Author: Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Balzar + 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, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her reincarnation, 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 one boy she never saw coming.
This book played to so many aspects of my sci-fi geek. First, Janelle's dad is a total geek. He raised his kids watching X-files and going to Comic Con. There's one scene where they're carrying on a conversation using X-files quotes and I laughed so much because not only did I get it all but my family has done that. Then there were echos of Roswell and Sliders in the story and Firefly even made an appearance. Now you know I'm loving a book when they reference Firefly. The dialogue was witty and fun.
But the novel was a lot more than the geek references. There was a good story in here. Janelle becomes a regular Nancy Drew when she decides to investigate one of her dad's cases on her own and finds herself in danger. Norris keeps the plot moving quickly. She Janelle's a tough and smart girl. She figures things out and never thinks about herself when there's danger. She worries about her brother, her dad, and her best friend, Alex. Even at the end of the book, Janelle thinks more about what's best for Ben and not herself.
Norris also doesn't pull any punches when it comes to keeping characters safe. She broke my heart not just once but twice in this story with deaths. And I love that in a book. It keeps me on my toes as a reader and makes the story more intense.
Unraveling could easily stand on its own but I am glad that there is a second book planned as I want to see more of Janelle and Ben.