has this bad boy, “up to no good” exterior, but when you get to know him you realize he’s actually a sweet, morally grounded brainiac! YES! Bring on the hot science geek! But one of the great things about Unraveling is that this isn’t a sci-fi book that turns into an all-encompassing romance. The sci-fi doesn’t yield to the romance. The romance is more in the background and just supplements the plot; it doesn’t overtake it.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris - You can't control chaos

But honestly, what I may have loved even more than the romance was the friendship. Alex is Janelle’s best friend and I LOVE HIM!! Actually, I like him even more than Ben. Alex kept citing all these movies like The Mummy and Star Wars that I LOVE! Ben may be a science nerd, but Alex is an academic and a movie nerd. But on top of that, he’s such an amazing and incredible friend. I seriously wish I had a friend like him. Alex and Janelle have this “finish each other’s sentences” type friendship where they just know each other inside and out. It’s one of the best friendships I’ve ever read about in YA, which is why View Spoiler »

There is a bit in the middle where Unraveling halts a bit action/plot-wise, but it picked up again at the end… triple time! Things get so intense, and everything starts happening at once! It made me not want to take a breath, for fear of missing something. It was awesome. O_O

As much as I enjoyed Unraveling, I have to say that there weren’t many surprises. There are a TON of twists and turns, but the problem was that I guessed every single one before they happened. I didn’t dislike the book as a result, though. I still enjoyed watching everything play out, even if I already knew it was going to happen. I guess it was still a bit of a bummer though because I LOVE twists, but mostly I love them when they catch me off guard. I felt like there were a lot of hints along the way that were easy to pick up on, and for everything else, there were simple formulas. View Spoiler »

I love how there wasn’t really a cliffhanger at the end of Unraveling. Yes, things were pretty intense and I can totally see where the second book could go, but everything got wrapped up pretty well too. It left me feeling very satisfied (although also devastated.. View Spoiler » ). So if you’re into science fiction, View Spoiler » , great romances that don’t dominate a book, fabulous friend ships, family dynamics.. check this book out now!

The Verdict


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  1. Ashley, I’m so ashamed to say that I haven’t read this one! O__O It sounds amazing, especially the way you said that the FBI elements are interwoven with science. HOW CRAZY IS THAT. I need to read this book ASAP. And that romance? A HOT GEEKY GUY? sold.

    But also the fact that the romance complements the story and doesn’t overtake the story makes me a happy reader! I’m totally fine with the fact that the action takes a seat in the back for awhile because this book in general just seems amazing, even if some events were a little predictable. I’ll have to add this to next month’s TBR or something, fabulous review, Ashley!

    Jen recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday (#3)
    1. Eeks I’m so pleased to hear you say that!! I was a little afraid that the second book wouldn’t be able to live up. *goes to read your review*

    1. Yeah I had the same problem lol. It’s weird! Maybe you’ll get around to it eventually. 😀

  2. Fantastic review, Ashley! I’m so happy that you really loved this one, I was like a black sheep when it came to this one because I accidentally flipped to the ending when I was reading it and so I couldn’t connect to the characters but I really do agree, the plot was super intense and it’s definitely something that all sci-fi fans should LOVE. I really want to read Unbreakable, though, because everyone says that one is just as amazing <33

    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** recently posted: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
    1. Awww bummer! 🙁 It kind of sucks that the ending was spoiled for you. Hopefully you like Unbreakable a little more! STAY AWAY FROM THE ENDING!!! hehe

  3. I really want to read this one! This is the case of “My sister’s read this, so I haven’t.” We split up books, and she tends to get all the science fictions and I read the fantasies. Ah, oh well. Hopefully I have time in the future. The FBI element sounds original and so kick-ass. Your review definitely makes me want to pick it off my shelf soon 🙂

    Becca recently posted: Movie Review: Pacific Rim

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