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Unraveling Hardcover – Apr 6 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray (April 6 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062103733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062103734
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #537,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Leav[es] the reader wanting more and begging for a sequel to this multilayered debut.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“Readers will enjoy the nonstop action and romance.” (School Library Journal)

“A satisfying puzzle full of novel twists and provocative clues.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This high-stakes thriller—complete with mind-bending sci-fi twist—will hook you and never let go.”— (Pittacus Lore, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Am Number Four)

“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.” (Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade trilogy)

From the Back Cover

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 16 2012
Format: Hardcover
Fatal accidents, terrorism, gruesome deaths and a trio of boys with mysterious origins -- there's more than enough plot swirling around in "Unraveling." Except for the stuff about high school, this gritty sci-fi romance actually feels more like a novel for adults, with lots of death, destruction and a situation that might end the world.

Walking back from the beach, Janelle Tenner is hit by a car. She dies. But mere seconds later, she is brought back to life by the mysterious stoner Ben, with all her injuries healed.

Unsurprisingly she wants to know how Ben did this. But she's also distracted by something even more serious -- the FBI has found a mysterious device that is counting down to' something. And bodies are cropping up all over San Diego, hideously melted by some kind of mysterious radiation. Janelle and her friend Alex suspect that it's some new kind of terrorism.

But when tragedy hits Janelle's life, her quest becomes much more personal. She continues searching for the terrorist, only to find that Ben and his friends Reid and Elijah might be involved -- and when she finds out the truth of why they are in San Diego, she realizes that this is far bigger than a terrorism threat. Unless they stop what is happening, the entire world has only days left.

I was expecting a pretty standard paranormal romance in "Unraveling," and was pleasantly surprised with the sci-fi novel I got instead. It's a strong fusion of contemporary thriller and sci-fi adventure, although we don't see nearly enough of the sci-fi. And Norris also doesn't skim over the more painful aspects of the characters' lives, such as the aftermath of a loved one's death.
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Format: Hardcover
View more of my review and others at my blog: [...]

If you take Fringe and X-Files then add a little Young Adult in there you will get Unraveling. This book kept my working, while Ben kept my heart fluttering. Janelle is a very independent character and smart character that is determined to find things out. But, before her big accident the only thing she really has to worry about was her family, afterwards she has the world on her shoulders. And on that Janelle loses a lot in this book, when she doesn’t have much left in her life to begin with. But, we soon find out that Ben is pretty much in the same boat. He’s a fish out of water and he isn’t what he seems. Coming off as a loner/stoner type we find out that Ben is actually pretty darn smart, and determined, and caring. And, it’s all rolled up into a nice tall package that Janelle finds yummy. This book was filled with mystery, dramatics, romance, and adventure and kept me coming back for more. I will admit that there was a lot of flash backs to better and/or sad times in Janelle’s life, which were probably there to make up feel for Janelle and understand her better, but I found it slowing the book down. The book is pretty large and I felt that there was a lot of slow moments throughout it, basically for something so large a lot didn’t really happen until the end of the books. That’s not to say that stuff doesn’t happen in the beginning of the book, because it does. In the first chapter (only a couple of pages in) is when everything starts. But then days go by of Janelle and Alex researching before she even talks to Ben, then more days go by before something else happens. I did just find myself being easily distracted until a little over half-way through then stuff really spiced up.
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Format: Hardcover
Walking home from school, Janelle gets hit by a truck and dies, but then wakes up again with her classmate Ben hovering over her. She believes he healed her and is determined to find out why and how. I can’t write anymore just because it would spoil everything and I don’t want to do that!

As for the characters?? Janelle was an interesting enough character. I like how she’s incredibly intelligent and has a photographic memory. She does have quite a temper I might add. She has reason to be though. As for Ben? Well I just hope to see more of him in the next book! Even the secondary characters like Janelle’s best friend Alex plays a big role.

Just reading the synopsis for this just made me want the ARC even more! Girl saves the world? Why the hell not? I love how the chapters countdown the impending doom. The concept is definitely original and I love how everything unraveled. (hah I just had to). There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the characters and so many questions Janelle wants answered and believe me, she gets them answered. Can I see this on the silver screen? YES! I’d love for this to be a movie. I just hope it would be done well. Highly recommended for any science fiction, and mystery lover!
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By Book Cupid TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Jan. 14 2013
Format: Hardcover
The one thing that scares me from reading a book that's past 400 pages is that it will drag. But Unraveling turned out to be fast paced, with a cliffhanger at the end of every "chapter" (the book is divide by time frames). I enjoyed Janelle, although I found her at times too sacastic and the way she disliked her Mom got on my nerves, but no one is perfect. It is nice to see a character who can be both pretty, intelligent and not afraid to pick up a gun.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a487690) out of 5 stars 189 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8fd51c) out of 5 stars An engaging, terrific addition to the YA sci fi genre in a Veronica Mars meets Fringe novel May 11 2013
By Christina (Ensconced in Lit) - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After enduring several duds on my list, I decided to treat myself to a book I've been dying to read for a while. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I loved this book!

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris is about Janelle, a teenaged girl who seems just like any other ordinary teen, until she dies... and is brought back to life by a boy she's never noticed. She believes she has been given a second chance and is determined to live life to the fullest. But she also has a streak of curiosity and wants to find out Ben's secret in addition to helping her FBI agent dad solve a case about several dead people who have apparently been killed by a healthy dose of radiation. To make matters worse, her father has found a device that is ticking down to a certain doomsday. Will Janelle be able to figure out the answers before the clock reaches zero?

If I could describe this book in a tagline, it would be Veronica Mars meets Fringe. The first 60% of the book, while beautifully written, doesn't have a ton of surprises. Instead, I would say it is almost an homage of all the wonderful books, movies, and shows that have come before it. In addition to the two I mentioned above, there are shout-outs to X-files, Ender's Game, Before I Fall, and some plot twists that are similar to the teen series and show Roswell. The characters are terrific-- Janelle is a wonderful protagonist-- spunky and smart. Her best friend, Alex, may be my favorite character. Ben is a fascinating love interest, and even though when I realize logically that the way he knows Janelle is kind of creepy, Norris masterfully weaves the story to make it seem normal. The pacing of the story is great, and the last 40% of the book approaches unknown territory, which makes it fun to keep guessing.

Overall, a terrific addition to the small but persistent genre of YA science fiction with a great protagonist and plot twists-- I can't wait to pick up the next installment.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a5eaf60) out of 5 stars And the countdown begins... April 6 2012
By Donna - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Unraveling is a story with true emotional depth that kept me engaged with it's mystery surrounding the countdown clock, a possibly doomed love between two likable and realistic characters, and that's laced with tragedy that hits the heart and pulled at my heartstrings. I felt Unraveling was a character driven story, and it was told from the main character, Janelle's point view, as she tried to discover the reason behind the countdown clock and starts to realize that Ben Michaels is more than he leads everyone to believe.

I thought Janelle was a smart, easy-going, level headed teen who had more responsibility than the average teenager. She hasn't had the luxury of leading a carefree childhood because she has also been her younger brother's main caretaker since he was born with random spurts of help from her FBI agent dad because her mother is usually hiding from the world, sunken into a depression caused from bipolar disorder.

At the beginning, Ben seemed allusive, quiet and a little standoffish but deeper into the story, small surprising pieces of information about him are revealed, evolving his character into someone you end up feeling a emotional tie to. Ben and his friends are classic examples of "Don't judge a book by it's cover" because they are more then their surface appearances and attitudes would have you think.

While I enjoyed Unraveling immensely, there were a few plot holes for me, or maybe I should say pieces of the story that didn't make sense to have them included nor did they add to it in any way because they were put out there but never expanded upon, making me wonder why have them in the story at all.

Upon finished Unraveling, I felt the ending was fitting but one aspect of the finale left me feeling angry, very angry. There are very few books that have left me feeling that mad. I can only hope there will be a follow up book that will not only help me make sense of that one maddening point but also tie up several loose ends that need to be resolved in order for Janelle's story to feel whole.

I would recommend Unraveling to anyone who enjoys a fast paced young adult story that has it's bases firmly rooted in realistic teen dramatics with a twist of science fiction and a smart, level headed heroine that's easy to cheer on.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a7a61c8) out of 5 stars Fantastic, edge-of-your seat sci-fi adventure story March 24 2012
By Kathy Cunningham - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Elizabeth Norris's UNRAVELING is a fantastically exciting science fiction story, sort of a mash-up of THE X-FILES and QUANTAM LEAP, but ultimately original. The narrator is high school junior Janelle Tenner, who's pretty much an ordinary teenage girl until she's hit by a pickup truck and killed. But then something amazing happens - Ben Michaels brings her back to life. Janelle has no clue how Ben did it, but she's sure it happened. Because in the seconds between the accident and the arrival of the EMT crew, her severed spine is miraculously knitted back together. She knows it's true, and she knows it's because of Ben

Things just keep getting stranger and stranger for Janelle, as her father (a big wig at the FBI) begins investigating a series of odd murders involving radiation burns, and she finds herself growing closer and closer to Ben, the boy who saved her life. It's not long before she realizes that Ben and his two friends, Alijah and Reid, are somehow connected to the cases her father has been investigating. And a mysterious count-down, which neither the FBI nor Ben can explain, suggests that the world we know might not last another three weeks.

UNRAVELING is brilliantly paced, and intensely thrilling. In structure, it suggests the TV series 24, in which Jack Bauer had twenty-four hours to solve a mystery that threatened the world. In UNRAVELING, however, Janelle has twenty-four days to figure things out, and each chapter moves us closer by hours to the moment of truth. I was captivated from the very beginning.

Janelle is a beautifully drawn character who is totally real and believable, and her romance with Ben grows slowly until the reader is swept away with their story. For once I didn't feel manipulated by a writer trying to manufacture a love story to sell a book. Janelle and Ben are a great couple, and their relationship is both uplifting and heartbreaking. I believed it all the way.

The science fiction elements of the story also work, although they do require a bit of suspension of disbelief (what sci-fi stories don't?). I won't get into any of the details, since it would be a shame to spoil even a little bit of the story, but things do make sense and you will not be disappointed as you get closer and closer to the final page.

Bottom line, read this book! For the first time in a long while I actually hope there's a sequel (I'm not a fan of the planned trilogies that are springing up all over the place -- it always feels like I'm being set up to buy the next book). But that's not how it is with UNRAVELING. It's not that it doesn't have a satisfying ending - it does, it totally does - but there's definitely more story to tell. And that's what makes a book like this really wonderful - I didn't want it to end. And I do hope Norris is working on the sequel! I totally recommend it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a7f3e88) out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Work Nov. 24 2012
By KVB99 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was enticed to pick up this book by the book blurb about someone with special powers able to bring someone back to life, but it turns out that was just a bait and switch, as the book isn't about that at all. In fact, the guy never really uses his special powers again for the rest of the book. So what is this book about? At first, its about teen high school angst, then it morphs into some kind of FBI-X files mystery, then it shifts into some weird sci-fi alternative universe caper that I never bought into, before finally morphing into an apocalyptic, end of days story. All these elements never quite gel or mix (like oil and water) and the transitions are too jarring. I give plaudits for the main character; she's pretty well done and engaging. But the other characters didn't do it for me, especially Elijah, who is incapable of uttering a single sentence without dropping several F bombs--It felt like the writer was just being lazy with him. I hear there's a sequel. I think I'll pass.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb7ce04) out of 5 stars I would recommend this to anyone who likes Fringe, The X-Files, any crime drama, and The Day After Tomorrow April 24 2012
By Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Talk about a breath of fresh air...well, if you can catch your breath. This book was a fast-paced mash-up of a thriller, sci-fi, romance, apocalyptic, murder mystery. Seriously, I can hardly begin to describe how this book exceeded my expectations. I rarely give books 5 stars anymore because the more I read, the more I compare the books to each other. Basically, 5 stars means that this book had a profound effect on my emotions, won't be soon forgotten, and gave me a lot to think about/reflect on.

Janelle Tenner is just a teenager. Her mother has a mood disorder, her father is a hard-working (borderline obsessed) FBI agent, and Janelle is the one that takes care of her adorable younger brother, Jared. She even has a popular, hot boyfriend. Everything seems to be somewhat normal for a female high school student, but everything changes when Janelle is rundown by a mysterious truck with an unidentifiable driver.

Now that you have that lovely background image, I'll stay away from the spoilers and attempt to describe how much I absolutely LOVED this book.

1. This author did her freaking homework...on everything. From what high school is like (AP classes & assignments), to quantum physics, geography, medical examiner reports, spot-on portrayals of mental illness, and even federal agencies.

2. Thankfully there is no insta-love, but it doesn't take the reader very long to become attached to the characters and their romantic shenanigans.

3. The main character, female protagonist is one strong girl. I really felt for her and the author made her emotions and even physical pain almost tangible.

4. Everything in this book will NOT go how you want or expect it to, but you will be glad that it didn't. I will admit there is a lot of loss and devastation, but there is so much hope and determination that you can't help but understand why the author made the choices she did for her characters. I can't picture it any other way.

5. The way the chapters were split up let you know that the countdown was always a pressing issue even if it wasn't actively being talked about. The pacing is SO perfectly crafted that you don't feel rushed, but you feel the pressure and anxiety due to the unstoppable countdown.

6. The MC's love interest. And what a love interest he IS. Ben Michaels. I'm not even remotely kidding when I say I may abandon every other "team" from every book I have ever read (perhaps with the exception of Dimitri from VA and Patch from Hush, Hush). PERHAPS. Ben isn't noticeably attractive, he doesn't flaunt his looks or personality, but when he's with Janelle, he's absolutely swoon-worthy. And swoon she does!

7. THE ENDING. Heaven help me, there had better be a second book! At the end I thought my heart was going to burst with feeling ALL of the emotions!!!
I will admit that the language is definitely something that younger teens should be cautioned about, but nothing to really fret over. Frankly, the language did nothing to harm my delicate Southern sensibilities, but that's just me.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes Fringe, The X-Files, any crime drama, and The Day After Tomorrow...those sorts of shows and movies. I fell in love with this book and I am so excited to see what others think of it as well.