Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Unraveling

Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 445


Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died...and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.
I'll be straight with you. I came away from this book with mixed feelings. And pretty pissed at the ending. It started out promising, but it never came close to that promise.
But somehow I manage to miss the faded blue Toyota pickup until it's so close I can feel the warmth of the engine and smell the smoke of locking brakes. Until the only thing I have time to do is haphazardly throw an arm in front of my face. Because I'm vain like that.
By page twenty, I was hooked. I was ready to be happily surprised by the book. By page one hundred, I started to see it become predictable. By three hundred, I couldn't believe it wasn't over yet. Which is funny cause the ending really didn't start until around page four hundred and thirty.  So even though the book is probably a hundred pages too long, the ending was rushed.
The plot is okay. It wasn't perfect and it asked you to just go with it a lot. The huge twist wasn't great and it seemed to just derail the plot. It felt like the author lost her way and wasn't sure where she was going to end up. It kind of  pulled itself back together a bit near the end. But then the end happened. To sum it up, an pointless death of a character. It didn't feel like it belonged. And the resulting anger is the emotion that I take away from the book. And then there is the instalove. Well, half instalove as Ben had loved Janelle since he was ten. It was okay. There was some chemistry but I didn't really believe it.
 The characters never really got developed. Janelle was the only one. And I wasn't that fond of her. She seemed stuck up and not as smart as she claims to be. Ben was the typical misunderstood bad boy who is smarter than most people. Alex and Jared never got the attention that they deserved.
There was a good chunk of pop culture references, at least eighteen. Probably more. And the science isn't sound, but if you just go with it, it isn't that bad.  A few things the book has been compared to; Roswell, Veronica Mars, and Fringe. I haven't seen Roswell, so no comment on that. But I can understand the comparison to the other two. And that feels more like an insult to the shows than a compliment to the book.
Overall, it's not a bad book. I didn't like it but I can understand why other people do. If you are looking for a good YA science fiction book, stay away. Otherwise, I know a lot of people liked the book a whole lot more than me, so if you don't have anything else to read, then go ahead and give it a chance.

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