Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris [REVIEW]

TITLE: Unravelling (Unraveling #1)
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Norris
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PUB DATE: Apr 24 2012
 Summary from Goodreads:

"24 meets the X Files in the biggest teen blockbuster of the summer…


Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.

And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…"

I might be ranting off for this entire review, so be warned.

Janelle Tenner was hit head on by a zooming pickup truck while walking on the side of the road after her shift from work.

She knew she died. But how is she still alive now? She can’t explain how it happened, only that Ben Michaels, known stoner in her high school, somehow brought her back to life.

While Janelle wonders over all this, her father, a special FBI agent, is working on a strange case. Unidentified people are turning up dead, burned as if exposed to too much radiation. Ever curious girl that she is, Janelle starts to look into her father’s files. She finds a device that shows a countdown… but a countdown to what?

“Stop the countdown. Save the world” is a really charming catch phrase. Too bad the story didn’t deliver just as well. This is probably one of the most disappointing books I’ve read this year.

Janelle’s character is the all too perfect kind that although I didn’t see myself getting annoyed with her, makes me feel she’s very unrealistic and not as relatable as I want a protagonist to be. Yes, she’s smart, strong, brave, caring… the list goes on and that’s really great, but there has to be some balance, give her a little dark side somehow [her family problems do not count, she’s still nice even with all that].

I don’t get how this girl is so smart when she suddenly trusts a boy she just “fell in love with” (and I quote that strongly) with everything in her life but she couldn’t trust the man who was almost a father to her. How could she doubt Struz? He’s her father’s partner in the FBI since she was a little kid, and the man has done nothing but stand by her side all her life and she doubts him? That really ticked me off. No, this isn’t the darker side of her that I was looking for; this is just plain stupidity.

And then there’s the whole insta-love thing again. Seriously? If you’re gonna do this whole “You saved my life and now I’m suddenly in love with you” then the guy goes “I’ve been in love with you forever but you didn’t notice” and then suddenly there’s the “I can’t live without you” moment – at least give it some flavor. It was so bland and unexciting.

Also, I can’t get my mind off of this part of the book (Chapter 15:01:00:34) where Janelle and her best friend, Alex, are having this conversation: So Janelle says to Alex: “You're the biggest dork alive!” and Alex replies with: “What do you expect? I'm half-Asian!” – I’m Asian… And I don’t get it. I’m not offended or anything. I just didn’t get what it means. Can anyone explain? I’m just curious.

Anyway, another thing I found off about this book was the inconsistency of the pacing and story execution. It starts of with a bang (good!), then mellows around the next few pages (okay), then goes off all exciting and intriguing (very good); then we have the sad, grieving parts (aww...) then it goes slow (boo!) then things get interesting again (yay!) next is a series of boring parts (no!) then it takes forever to get anywhere amazing again (ugh!), and the next thing I knew the climax was there and the end (poof!). Uhm… what the hell just happened?

You see this is what I found the most disappointing part of this book – the ending. So… that was the “count down”? Oh sure, I got the whole end of the world chaos but… that was the end of the count down? Just like that? That’s all that needed to happen for it to stop? Such long and tiring efforts for just that solution to the countdown? Wow! What a waste. And the Alex part – was that even necessary?

Although I didn’t like this book that much, I have to admit that Unravelling and I had our moments. I appreciate Janelle’s dedication to her family. There were times that I anticipated what would come next. But overall, it just wasn’t enough. Will I read the next book? Probably. But it’s not one of my priorities.

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