Customer Reviews for

Unraveling

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

I liked this book for the fact that I questioned what the heck w

I liked this book for the fact that I questioned what the heck was going on in the beginning 100-150 pages. Once I found out about what the countdown was for, I enjoyed the race as the characters went to solve the problem.
I don't want to give anything away, because fi...
I liked this book for the fact that I questioned what the heck was going on in the beginning 100-150 pages. Once I found out about what the countdown was for, I enjoyed the race as the characters went to solve the problem.
I don't want to give anything away, because finding out was half the fun in reading this.
Plus the characters are strong.

posted by 1872837 on May 30, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Cool Premise, But To Much Going On

Unraveling is a really hard book to describe without giving anything away. Part of what made it fun to read was that I had no idea what it was about before I started it and I think that's really the best way to approach this novel. While there were many aspects of the s...
Unraveling is a really hard book to describe without giving anything away. Part of what made it fun to read was that I had no idea what it was about before I started it and I think that's really the best way to approach this novel. While there were many aspects of the story I enjoyed, I also had some problems with it. Hopefully this review will make it clear what parts worked for me and which didn't.

First off, I liked the main character Janelle. She's a very self-reliant young person who doesn't take crap from anyone. I was generally impressed by her strength and refusal to give up. The things that she endures throughout this novel would likely break the average person but somehow she just keeps going. Through all of that and more Janelle remains an amazing friend to her best friend Alex. I love the way they can rely on each other no matter what.

The chemistry between Janelle and Ben is really special. It was something I never really questioned even though it has a slight "insta-love" thing happening. Perhaps it didn't bother me as much because their interactions always felt really believable.

Ben has all the qualities I love in a guy. He's intelligent, mysterious, caring and always striving to be a better person. I loved how his past and secrets were slowly exposed. I definitely wasn't disappointed by what I found out.

This novel is a bit like a roller coaster you can't get off of, twisting and turning its way towards the end at an insane speed. There's a countdown to something, an FBI investigation, a murder mystery, a boy with secrets and a whole lot more. For the most part having all these plots works but it's balancing them that became tricky. I also could have done without some of the side characters and stories that distracted you from the main plot of the mysterious countdown. Neither, Janelle's biopolar mom or her ex-best friend Kate, serve any real purpose in the novel other then to take you away from all the other things that are going on.

I think it’s great whenever a YA novel tries to be more than the sum of its parts but with Unraveling I actually felt there was TOO much going on. It feels a lot like three different story ideas that got stuffed into one novel. This makes the pacing a bit off because although the story is told using a countdown element and many of the chapters are super short, it still lagged in a few places. Again I think this goes back to the fact that there were side plots that didn't need to be there.

The novels ending definitely threw me for a loop. I give author Elizabeth Norris a lot of credit for taking a risk that big. Whether or not you think it pays off will depend on how you feel about the rest of the novel. Much like my review, I had mixed feelings.

Unraveling takes a unique premise and runs with it. I just wish it had spent more time on the more important plot details than making it a circus. Although my feelings on the end result is mixed I think a lot of readers will find its breakneck pace and main character enough to keep them cheering for more.

posted by StalkinTheBooks on April 20, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    I liked this book for the fact that I questioned what the heck w

    I liked this book for the fact that I questioned what the heck was going on in the beginning 100-150 pages. Once I found out about what the countdown was for, I enjoyed the race as the characters went to solve the problem.
    I don't want to give anything away, because finding out was half the fun in reading this.
    Plus the characters are strong.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Exciting and Unique Must-Read

    I finished this book in 2 days and cannot wait for the next book!

    Unraveling is a fast-paced adventure story that is rooted in the realities of high school, family life, and love.

    I loved this book because the main character, Janelle, is an intelligent, independent female character who is far from perfect, but who grapples with issues we all face with grace and determination that you have to admire.

    Unraveling is as exciting as Hunger Games, as mysterious as Fringe or Veronica Mars, and as fabulously addictive as Twilight. But the book also has depth. The characters feel like real people, and their lives and desires are complex.

    I would recommend this book to anyone, young adult or not, who is looking for a good mystery/love story with characters you can relate to and root for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Unraveling is a devastatingly beautiful novel. What hap

    Unraveling is a devastatingly beautiful novel.
    What happens when the one thing you find yourself loving could be the source of your own destruction?
    Elizabeth Norris has painted a frightening future for readers where worlds are collapsing and love is only a life away. In Unraveling readers may find themselves debating how can somewhat love the very thing or someone that may ultimately destroy them.
    Unraveling is a story woven of deep loss and a growing love that contends with the characters' trying to solve each of their own mysteries and resolve things from their pasts that haunt them. Our main character is Janelle Tenner and she is one bright and amazing character with a deep love of helping, a smart wit and a cunning mind. Janelle's father works cases in the FBI, cooks randomly and has a love for the X-Files TV series and when his latest case comes home with him there are devastating consequences for everyone. As Janelle's story developed through the story we find a teen who has been putting her all into creating a good life and home for family and especially her brother, as her parents are falling apart. Janelle's mother suffers from being bi-polar and contributes little to the family while her father's work keeps him busy and he copes with his own responsibilities and stresses by longer hours and focusing on his cases. Janelle struggles with being a teen in a troubling house by being close friends with her neighbor Alex, who is a fabulous supporting character with his own complex family life. Alex is a great character that adds support to the story, but his faith in Janelle is soon put to question when events change that could impact their whole world. The story soon opens up and adds another amazing character in Ben, who is like a mysterious ugly duckling, something like a game changer in the story that will turn all of the character's mind and whole world upside down.
    What was so epic in Unraveling is the tragic undertone throughout the whole story, there are catastrophic losses all get in life that have an array of impact. From finding love soon comes loss, and a struggle to create normalcy from a loss of childhood comes the tiers struggle to protect. Among other themes inherit in the story really the character's voice compels the novel into something lyrically amazing. You just don't want to put this story down.
    Unraveling is about that, everything unraveling where character's lives are intertwining and at the same time so is the fabric of their universe. When you want something so much worlds collide right, but the truth may be more real than anyone ever imagined and the consequences are hitting closest to home than anticipated.
    With a strong female lead in a building dystopian storyline Unraveling releases a powerhouse in its ability to have several plots developing at the same time and connecting them all at the right places and at the right times to really pack a punch as they develop.
    This is one release that turned into a great story that I had not expected. Unraveling is not to be missed as a release this year because it has all of these fabulous elements that will surprise readers as a thrilling suspenseful YA debut.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Best

    This is the first book i have read about a multiverse. I would recommend this for anyone who loves scfi. But i have to say,elijay does use alot of curse words but still a good book to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Good book for ages 14+

    This book is an amazing read and keeps you on the edge of your seat in the slow parts. I personally got connected to the characters like I knew them and at the end of the book it was not what I would have done, but I am gald that there is another book that follows.

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  • Posted October 10, 2013

    Janelle's life is turned on end the day she died. Because she di

    Janelle's life is turned on end the day she died. Because she didn't actually stay dead. She was brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a guy who she has barely looked at since he moved to town 10 years earlier. All of a sudden, Janelle is caught up in a case her FBI father is investigating - a case that has ties to her, Ben and a mysterious device that seems to be counting down to something very bad.

    I can't say enough how much I loved Unraveling. I was a little apprehensive, I gotta say. Sci-fi is pretty hit or miss with me. I'm not a fan of the super sci-fi stories - the really weird stuff that is just so out there that it makes my eyes roll. But, the stories that are largely based in reality with a small dose of the funky - sign me up.

    And, that is what Unraveling is. It takes place in Cali. It involves real teenagers with real problems like being in love with someone who doesn't know you're alive or having to take care of a sibling because your parent works too much or having that one bestie who knows you better than anyone else alive. It also involves people who get their faces melted off and boys who can bring girls back from the dead. See what I mean?

    Let's talk characters for a minute. Janelle is my kind of chick. She's only 16, but has been forced to act far beyond her years. She has guts and strength and bigger balls than most guys I know. I love how Liz Norris drew her. It would be so easy to say Janelle is 16, but then make her act like she's 26. But, although Janelle can certainly stand up and make grown-up decisions in troubling times, it's still evident to me that she's a teenager who gets scared and loses her crap just like she's supposed to.

    And, Ben - helloooooo new book boyfriend. He's the classic brooding loner who is more than meets the eye. He hangs out with two other questionable characters, and the three of them are super tight. Except for when Janelle gets in the way and Ben finally gets what he has wanted for10 years - a shot at the girl of his dreams. Things start to get complicated with Ben's friends then, but he never gives up on her. He always takes her side. And, he's certainly got a way with words.

    The action in Unraveling was off the hook. Just the countdown as the chapter numbers gives you a constant sense of urgency that stays with you through the entire story. There's several big mysteries going on at once. First is the face (and other body parts) melting business. What's causing it? Can it be stopped? Is it tied to the countdown clock? And what is that thing, anyway? Then, there's the mystery surrounding Ben and why he can do the things he can do.

    The answers to all these questions were not immediately answered, nor were they apparent. The reader really had to work for it, which I loved. And, in the end, we get our answers, plus a whole lot of surprises. It didn't end like I thought it would. Not everything was neatly tied up. There was heartbreak and destruction and general craziness. And yet, at the heart of it all, was the love that this boy and girl have for each other, so we're still left with this feeling of overarching hope. Which is the perfect feeling to carry us through to the next book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    Must Read!!!

    This book is AMAZING!!! There were so many twists, and while it puts you through every emotion known to man, it's great writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Loved, Loved, LOVED it! I couldn't put it down to stop reading.

    Loved, Loved, LOVED it! I couldn't put it down to stop reading. I think I may have finished it in about a day in a half because I couldn't put it down. I just bought the second one and I can't wait to start reading it! I definitely recommend it to those whom, when having a great book, can't put it down and feel like they are willingly able to read it without any trouble. No matter what time of day it is, and this is like one of those books. LOVED IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    Amazing with flawless characters

    I love how she built the rising action and gently fell the ending Caution some parts will lireraly spin you into an emotional tornado. Which i like and you also become attached the characters after awhile. P.s. i cried at the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Awesome

    Awesome

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    It's sort of odd reading a book that takes place where you live.

    It's sort of odd reading a book that takes place where you live. I mean, I've swam at Torrey Pines, I have family who live in Temecula, I work in Poway and I've been admitted to Scripps Green hospital. At the same time, I know exactly what Elizabeth is talking about when she talks about PB or the 56 and that's sort of rad.

    As for the book, I almost don't have words... It was phenomenal. Fantastic characters, excellent plot and an ending that just about gave me a heart attack. I stayed up until almost 3am reading because I just HAD to finish.



    I absolutely, positively, without a doubt recommend this book. Oh, and I call dibs on Ben. So don't even try it

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Ok. Ok. I may have to gush a little bit y'all. The description

    Ok. Ok. I may have to gush a little bit y'all. The description is pretty much what it's about but there is SO MUCH MORE going on in this book. Janelle has a bit of a rough home life. Her dad is kind of absentee because of her mom's medical condition and that leaves Janelle to basically raise her brother. There is no one more important in her life than her brother Jared and they have a really cool relationship. Her best friend Alex is her rock and the ONLY one she ever turns to for help with well any of the crap that happens in her life.


    When Ben brings her back to life after being hit by a truck things start taking an interesting turn. She breaks up with her sorta boyfriend, people who don't exist start showing up dead, and this countdown pulls her in to a mystery bigger than anything she's ever been a part of before.


    I seriously LOVED this book. It was action-packed, and filled with surprises. It was very fast paced and the countdown clock for chapters was pretty brilliant. There were times I had to put the book down and walk away because my heart was racing from the suspense. I am a MAJOR sci-fi nerd so I loved all the references to the X-files. Everyone in my family plays World of Warcraft (level 85 druid, tyvm) so the scene where Janelle is trying to get her brother's attention and can't because he's busy with WoW and has his headphones on made me laugh. That has happened more than one time in this house.


    I adored Ben. He's smart and funny and has a very strong sense of right and wrong. He'd admired Janelle from afar for a long time but never approached her--and she'd never sought him out--until the accident. Their relationship gets complicated quickly as truths are revealed but I effing love ---read the book you'll get that reference after--- his interactions with J-Baby (as she was called by her dad and her dad's partner Struz).


    And speaking of Struz...he is a fantastic secondary character as are Jared, and Alex. They help define Janelle's character and flesh her out more. And y'all she's great!! Determined, intelligent, loving but also flawed. Frustrated, angry, and alive but not really living her brush with death has her reevaluating what she's been doing with her life.


    Finally, the end. OH. MY. The race to the finish was move ahead at warp speed and my heart was right there with it! This was my thought process as I reached the end: Awww...Ben. You're so good. Wait. What's she (Janelle) doing? No she's NOT! OMG! *sob* Oh Ben. Damn I need drink.
    And even though the end KILLED me, like flayed me open, it was SO perfect for who these characters are. It could easily end here and be a stand alone and while I wouldn't be 100% satisfied with the end I would be ok with it. THANK GOODNESS there is going to be another one! It's called Unbreakable and will be out (arrrrgggghhhh) next year! I can't freaking wait and y'all should go get this so you can gush with me about how awesome it is.


    Overall a fantastic book. It was stunning, heart-breaking, and brilliant. It left me speechless, hopeful, & dying for more.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I'm ashamed to admit that I was late in reviewing this book not

    I'm ashamed to admit that I was late in reviewing this book not merely because of the many hiatuses I had to take recently but because so many interesting looking books have ended up disappointing me, and I didn't want this to be one of them. Well, if it did disappoint me, it is because I have to wait a freaking year to read the sequel.

    Unraveling is the best science-fiction/fantasy novel of 2012. I was drawn to this novel when I saw the words "FBI-agent," "murder," and "countdown clock" in the synopsis. With all the paranormal romances flooding the market, I rarely get the chance to read a good mystery, or see a girl without any paranormal ability save the world. And I loved every moment of it.

    Janelle is a strong character, with a wonderful sense of humor. The first couple paragraphs were enough to convince me that I was going to like her. Since a fairly young age, Janelle has been taking care of her younger brother Jared, as their mom is bipolar and their dad is often busy with work. She has since learned to be independent, she has a strong sense of duty, and she loves passionately after overcoming her fears of opening her heart. I can relate to her protectiveness of her brother, being an older sister herself, and wish we saw more of Jared. I have a thing for stories with good big-sister/little-brother relationships. Janelle is an intelligent girl, oftentimes too intelligent for her own good when she becomes mired deeper in the mystery of her father's case. Her character is made all the more complex and endearing with her family's history and the irrational choices that she makes when matters become personal.

    The writing style is descriptive and brings the characters and plot to life without getting bogged down in the details. The way the context is delivered, it doesn't feel as though details are planted for our benefit as readers. Details flow together, immersing the reader into the world, and all the plot threads tie today in the end. In addition, the supporting characters that matter are vibrant and act as foils that make each other and Janelle all the more real and relatable. I adore Janelle's best friend, and half Asian, Alex. Full of fun and always there when Janelle needs him, Alex is the definition of perfect best friend material. Then there are Ben and his friends. Their mysterious conversations are central to the plot in bringing Janelle closer to the truth. And what a truth! I honestly never saw it coming.

    Suspense builds in a thrilling, heart-racing chase to find the culprit before the countdown ends. In the midst of all this intrigue, Janelle and Ben find themselves drawn to each other, unable to deny the chemistry between them or their desire to learn more about each other. The ending is slightly anticlimactic, which is only to be expected of a story where all the fun is in the guessing and investigating. I can easily see Unraveling as a standalone novel with a bittersweet ending. However, we don't have to guess at what happens because there is a sequel coming out next year: Unbreakable.

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  • Posted October 8, 2012

    Must Read!

    I loved the book. The story line was amazing. I couldn't put it down the whole time I was reading. There is action, sci-fi, and romance in this book. When I thought I knew the answers to some questions, it turned out I didn't. The book was so not what I expected. I absolutely loved it and can't wait for the sequel.

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    Unraveling is one of those books I see myself re-reading at some

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Just amzing

    This is Elizabeth Norris's first novel. All i can say is this is amazing. It has romance, drama,sci-fi, and a some hilarious coments from janet. It is 445 pages long and i just finished it in an at least a 24 hour time period and i dont ever really that sucked into book at all.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    I loved the book. It had so many twists and turns. It really kep

    I loved the book. It had so many twists and turns. It really kept me on
    the edge of my seat until the end. I can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    This book starts out with a bang. Janelle, the main character, i

    This book starts out with a bang. Janelle, the main character, is hit by
    a truck and presumably killed. However, she opens her eyes to Ben, the
    loner at her school. She knows Ben likely saved her, but she doesn't
    know how or why. Why would Ben, notorious for keeping to himself, bother
    to save her? What is her FBI father hiding? Ben and Janelle need to work
    together to achieve their own personal goals, although Janelle does not
    know Ben's whole story. Each chapter is marked by the counting-down
    Clock, the reader is never able to forget the ultimate plot point of the
    book. The Clock appears to be counting down to some mysterious end, but
    what could it possibly be indicating to Janelle and Ben? It doesn't take
    long for someone else close to Janelle to suffer an untimely death to
    act as the catalyst. The story takes off from there at a rocket pace.
    The reader follows Janelle and Ben into the most unlikely of places and
    meeting strangest characters. This book was literally designed to keep
    the reader occupied until the last page, there is not one page in the
    novel in which the plot calms down and allows the reader to focus on
    another aspect. Janelle is a great female character. She isn't the
    type to lean on others, though she knows when to accept help. Her
    perseverance is admirable and her intelligence helps her solve the
    mystery. Ben is the perfect match for Janelle. The reader will be able
    to tell that the two have chemistry early on in the book and will enjoy
    watching their relationship develop. Romance does have a place in this
    book, but it is certainly not the main focus. The reader will enjoy ever
    one of the 450+ pages in this novel, thanks to the length of this book
    the author is able to develop the characters to the point where the
    reader is heavily invested in them. Young adult/teen readers who enjoy
    action, mystery, romance, and intrigue should mark this book as a
    to-read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Love it!

    I loved every part of this book! It had me up until 3am and i could not stop! Is there going to be another book? It is a must read for sure!!!!!

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I love it when I have a good run with books that I enjoy, and Un

    I love it when I have a good run with books that I enjoy, and Unraveling is no exception. Elizabeth Norris had me sucked in at the very start.

    The book revolves around Janelle Tenner and Ben Michaels. They meet up when Janelle is hit by a truck and killed, only Ben brings her back to life. From then on, it's a race against time to stop the world from being destroyed. There's a lot more to the plot then just that, but to know the full value of it, the best thing to do is read it. There's a lot of action and unexplainable deaths.

    The first thing that Elizabeth impressed me with was that the relationships between the characters were developed. Well, I think so anyway. There's something rather special about having a character where you can actually see the relationship between her parents. I've read too many books where the parents are rarely mentioned, but to see Janelle's interaction with them and to see the flaws of each parent was really cool to see. It showed an amazing amount of character development.

    There were signs of Janelle's character development as well. It showed in the books she liked, the fact that outside of school she had a hobby, a real one, not just one where the author decided to make one up just to say she gave the character depth. Janelle was a lifeguard and it was on her way home that she got hit by the truck.

    I love strong characters, ones that can look after themselves, and Janelle is one of them. This girl doesn't need any 'boy' to protect her. She can kick ass herself - thank you very much! And she does. There's a tender side to her as well, and it shows in her relationships with her mom and her brother. As you can tell, I really loved Janelle.

    Ben, the other main character, was an enigma. In a way, he broke a stereotype. He hung around with the 'stoners' - only he was super-smart. He acted the part of someone he isn't, but considering where he was from, it was hardly surprising. He was loyal and fiercely protective when he needed to be.

    The secondary characters were awesome as well. There was Janelle's father, who was a CounterIntelligence officer for the FBI. He was an absent, but very loving father. Janelle's mother, who suffered from Bi-Polar and was at home all the time, but, in her way, more absent than Janelle's father. Jared, Janelle's brother, who was extremely close to her.

    And Alex.

    I think it's only fair that I mention him as well because he played almost as big a part in the story as Ben did. He was the boy-next-door. Someone who had been Janelle's friend all his life. He wasn't a love interest - thankfully. He was just a very good friend, but he added something to the book. I really loved him.

    There were others of course, but I'd be going on forever if I mentioned them all.

    Now the nitpicks.

    I seriously doubt any father who worked for the FBI would bring his work home with him, let alone let his teenage daughter know about it. Or that she would be allowed at a crime scene. I know it was central to the plot, but no, I just can't imagine that ever happening.

    There were places in the book where I knew what was coming. It didn't happen very often, but I did want to mention it.

    And, I hate to say this, as much as I loved Ben, he came off as a little too perfect. He was good as a character, but there was something just little off about him - at least to me.

    Still, I still really enjoyed this book so it's the highest ranking from me.

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