Harper Collins UK
Read from my TBR pile
Seventeen year old Janelle Turner is leaving the beach to pick up her younger brother when she is hit by a pick-up truck that appears out of no where. She is killed after the impact – she knows it and yet she wakes up looking into the eyes of Ben Michaels, who she knows vaguely as one of the stoner crowd from her school. Ben is leaning over her, his hand on her – healing her. She can feel all her bones knitting themselves back together. And even Janelle’s x-rays later in hospital show a spine that was broken and is now mended – an impossibility.
It doesn’t take Janelle long to realise that the strange event that happened to her is linked in with something her father, an agent for the FBI, is investigating. The cases involve a strange count down and multiple mysterious bodies that are burned so completely it’s like they experienced point blank radiation. Janelle sneaks through her father’s files, sifting through evidence and reports, trying to discover what exactly is going on. She corners Ben at school for an explanation, ignoring his vagueness and pursuing the truth. It isn’t until someone Janelle is close to is killed and she begins stepping up her quest for information that she begins to connect the dots.
The clock is counting down to the end of the world as we know it…and it’s up to Janelle to stop it.
I could not wait to read Unravelling. I pre-ordered it and sat back impatiently as reviews began to appear around me until finally, finally, my copy was shipped. I started it on the day it arrived, pushing back everything else in the TBR pile. And as far as explosive openings go, this one has everything designed to hook in a reader: strong, interesting main character in Janelle, a dramatic event that takes her life and a charismatic and mysterious love interest that actually restores it. Yep. Definitely interested! Add in the bodies Janelle’s FBI father is investigating that have been burned so hideously they resemble victims of radiation burns and this story had a spectacular beginning and I was frantically turning the pages.
I really liked Janelle and her narration. She’s smart, she’s been raised to question and think, she also takes control and has to nuture her younger brother due to her mother’s mental illness. Together with her best friend Alex, she’s been sneaking in and reading and analysing her fathers work files for years and her investigation into the mysterious truck that hit her and its connection to her father’s other cases doesn’t escape her. She begins questioning Ben more aggressively, demanding answers from him now, which of course brings them closer together. And I liked Ben as much as I liked Janelle – in fact I liked all the characters in this story.
I must admit, I don’t read a lot of science fiction and I didn’t know this was going to end up science fiction when I bought it. I’m a skeptic – I am that person in movies who loudly whispers the ridiculousness of the hero having one gun and killing a million baddies who have Uzi’s or the unlikelihood of Joe Random landing a Boeing 747 after the pilot has been killed. And honestly – this book almost lost me. There was a time there when I rolled my eyes and thought meh, I have to put this down. This isn’t going to be something that I’m going to be able to buy. But I decided to just keep going a little bit more and all of a sudden – I was at the end. This book is just an amazingly fun read. I don’t know a lot about the science, I’ve read some criticism that it’s weak and the science doesn’t hold up, but I don’t really care about that. What I care about are the characters and the way in which it is written. It’s fast, action packed, full of information and enjoyable. This is a heck of a story!
Unravelling is a fabulous debut novel from Elizabeth Norris. I’ve been having some real luck lately with books I’ve been reading and the characters therein. I thought Janelle was such a great lead and I really enjoyed her relationships with the others in this book. Her father is a workaholic and much of the family care falls to her and her relationship with her younger brother is very special. It’s not perfect – they disagree, they fight. But overall it’s very sweet and loving and I enjoyed the family unit. Life isn’t perfect and sometimes things are presented as either too perfect, or too dysfunctional. This one struck me as believably in the middle. Likewise her friendship with Alex is amazing, so wonderful to see a genuine boy-girl friendship in fiction without that friendship encroaching on the romance to create a love triangle.
Highly enjoyable and I’ll be waiting very anxiously for the next book in this series. There’s lots more in store for Janelle in the future and I can’t wait until I can find out all about it.
Book #114 of 2012