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Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
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Elizabeth Norris has an amazing talent for building tension. Every single chapter of Unraveling ends on a nail-biting cliffhanger that makes putting this book aside extremely difficult. Also in the tension department is the fact that some chapters are very short, which makes it easy to shrug and think, okay, one more chapter and then I'll go to bed. Yeah, right. Suddenly it was 3am and I'd flown through something like 200 pages and I had to FORCE MYSELF to close the book and get some sleep.

Things I really liked:
1. The romance. Janelle and Ben's relationship was very touching and real for me, and I enjoyed watching their love bloom even over a short period of time.
2. The plot's originality. Norris is far from the first person to use parallel universes as a plot line (first thing that comes to mind is the His Dark Materials series), but the take is fresh and deliciously scifi without getting bogged down with needless details. Listen, the science doesn't matter. Give me the opportunity to suspend my belief, and I will follow your plot to the end of the world. Norris did this well.
3. I mentioned the tension, right? Well, it's worth mentioning again. Norris is the type of author who hits the reader with a bunch of little plot points that all add up to a whole lot of story. Huge revelations came just about every chapter and yet evolved naturally. I always felt engaged and every time it seemed like the action was ramping down, something dramatic would happen. Earthquakes during English class, anyone? Okay!

Things I didn't like so much:
1. The whole thing with Kate went nowhere. Now, I understand that there will always be time for Kate in the sequel, but still. Nothing bothers me more than having seemingly important characters introduced, make me remember who they are, and then never do much with them except glare at them from across the room.
2. Alex's death. What. The. Heck. It seemed contrived and horrible and just downright wrong. When you have a guy around who can heal people with a touch, the tension is gone from a character's death scene. So when Alex got shot, I was completely meh because I knew Ben would bring him back to life. But then when Alex's spirit or whatever did not come back to his body for unknown reasons, I felt deceived and cheated. I wasn't sad--I was angry. And don't tell me that it was Alex's "time". It so was not. Bah. This completely unnecessary death also overshadowed Ben and Janelle's parting scene. Even as invested as I was in their relationship, I couldn't bring myself to feel very much. I was just numb.

Overall, however, I really liked this book. It was, in a word, gripping. I look forward to the sequel. ( )
  aquaorbis | Nov 1, 2017 |
A Fantastic read. Loved every minute of it, the story was so engrossing I found it hard to put down. The writing flowed with a cast of well flushed out characters. The protagonist Janelle has a lot on her plate to deal with than the typical teenager but she doesn't fall apart she handles them with strength and determination. I think the stuff she has to deal with made her who she is, a strong willed no nonsense girl. A really fantastic book. ( )
  GigisIrieReads | Oct 22, 2016 |
This novel was really good! I enjoyed every second of it! (Although I need the next book, like, NOW!) The characters were awesome, and so was the plot and writing!

Let's start off with Janelle, I really liked her, she is realistic and caring, so is her brother and her dad. Her mother is too, although she has her problems. Janelle kind of raised herself and her brother. Her Mother is mentally ill and her dad disappears at work most days and nights. But she has her best friend Alex, and she stil knows her dad is mostly there for her. Janelle is pretty awesome. She has some killer qoutes, I would share them with you if I could actually remember them, and I don't want to go hunting for them now, maybe I'll share them later. Well, anyway, she is sarcastic, sweet, and doesn't take to being messed with.

Ben is amazing. Although I felt we didn't see quite enough of him. In fact, this whole book passed really fast. It is definitely action packed! The science fiction part was very well done too! I won't say anything more than that so I don't spoil anything!

The chapters were really cool and added to the story. At the top of each it shows the countdown! ( I loved the countdown part of the story!) And the varying lengths left an impression, 3 paragraphs to ten pages!

Just to let you know, some important characters die, I won't say who, no spoilers! But, while I wasn't heartbroken, I felt for Janelle and the victims.

Overall, this book was awesome! I enjoyed it! However, I didn't feel enough strong emotion in myself for this to be 5 star, you know? I didn't feel as embedded into the characters as I do with The Host, or Harry Potter, for example. A kind of, I don't care feeling just sometimes washed over me.

I would definitely reccomend this! I loved the plot and all the action!
( )
  Emily_Anne | Aug 8, 2016 |
Loved, loved, loved this book! It's got so many great features: sci-fi elements, end of the world events, romance, and heartbreak.

Janelle is your typical high school girl until she gets hit by a truck. Then all hell breaks loose. There are earthquakes, wild fires, and unexplainable deaths. All the makings of a great book.

Janelle is a strong character. She takes what life has thrown at her, and tries to make the best of all situations. She's led a great, but stressful life. She's also very inquisitive, to the point where it could bite her in the butt. She can't seem to let the mysteries in her dad's files be put to rest. She needs to find out what is happening. Her best friend Alex is awesome. I love that he is witty and loyal. Alex is everything you want in a BFF. And that leads us to Ben. He's not a popular kid at school, and hangs out with questionable people. He's smart, hot and funny. I enjoyed being able to learn about him. I'd love to see things from his perspective though. That would be pretty awesome.

The story line was very fast paced. You are sucked in from the very beginning. I didn't want to put it down. There's a ton of mystery, and some great X-Files quotes. (Yes I'm one of those folks that loves that show.) The characters are what make this book so awesome. Their feelings aren't on the surface only. Each person has been through something that has made them who they are, and fuels their decisions in certain circumstances.

Since I listened to this book, I want to thank the narrator for doing such an amazing job throughout the book.

And a side note. Grab some tissue, cuz you may or may not need them.

( )
  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
This book was a disappointment. I was reeled in by the blurb and enjoyed the first part of the book, but then it became convoluted. There were just too many things happening to be realistic, especially when the sci fi element was introduced. Janelle wasn't a bad protagonist, she was outspoken, intelligent and caring, but the romance between her and Ben, like many of today's YA novels, happened far too quickly. I thought there would be more suspense in this book as the main characters raced against the clock to save the world, but basically "Unravelling" was just another teen romance. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 22, 2016 |
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"If Janelle Tenner wants to avenge her father's death and stop the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets--and keep from falling in love with him in the process"--

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