by Elizabeth Norris
4.1 73


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Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062103734
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Unraveling Series , #1
Pages: 445
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About 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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Unraveling 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
StalkinTheBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
mustlovebooks23 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the idea of this book, the storyline sounded great but I could not finish it on account of the content. It's a book written for teenagers from a teenager's POV and yet the 17? year-old main character Janelle has the worst mouth in any book I've ever read. She uses every bad word I've ever heard of (and I'm an adult) and her favorite seems to be the f-bomb. It's used so frequently, sometimes 3 or 4 times a chapter. And her "friends" including her younger brother use it just as much. I kept skipping parts hoping I'd get past the language but it kept building as the book went on. Not to mention the references to almost rape and other sexual content. I can not understand how adult authors include such things in books meant for teens and that younger childern could easily pick up and read. Do not read this, and if you are a parent don't let your child near it either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely a book that you wanted to continue reading to see what happens next! Here's the only thing, I think the age range should be older than it says, due to the constant use of STRONG language (F bomb used in almost every chapter) I'm a month from turning 20 and I have to say the language was a bit excessive. Other than that, great read! Would not recommend for the younger audience it suggests.
Amy211 More than 1 year ago
i loved this book up until the end. it had an interesting plot and kept me on the edge of my seat. it was predicting in some areas, and in others it totally blew me away. would give it more stars if the ending was better. after finishing the book it kind of felt like i wasted my time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very different from anything I've read lately! Great Book!
OtotheD More than 1 year ago
I must admit that after reading the first 100 pages of this book, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but I knew it had to be something huge after reading the synopsis. I proceeded with caution, though, because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get the payoff I wanted after all of the hype. I was not disappointed. By the time I’d made it through another fifty pages, I couldn’t put it down. Crazy things started to happen — things I didn’t expect at all — and as in any good mystery, as things are revealed more questions are raised and the stakes grow ever higher. It kind of reminded me of a season of “24″ BEFORE it got all crazy predictable. This book is insane — and I don’t mean crazy cat-lady insane — but fast-paced, awesome premise insane. I honestly had no idea where Ms. Norris was going with the story, but when I got there it all fell into place. I love when I think I’ve got something figured out only to be proven wrong, and I also love when an earlier and seemingly insignificant event takes place and a hundred pages later (or more) it suddenly shows up again as a huge plot point. Sheer brilliance I tell ya. This is another sci-fi book that totally grabbed me and sucked me in. I really liked it. The writing is effortless, the characters are all very strong and well-drawn and I never once felt the plot fell short. Even the minor stories played out well without being distracting. If you are an X-files fan, you MUST check this one out.
terilhack More than 1 year ago
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.
Readergirl_Revus More than 1 year ago
I'm slow on reading this book, I know.  It came out a little over a year ago, but this is one of those that I thought I'd just hold onto it until it was closer to release date of the second book.  That way the wait isn't quite as painful.  Either way, I was very happy with this book. I knew next to nothing about the story other than the summary...which is fairly accurate, as far as it goes, but there's a lot more to it than what's mentioned in the summary.  First of all, I'm a fan of Earth-destruction type books, and movies.  Any time a Deep Impact, Armageddon, or The Day After Tomorrow type movie comes out, I'm the first one through the theater.  Books...same thing.  I can't get enough of this type of story, so I'd be pre-disposed to like it anyway just for that aspect.  Add to that the fact that it was really really unique in another aspect (one I won't tell you of because I don't want to ruin things for you), and I was pretty engrossed from the beginning. I love the characters, especially Janelle.  One of my favorite heroines in a while because she was uber smart.  Her father's an FBI agent, and she definitely inherited the man's analytical skills.  I love reading characters like this and watching them work out details, uncover clues, and slowly figure things out.  She was so intuitive, but also brave and selfless.  Ben was a good match for her, as he is smart, sweet, and brave as well.  So the two of them seem to fit really well.  I loved the slow build of the romance... there was no rushing here, and it made it more believable to me. This was definitely a very unique story, and I don't feel like I can really go into more detail than that without ruining it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.  But it had me engrossed... the pacing was absolutely perfect.  I found myself flying through pages.  The suspense heightened everything to the point where it felt like the last third of the book just blew by.   Naturally, this ends with a cliffhanger that had me gnashing my teeth and getting misty-eyed.  Thank heavens I waited until only a couple weeks before the sequel's release date before reading this.  If I had to wait a year for the sequel, I'd be really upset!!  Great book.  Very inventive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had a somewhat unsatisfying ending. It was terribly sad with very littie happy. Lots of f bombs throughout.
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Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Janelle and Ben have the most uncommon start for a love at first sight. The story of UNRAVELING begins when a boy saves a girl's life and literally brings her back from the dead after she's been hit by a car and her heart stopped beating. How he did that and how Janelle and Ben are going to save the world together will be explored in Elizabeth Norris' fast-paced YA thriller debut. UNRAVELING is a sci-fi thriller with many mysterious occurrences. It's also set over the course of 24 days. I was unable to put it down! It's when Janelle discovers a clock that counts down to the destruction of the earth, that our countdown of 24 days starts. In the beginning of every chapter there's a note on how much time is left, increasing the urgency and the enormity of what's at risk. Her familiar situation isn't that simple either and her brother, father and mother are definitly no happy family. I really loved that part of the story and its sincerity and realness. Just as real was the romance between Janelle and Ben. It was destined to be, impulsive and hot. And the end of UNRAVLING totally broke my heart! Very much need to get to its sequel, UNBREAKABLE soon. 5/5 ***** UNRAVELING - A badass teen agent caught between an unforgettable love story, a murder investigation and parallel worlds. UNRAVELING is one of my favourite YA thrillers and I absolutely loved that Janelle was so passionate and professional about everything she did. She's a great investigator (probably thanks to her father being an FBI agent), always says what's on her mind and is fighting for justice whenever she can. The whole story reminded me a bit of a more mysterious and scientific Veronica Mars. If you decide to pick up a copy of this first book in a duology, you should get ready to solve a few gruesome crime cases and enjoy the romance between Ben and Janelle which is just as sweet.
Nova_Blogder More than 1 year ago
The amount of times I had to put the book down to collect my thoughts is embarrassingly obscene. - Nova @ Out of Time Unraveling is one of those books that's been sitting on my shelf, begging [along with all the other billions of books] to be read. I can only say that now, after reading, I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner. When I first met the character, I was pretty neutral about it. This doesn't usually happen as I either lean one way or the other. With Janelle, I didn't feel anything at first. And then after a chain of events happened, I saw the way Janelle dealt with happiness, tragedy and confusion and I liked her. Genuinely. Ben, the male lead, is another story. I instantly fell in love with his character when he first talked and my love only grew stronger as this novel progressed. [And you should know that it isn't a short novel, haha!] The writing was really great, even though it did get slow in some parts. There's a lot that needs to be explained in Norris' storyline. I really loved the quick lines that the characters delivered and how the story left a mark on my mind even after twelve hours of finishing it. This book also gave me a lot of feels. To me, feels are one of the most important things in a book. There were so many twists and turns and I just got left in the dark until the bomb dropped [puns for those who've read it] I laughed a lot, cried a lot and at one point, even yelled out because the things that happened BROKE me! The only thing that didn't agree with me as much as I wanted to was how the plot completely did a 180. In the beginning, it seemed sort of clear. When suddenly, a bunch of science terms were introduced and the plot took a different course. The change in plans threw me off and confused me for a bit of the story. It isn't something that hindered my reading but it did make me have to read a little more carefully to fully understand. Overall, it's a great story, FULL of feels and I'm really excited to get the sequel [after that HEARTBREAKING ending!]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a terrible book, because of the language. I'd be ashamed if anyone I know read this and I didn't tell them what was in it. By the time I stoped I wanted to bleach my eyes, and wash my own mouth out with soap. 0 stars.
Kristas_Dust_Jacket More than 1 year ago
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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