Sunday, June 9, 2013

1# Hot Read Unraveling By Elizabeth Norriss Review

Elizabeth Norris's UNRAVELING is a fantastically exciting science fiction story, sort of a mash-up of THE X-FILES and QUANTAM LEAP, but ultimately original. The narrator is high school junior Janelle Tenner, who's pretty much an ordinary teenage girl until she's hit by a pickup truck and killed. But then something amazing happens - Ben Michaels brings her back to life. Janelle has no clue how Ben did it, but she's sure it happened. Because in the seconds between the accident and the arrival of the EMT crew, her severed spine is miraculously knitted back together. She knows it's true, and she knows it's because of Ben

Things just keep getting stranger and stranger for Janelle, as her father (a big wig at the FBI) begins investigating a series of odd murders involving radiation burns, and she finds herself growing closer and closer to Ben, the boy who saved her life. It's not long before she realizes that Ben and his two friends, Alijah and Reid, are somehow connected to the cases her father has been investigating. And a mysterious count-down, which neither the FBI nor Ben can explain, suggests that the world we know might not last another three weeks.

UNRAVELING is brilliantly paced, and intensely thrilling. In structure, it suggests the TV series 24, in which Jack Bauer had twenty-four hours to solve a mystery that threatened the world. In UNRAVELING, however, Janelle has twenty-four days to figure things out, and each chapter moves us closer by hours to the moment of truth. I was captivated from the very beginning.

Janelle is a beautifully drawn character who is totally real and believable, and her romance with Ben grows slowly until the reader is swept away with their story. For once I didn't feel manipulated by a writer trying to manufacture a love story to sell a book. Janelle and Ben are a great couple, and their relationship is both uplifting and heartbreaking. I believed it all the way.

The science fiction elements of the story also work, although they do require a bit of suspension of disbelief (what sci-fi stories don't?). I won't get into any of the details, since it would be a shame to spoil even a little bit of the story, but things do make sense and you will not be disappointed as you get closer and closer to the final page.

Bottom line, read this book! For the first time in a long while I actually hope there's a sequel (I'm not a fan of the planned trilogies that are springing up all over the place -- it always feels like I'm being set up to buy the next book). But that's not how it is with UNRAVELING. It's not that it doesn't have a satisfying ending - it does, it totally does - but there's definitely more story to tell. And that's what makes a book like this really wonderful - I didn't want it to end. And I do hope Norris is working on the sequel! I totally recommend it. 
Click Here to check it out: Elizabeth Norris's UNRAVELING Book

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