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.
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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.