Two days before the start of her junior year, 17-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.
©2012 Elizabeth Norris (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
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"Unexpected -- Reels you in -- can't stop listening"
You start off at the beach and the initial teen drama fools you into thinking that this is going to be a uninteresting thriller so superficial that you start to think about what else in your library; after all this is a 11 plus hour listen. Then bang, someone is dead, then alive and then another death. I won’t say more – this is not a spoiler since this all happens so rapidly that if you are not paying attention you’ll have to skip back in time.
One of the things I like about the way Norris’ structured the story is she opts for very short scenes. It makes the story move very fast and gives you many point to pause -- briefly because you want to get back to it. Pretty quickly you get sucked into the world of Janelle Tanner; before you know it, Norris has made you curious about the other characters, their relationships. Soon you are wondering when she is going to give you more backstory -- like Alex's mother for example.
Katie Schorr does an excellent job of narration in this first person point of view novel. Her voice is pleasant and melodic.
This is the first of a series. I recommend the first one enthusiastically. It will appeal to anyone who like a teen series. It does have a x-files feel at times, so if that is not your interest you may love it a little less. But I think it is well worth the read. A big thumbs up.
"Roswell + Fringe = Unraveling"
When I first started listening to this book it reminded me of a late 90's early 2000 teen TV show about a group of alien teenagers. The very premise, a girl who gets fatally wounded and then is miraculously healed by a boy who is obsessed with her, is exactly what happened in the very first episode of this TV show. The story took a different turn however, which I'm glad of, but then started to remind me of another TV show, Fringe. I don't want to say too much and give it away, but if you've seen Fringe and listen to this book you will totally see the connection.
I liked the book, don't get me wrong. It kept my interest and there were a few twists and turns that kept me guessing...for a little while anyway.
The main character, Janelle, is smart, strong, and very persistent. Ben, the boy who saves her, is also an ok character. I didn't love him and I didn't find myself overly rooting for their relationship. It was just kind of sweet and a little bland. The relationship that is. I really liked Alex, Janelle's best friend. He was also super smart and witty. A very good sidekick. Everything seemed to flow pretty well and the prose was very readable. The structure of the book was a major redeeming quality. Short chapters and the ever present countdown helped to add urgency to the storyline.
The narrator was pretty good. My only complaint is that I wished she would have deviated the voices a little more. All the male characters pretty much sounded alike. Not a huge deal, mind you. She did a great job with emotions and never became overly dramatic.
Some of the things in the book that bothered me... Well, the first was some of the logic in the book. I really had to suspend belief for some parts. LIke how Janelle seemed to have such easy access to her father's files and his laptop. Her dad is an FBI agent, well no he's the head of a division of the FBI is San Diego to be exact, and it seems to me like it should not have been so easy for her to sneak a peek at his files or get onto his computer and email. HIs partner also seemed to allow her so much free reign into the investigation that it was a little more than unbelievable. And how is it that pretty much all of the central teenage characters in the book are so smart? Seventeen year olds that seem to have such a good grasp on quantum physics...ok? Anyway, the second thing that didn't bother me so much but might offend other people was the language. The F bomb is dropped several times and in general there is lots of cussing. So be warned. The third thing is that toward the last half of the book it felt like it began to lag a little. It was like fifty pages could have been cut out in order to move things along more quickly. Or maybe I was just anxious to see if my theory about the countdown was right?
The ending has me conflicted. In one way I thought, wow that is a brave way to end a book. Spoiler...the author kills off three of the semi-important characters in the story. One early on and two more at the end of the book. But the ending also made me angry, and not just because it was a cliffhanger. But because it was really sad and left me feeling like after what happened maybe I don't want to read the sequel, which there will inevitably be.
Bottom line: This is a decent read. I enjoyed it and I kept listening, which says a lot because I've been known to give up after only getting a few chapters in to certain books. While the plot lines were borrowed from other sources, the writer still made them her own. The writing style was definitely readable and flowed reasonably well. The cussing was a little overboard and the romance was a of the insta-love variety and I didn't find myself really caring about it one way or another. If you like sci-fi/mysteries give this one a try but prepare yourself for a cliffhanger and lots of suspension of belief.
"Good Story/Not So Good Narrator"
The story is really good but not great. It had the potential of being great but had a few things that detracted from the story.
It had the feel of a combination of tv shows i.e. X-Files, Fringe, Sliders, Roswell.
The narrator was bad but not horrible. She did deliver emotion but she can not do a male voice to save her life. The female voice is kind of annoying in the way it sounds. It would have to be a really good book for me to want to listen to her again.
There is a sequel and I am looking forward to it but hoping they cast a better narrator next time.
"OMG such a good book"
Finally a YA book that an adult can enjoy. It has everything you need in a book and the characters are real and intelligent. Highly recommend.
"Non-stop twists and turns"
This book is fast-paced. It goes places I didn't expect and doesn't flinch away from major life changing moments for the main character. I also enjoyed the romance and science elements.
Katie Schorr really captures the main character--she is emotional in this extremely controlled way. I could feel the rising panic in the narrator's voice.
Yes. It was very hard to turn off and I spent a lot of time in parking lots waiting for a good place to turn off the car. (There were never any good places.)
"Perfect Teen Mystery Novel"
Unraveling is a superb mystery novel for the younger reader. While there are many aspects of the book that are superficial, it certainly hits the mark for its intended audience. It is well written, thoughtful, and entertaining and mixes mystery and scifi in a surprisingly good way. The narration is excellent and is a convincing narration of the novel that is written in the first person. Given my vast experience with mystery and espionage novels it is incredible that it held my interest throughout given the subject matter and less sophisticated mission of the book. Overall it and was a pleasant listen and my expectations were vastly exceeded.
"Addicting!! I couldn't stop listening..."
Amazing storyline, I was enthralled the entire time. I'm an adult that enjoys YA books but there are some books that ride a line between feeling like YA and reading like a Paranormal Romance/Sci-Fi novel. I enjoy these types of YA the most, and I gladly place this one in that special blend. It won't matter your age. This book will captivate you and entice emotion as you listen along. The narrator is so easy to listen to and vocalizes each character seemlessly. As many Audible fans know, the narration can sometimes ruin a good book; You won't have to worry about that here. I would easily recommend this audiobook to others.
"A Teen Heroine that is Easy to Root For"
There was a lot I liked about this book, but perhaps my favorite thing was the heroine. She had just enough teenage angst, but she wasn't swallowed by it like so many other YA heroines. She seemed to have a good sense of herself, which was refreshing. I also liked that the plot was totally different than anything I've read in the YA genre.
I had no problem at all with the narration. I found Katie Schorr to be pretty terrific, actually.
The story wasn't perfect. The adults seem placed only to forward the story for the teens, but that is forgivable in a YA book. Overall, there were more good things about the story than bad, and I'm looking forward to the next one.
"Finally! A complete book with a full story!It"
This was a well written and well narrated story that didn't end with the inevitable cliff hanger that becomes a dozen books or more. It wasn't a pie in the sky story where good guys wear white hats and live out their lives. Some of the good guys actually get killed. The heroine of this story is Janelle Tenner who is smart, well read, stubborn, and doesn't use a lot of cliche driven conversation. Everything isn't tied up so neatly that she isn't challenged in her young life. It does leave the door open for a potential sequel but this volume can stand on it's own merit as written. I enjoyed it very much.
I'm so sorry that I can't leave a longer review but I don't want to throw out any spoilers.
Great narration by Katie Schorr. I only wish the pauses between chapters had been shorter. That's really being picky.
"A good book for teens"
Yes. I've heard The Immortal Series, and loved it Katie's voice.
The book is good. Has a good story and make you wish a second part. Book I think is good for teens, or someone who is looking just for a distration. Isn't so amazing as I thought, but is not bad at all. Is different.
"Pretty good YA fantasy fiction"
Beautiful Creatures - countdown to pending doom
As well as a central plot, Unraveling has a number of sub-plots that run alongside, interweaving and connecting with the main one. As such, there is a lot going on and there are many characters involved. Its complexity is one of its strengths since it is full of intrigue and never boring. I really like Elizabeth Norris’ prose. The depth appeals to me and I think she is very skilled at characterisation. She homes in on human relationships (family, friends, lovers etc.), exploring human behaviour and emotions. Janelle is not afraid to talk about her feelings, giving us insight into her character – which felt very real to me. For example, Janelle experiences a life-changing traumatic event which isn’t glossed over or ignored as the story develops. Instead, the effect it has on her is constantly there in the background, resurfacing and retreating throughout the story – in the way one would expect in the early stages of grief.
Admittedly, willing suspension of disbelief is required in order to go along with the central plot. You will need to overlook the amount of info sensitive to national security that Janelle’s dad is happy to share with her. You will need to overlook the way she seems to gain access to sensitive info related to the FBI investigation and a bunch of teenagers’ ability to do a better job at federal bureau investigation than the professionals.
That said I really enjoyed this audiobook. I intend to listen again and will get the sequel. If like me you enjoy contemporary romance and sci-fi, I would strongly recommend it.
downloaded this audio and finished it in just one day!
great book, so well written, and really enjoyed it.. :)
definitely worth it, had me hooked for hours!
"Not my kind of tale, perhaps"
I personally did not like the story as the science fiction factor was too high. For example: I found that being transported to another dimension/world out of the blue was too surreal.
The science fiction level and the fact that it was not convincing
It was okay
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