Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

By Elizabeth Norris
445 Pages
Published by: Balzer + Bray

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.

**Review copy courtesy of the Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour. THANK YOU!!!**

So, Unraveling. The synopsis was extremely interesting to me and I was really happy to get my hands on a copy of this one.  And for the most part, I was not disappointed.

First of all, there’s a bit of a teen girl detective aspect to the book. As I have said before, the teen girl detective is genre kryptonite for me. I find it totally irresistible. In Unraveling, Janelle is more Veronica Mars than Nancy Drew, as she’s persistent and precocious.She was precocious almost to a ridiculous degree, which could have easily worn on me, but it didn’t in this case. She was intelligent and perceptive but not annoyingly so.

As for Ben, he is seriously mysterious, which made him ten times more attractive. In real life I’m never big on the mysterious guy because he usually turns out to also be the “douchebag” guy and the “oops-I-forgot-my-wallet-can-you-get-dinner” guy. Ben obviously doesn’t have all of his cards on the table (which is fine, because neither does Janelle by a long shot).

Unraveling is a really absorbing read. I hate the term unputdownable, but it was unputdownable. Even with a nasty headache that was making my eyes want to bleed I couldn’t stop reading. It was basically the equivalent of Elizabeth Norris whacking me in the skull with a 2×4, but I’ll let that slide since I liked the book. Some of the sci-fi stuff in the book was a little over my head, but I didn’t mind so much. It wasn’t tough to follow along with, even though I felt at times like I maybe wasn’t grasping everything. I wasn’t exactly right but I was on the right track.

I was really glad that Norris didn’t pull many punches in the book. There were two particular storylines that I would have liked to see wrapped up a little tighter, one involving Janelle’s mom and one involving Kate. Since it’s a standalone book I guess I won’t be getting any answers, but it’s not a big enough deal to me to take away from my enjoyment of the book.

4.25/5 Stars.

Leave a comment


  1. I didn’t know Unraveling was a stand-alone. Awesome since I’m up to my ears in series, but not awesome if it’s not watertight. I guess I could deal, though.
    I’m completely on board w/the mystery. I love that in a book so much more than a simple love story. Sounds like Unraveling is a must-read.
    Great review, Karen!

  2. I was a little disappointed it wasn’t a series. Not because I need another series to pine for for another year, but because (like you said) it left a few hanging questions. Great review!

    Also I have heard nothing but awesome things about this book. SO glad to see you enjoyed it!

    • Apparently the joke is on me because there’s another book in the series. On one hand I get the sad trombone for being totally and completely WRONG in my review, on the other hand…yay, more Unraveling!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: