Unraveling

Unraveling

4.1 73
by Elizabeth Norris
     
 

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Like The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling blends realistic coming-of-age issues with a gripping science fiction world.

Unraveling’s heroine, 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.

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Overview

Like The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling blends realistic coming-of-age issues with a gripping science fiction world.

Unraveling’s heroine, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Pittacus Lore
“This high-stakes thriller—complete with mind-bending sci-fi twist—will hook you and never let go.”—
Andrea Cremer
“If Veronica Mars snatched a case from Mulder and Scully, you’d get this fast-paced page-turner. With a heroine full of moxie, wicked surprises around every corner, and non-stop action, UNRAVELING is an irresistible thriller.”
Publishers Weekly
In this complex SF mystery, debut writer Norris conceives of parallel universes that can inadvertently collide and destruct when portals between them are opened, a predicament facing Earth if 17-year-old Janelle Tenner's theory is correct. Janelle's father is a workaholic FBI agent, her bipolar mother is hardly functioning, and Janelle herself was just killed by an out-of-control car and brought back to life by classmate Ben Michaels. Janelle had always dismissed Ben as a stoner, but after he saves her, she is powerfully drawn to him. She also suspects that there might be a connection between recent deaths that her father has been investigating and her accident. When Norris's story works, it's a satisfying puzzle full of novel twists and provocative clues. A protective older sister and defiant FBI agent-in-training, Janelle is a courageous, layered heroine. But the chemistry between Janelle and Ben is faint, relying on familiar paranormal romance devices, and some plot elements are convoluted. A planned sequel will surely offer more challenges for Janelle, Ben, and planet Earth. Ages 13–up. Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management. (May)
VOYA - Adrienne Amborski
Brought back from the dead by an enigmatic fellow student after a devastating hit-and-run, high school junior Janelle Taylor finds herself in a mystery of X-Files proportions involving parallel universes. As the daughter of an FBI agent, Janelle is privy to the investigation of a series of gruesome deaths that are occurring with unnerving frequency in her California hometown. Even though Janelle is in the midst of developing a new romance with one of the hottest jocks in school and dealing with a barely-functioning bipolar mother, she discovers that there is a countdown to something cataclysmic. Fighting against time, Janelle and her best friend, Alex, discover that the mysterious Ben Michaels and his wayward friends are not ordinary teens, but harbor a secret that can save the world from an apocalyptic end. Upon the murder of her father, Janelle is pushed to find answers to end the impending destruction of earth. As Janelle and Ben begin working together to save the world, she is drawn to him and finds herself falling in love. Janelle is a headstrong female character who often seems older than a junior in high school. Strong language and alcohol use are frequently presented in this science fiction thriller, making it appropriate for the high school audience. The romantic relationship between and Janelle and Ben is left in a state of suspension leaving the reader wanting more and begging for a sequel to this multilayered debut. Reviewer: Adrienne Amborski
VOYA - Gwen Amborski
Unraveling is an enthralling book with many twists and turns that keep the reader's interest. This novel has many characters, but the reader does not get to know them very well. The lack of details leaves the reader somewhat unsympathetic to their life-threatening situations. Although this book is definitely science fiction, it has multiple concepts that relate to everyday teen issues. Readers interested in books centered on the world ending, technology, or dystopian genres would enjoy this novel immensely. Reviewer: Gwen Amborski, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Janelle's life hasn't been easy. She helps raise her younger brother while her father busily heads the counterintelligence unit of San Diego's FBI office, and her bipolar mother is busy, well, hiding out in the bedroom. Life becomes more complicated once Janelle's hit by a truck. Instead of dying from her extensive injuries, she's revived by previously ignored classmate Ben Michaels, who isn't talking about what happened. Surprisingly, Janelle has more immediate concerns: her father is investigating gruesome deaths involving disfigured bodies and some sort of countdown timer/explosive device. Thanks to her knowledge of his likely passwords, his work laptop is no problem for her to hack, leaving Janelle and her friend Alex with all of the frightening facts of the case and a determination to solve it. The characterizations are excellent: Janelle's friends and family, as well as her new acquaintances, are fully fleshed out. The beginning of the book reads a bit like Carol Plum-Ucci's Streams of Babel (Harcourt, 2008), as Janelle is convinced that only a terrorist's plot could explain the bodies and countdown timer. However, the story then veers into a multiple universe theory that, while explained, is not completely explored. This and any other concerns are minor; in general, readers will enjoy the nonstop action and romance.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
In a refreshing change of pace from the current glut of angel books, when Janelle is killed in a car accident, she doesn't move on to a seraphic afterlife; she's brought back from the dead instead. Her savior is stoner Ben, and even as he is bringing her back to life she notices his "huge brown eyes,… wavy dark hair [and] tortured half smile." Janelle needs to be alive. Her mother has withdrawn into total bipolar uselessness, and though her X-Files–obsessed, FBI-agent father is fabulous, he works insane hours, so Janelle holds the family together. Through some efficient snooping in her dad's office, Janelle learns that people are turning up melted--including the person in the car that hit her. And there's mention of a countdown to an event that could destroy the Earth. Could there be a connection? First-time author Norris surrounds her likable narrator with equally appealing and complex primary and secondary characters, compensating for a relatively slow pace. Plotting is not quite so strong, particularly in the book's science-fiction elements. Ben's healing ability is given a ludicrously vague explanation, and the potential Earth-ending event is made only barely more credible. Still, the writing is smooth, and the love story satisfies despite its predictability. Good for romance fans, if not science-fiction aficionados. (Science fiction/thriller/romance. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062103741
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/23/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
445
Sales rank:
494,350
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

Pittacus Lore

“This high-stakes thriller—complete with mind-bending sci-fi twist—will hook you and never let go.”—

Andrea Cremer

“If Veronica Mars snatched a case from Mulder and Scully, you’d get this fast-paced page-turner. With a heroine full of moxie, wicked surprises around every corner, and non-stop action, UNRAVELING is an irresistible thriller.”

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the San Diego beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's chilly winters. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Unraveling is her first novel.

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