REVIEW: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to 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.
From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
First of all, let me say that I know there are many readers and reviewers out there who think that a rating and review should not be given for a book that was not finished. Well, guess what–I’m not one of those people. I read more than 250 pages of this book, and that was more than enough to get a feel on it, for me. So as you read this review, keep in mind that I DID NOT make it all the way to the end. So if something absolutely mind-bending and awesome happened there, well, I didn’t find out about it, cause I was not interested enough to get there.
From the first pages of the book, I absolutely HATED Janelle. And yes, even after reading about the things that happened to her and the obstacles in her life, my feelings did not change. I found her to be abrasive, bitchy, and holier than thou. She even lashes out at her younger brother, who’s never done a thing to her. There are ways to be a kickass chick without being an insufferable one, but unfortunately that is the way Janelle came off to me.
As far as plot–I felt like the author was trying to work too many storylines at once. And, like I mentioned, maybe they all come together in the end, but for the portion of the book that I read, I found myself many times thinking, “What the eff is even going on right now?”
Ben was a bit more tolerable than his friends and Janelle, but I still did not find myself engaging with him. I don’t know–he seemed like everything Janelle was doing was not a surprise to him. I’m not sure how to explain it, it was just one of those things.
At the point where I stopped, the sci-fi ish stuff was just coming up. And not that I’m stupid or anything, but once again I just found myself going, “What?” I do enjoy many sci fi shows and books, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the genre. At least I give the author props for being original in the wide world of YA.
There were many other things that led me to not complete this book. I am not a book prude by ANY means, but most of the curse words in the book felt forced–like the characters were cursing just for the sake of cursing. I don’t know anyone who talks like that. I am 26 and I never say the F word like the kids in this book do. Another thing was Janelle’s little catchphrases: “I’m like that” or “He’s like that”, and talking about wanting to punch someone in the face all the time. IDK. Just one of many things that rubbed me the wrong way.
This book was my first real paperback ARC, and I am so grateful to Elizabeth and HarperTeen for sending it to me as such a new book blogger. Unfortunately, it was not for me. And yes, I do fully expect to get flack on this review–out of nearly 300 reviews, mine is the only 1 star with an actual text review written, and I might be the only one who couldn’t finish this book. Sorry, fellow reviewers–I just didn’t get it.