Rummanah Aasi
 I was really excited to read Unraveling after reading several glowing reviews on the book from fellow awesome bloggers Maja at The Nocturnal Library and Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings. When I found a copy of the book on my library's shelf I couldn't wait to check it out and see what the fuss was about.

Description (from Goodreads): 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, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
   But her reincarnation, 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.

Review: Readers looking for a science fiction read that doesn't read as science fiction and wouldn't mind a romance in their story would most likely enjoy Elizabeth Norris's debut novel, Unraveling. Those who enjoy the science fiction genre with a capitol "S" and "F" will walk away disappointed. I, as a reader, fit in the latter category.
  The synopsis of Unraveling sounds great and it reminds me of one of my favorite science fiction TV shows, Roswell that blends teen angst, romance, and science fiction really well. The book opens with a terrific attention grabber as Janelle is brought back to life by loner Ben Michaels after being hit by a pickup truck two days before the beginning of her junior year. Unfortunately the book seems to come apart slowly after this event.
  Ben has not only given Janelle another shot at life, but a reason to stay alive, a feeling which Janelle hasn't felt in a really long time. Her mother has withdrawn into total bipolar uselessness. Her X-Files--obsessed, FBI-agent father is fabulous when he spends time with Janelle and her brother, but he works insane hours, so ultimately it is Janelle who holds the family together. For the most part, I liked Janelle. She is smart, a good student, and knows how to take care of herself and others. She is also plagued by a  dark traumatic incident in her past of a sexual nature that haunts her. While I understand her frustration and the burden of taking care of her family instead of just being an teen, her whining got old fast. I also didn't appreciate how she blamed her mother for her mental illness. It is not as if her mother chose the disease or wants to have her maniac ups and downs. Despite this issue which really bothered me, Janelle was a pretty likable heroine.
  Ben Michaels is also your average nice guy/love interest. He is one of the good guys who is sensitive, caring, saves Janelle on multiple occasions, and has the trademark of floppy hair which he is constantly running his hands through and the obligatory crooked smile (has anyone else noticed that every love interest in YA has the same physical features and habits?). He, of course, has dark secrets and hides his intelligence under a stoner/loser persona. Ben was an okay guy, but I couldn't help but crinkle my noise whenever he appeared because Janelle constantly talked about how he smelled like gasoline, a scent which I don't like at all. 
   I didn't mind the generic Janelle and Ben, but the mystery and science fiction aspect is what made me lose interest really quickly. As I mentioned, Janelle's father is a top notch FBI agent who likes X-files (hint hint) and apparently leaves extremely top secret files with easy passwords lying around home for his teenage-sleuth wannabe daughter to hack into without any problems. Really? I had a tough time buying that. things get a little better when 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? I waited and waited to read the reasoning about the burnt bodies and Ben's ability but when the real reason came I couldn't help but think "Why?" Ben's healing ability is given a ludicrously vague explanation, and the potential Earth-ending event is made only barely more credible.
  Needless to say that the book's plotting isn't its best strong suit. While Janelle and Ben's relationship teeters on the instant love and the "I've always loved you but you had no idea" see-saw, I thought they were cute together and for the most part complemented one another. I hate to say it but I definitely felt that the romance got in the way of the book's urgency of the world is going to end. Every time Janelle worried about her relationship with Ben, I wanted to shake her and say, "Remember the countdown? Yeah, the world is going to end in x amount of days. Can we skip the melodrama? Thanks."
  Unraveling is definitely for readers who can suspend disbelief much longer than I can and who isn't nit-picky on having logical answers or explanations. There are some cool action scenes and some sweet romantic moments in the book, but it didn't sustain me while I read. The book does wrap up in the end without any major cliffhangers, but it does leave room for a companion book which according to Goodreads will be out Summer 2013. I won't be continuing the journey. Clearly, Unraveling wasn't the right book for me but if you're still unsure of whether or not to pick it up be sure to check the much more positive reviews above.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, allusions to sexual content, and strong violence. Recommended for Grades 8 and up. 

If you like this book try: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling #2) expected release date June 2013, Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci, Firestorm by David Klass  
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Awwww sorry this one wasn't for you Rummanah, I absolutely adored it! Usually I'm someone who needs logical explanations for things, even in a paranormal world, but that just wasn't an issue with me with this book in particular and I have no idea why:) I just got caught up in it and had blinders on to any flaws. I hope the next book on your list works better for you!

  2. Despite the whining you liked the heroine? Hm... that made me curious. I have to laugh at you wanting to shake her. Oh yea... that would bother me. I know that teens can get distracted, but I know several you could count on in a crisis. Not sure if this one is for me.

  3. I'm not a big sci-fi fan so initially I thought this one would be something I like. It sounds kind of slow-paced though and the mystery aspect seems ridiculously uncomplicated to figure out. I may read this one in the future but I'm in no hurry to. Thanks, Rummanah!

  4. Candace Says:

    I'm not real nit picky so I might like this more. I guess I'm able to just overlook little things. Though lately I have felt luckier so maybe that's changing.
    I have noticed that every YA guy has a crooked smile and runs their fingers through their hair. I guess it doesn't bother nr though.
    I'm not sure if I will read this but if I do I think I will be more prepared so thanks for the honest review!

  5. Just read a totally opposite review from Pushy at Bewitched Bookworms. Don't know if I'm into this one or not. I've certainly got enough books now that I don't need to worry about it for now. Great review!


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