Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (#1)

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (#1)
Pages: 445
Release Date:  April 24th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, May 18th-20th
Received:  Library (But I will buy it someday! :D)
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+

Janelle Tenner lives in sunny San Diego where life is good.  Maybe not perfect; no, her mother's story attests to that.  But her father and brother are always there for her, her best friend is awesome (as always), her boyfriend is cute and sweet, and a summer job as a lifeguard is a great way to pass the time.
But then...the unthinkable.  Janelle is hit by a quickly moving truck from out of nowhere - and dies.  Or at least she thinks she does.  She's brought back to life by Ben - some random stoner kid from her school.
Now all Janelle has are questions.  How did Ben save her?  Where did the pickup truck come from?  And her dad's mysterious FBI case - how is it all related?  In the end, finding answers may come down to saving the world.

First, I was hit with what an incredible writer Elizabeth Norris is.  The words..they practically sang.  I could feel the beach wind and smell the salty air.  I could taste, breathe, see like Janelle.  I became Janelle.

On top of this, I was shocked (in the best of all possible ways) to learn that Norris used to live in San Diego, and, therefore, is an expert on SD geography and the local's favorites.  I mean, Roberto's in Del Mar? I eat there probably once a week during the summer, no joke.  Highway 101?  Love that drive.  The 5?  I drive it every day to go to work!  The Panera Bread in Mira Mesa?  Again, I pass it every day.  I feel right at home in this story...but that just made the mass mayhem and destruction all the more real for me.  There were refugees holed up in Qualcomm Stadium, guys!!  I can just see it happening!! :O

In any case.  Brilliant, I tell you.  It was brilliant.

Janelle and I would definitely be besties.  Or, erm...I would be that annoying friend who follows her around 24/7 because she's SO flipping cool!!  No joke.  I could really relate to her, especially in her relationship with her dad and brother.  The sarcasm and bantering reminded me of my own family!

I love that the best friend and the love interest were separate.  The absence of arguing between them.  The absence of a love triangle.  It really really was quite refreshing.

Alex, the best friend, was always there for Janelle, at all costs.  I became very emotionally attached to him and just love him to pieces.
But, you know, hopeless romantic that I am...I can't help but point out that I'm extreeeemely partial to Ben.
I can't even tell you how lovely he was - so perfectly portrayed and defined.  You need to read the book to truly understand his pure awesomeness.  His debates with Janelle, how much he cares, his absolutely shocking revelation...  Well, you get the picture.  Every girl would like to have a Ben, let's just say that.

I think this book should win an award for most tripped out twist ever!  Did you see that coming?  I sure didn't.  To be fair, I don't read much sci-fi, so maybe to a sci-fi reading pro it might seem less shocking, but no siree, not to me!  Plus, it made me want to read sci-fi all the time!

One thing leads to another.  Nothing is left untouched.  There are no story holes.  It's only a tiny bit confusing at the start, but when things are explained, they're crystal clear.  And I can promise you, your jaw will be glued to the floor!

You know, I don't believe I've ever read one negative review about this book.  I think that right there should say a lot about how badly you need to read this.

Basically, it's epic.  It's insanely cool and awesomely insane, totally C-R-A-Z-Y.  And you know what, Elizabeth Norris knows how to cut out your heart and suck out your soul with her killer ending.  Cruel, woman!  Cruel!  I totally cried.  I did.  It. Was. Gut-wrenchingly beautiful!!!

Theoretically brilliant!  You won't understand unless you decide to accept the inevitable and cave and buy and devour this book like an Extraordinary Dessert.  My friends, what on earth are you waiting for?!

For the Parents -
There are few books I can handle with the F-bomb dropped 50+ times.  This was one of the few.  Everyone drops a few cuss words in this story, but the group of stoners - Elijah in particular - is the worst.  Elijah has created a very cringe-worthy art of fitting an F-bomb into every sentence.  And I mean, literally - every sentence.  Besides this excessive use of poor and obscene English, there is one very steamy make-out session and the characters sleep side-by-side in bed (but nothing happens).
Recommended to ages 16+ - or to those who can handle ridiculous amounts of cussing.


  1. YEAH SIERRA!!!!! I so adored this one too, and I definitely would join you in following Janelle around and trying to be her friend. Loved the romance with Ben as well, refreshing is such a great way to describe it. I cannot wait for book 2, the wait is already excruciating and we still have a long way to go! Fabulous review!

  2. Sierra! I didn't know you lived in SD! I'm there during the school year; maybe we'll see each other at a Mysterious Galaxy event! 
    Anyway, I loved Unraveling, too. Such a fun book!
    - Lauren

  3. Thanks for the great review! This is one book I'm looking forward to. And thanks for the content reviews! Super excited to read this even though I'm sure the content might drive me nuts. Either way, fab review. 

  4. YAY!! Isn't it so cool to read a book that's set where you live so you can say, "Oh my gosh, Janelle walked this street before!" or something? x) And that ending definitely cut my heart out and rolled it into pizza dough to be eaten by a giant. I felt like a little piece of me died, and I had to cheer when Liz Norris confirmed an epic sequel! :)

    I giggled and cheered like crazy during your review because you're so flipping cute and this was so flipping awesome, Sierra! :') I'm so happy you appreciate Liz Norris's genius like I do! <3

  5. Candace's Book BlogJuly 3, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Most tripped out twist?! I'm sold!  I've heard good things about this but it never felt like a must read.  Until now cause I SO want to read it!  And I love books that take place where I live or am familiar with.  It's awesome to really see it and feel it all.  So cool!  Awesome freaking review!

  6. I know what you mean by the SD geography thing! That's one of the major motives to read this book. Even if I don't live in SD (but in Tijuana) I know all those places & I can't wait to see how they appear (though, for your review, I think it will be epic!)

  7. I totally agree - I'm seriously dying for #2 and it's SOOO FAR!!!!  Thanks for the comment! :D

  8. Oh my goodness YES!!  I actually just found out that Elizabeth Norris is going there on November 8th!!  We should meet up then, if not before ;)  I love meeting other bloggers. :D

    Thanks for the comment!

  9. Yay!  So glad you liked the review!  I hope you enjoy this book just as much as I did!

  10. It's one of the coolest things I've ever experienced!!  Hilarious, right?  But it was way trippy!  I'd never read a book that took place in my hometown before, so it was so neato!

    No, seriously, I totally agree - a part of ME died TOO!  I can't even believe she did that...I still am in denial.  But, oh, she did, and she's cruel and wonderful, just like Lauren Oliver or Ally Condie! lol

    Thanks for commenting Mimi, so glad you enjoyed the review - and that we are in this waiting-for-Unbreakable thing together! <3

  11. Seriously - the twist had me going "WHAT?!  No, yes, omg, wtf, holy freaking crud, THAT'S SO COOL!!!" hahahaha ;)  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and thanks for the comment! <3

  12. I'm sure you'll totally get into it - she really does know her places was soooo neat to see it described from someone else's perspective! :D

    Thanks for the comment, Valerie!

  13. I don't know what I'm waiting for. I have a copy and I still have not read it. I keep getting vibes that I don't like it and it's a typical paranormal romance of boredom, but every review I read makes me think otherwise so I don't know why my stupid brain insists on thinking that.

    On a side note, the fact that the book takes place around all those places you know is so beyond awesome!  So when I read it, I can now think to myself "This is where Sierra goes..." :)

  14. OMG, you have no idea how badly I want to read this book! I've been wanting it forever. There is not enough time in the day for me to read all the books I want/need to, haha. I find the story so interesting, can't wait to check this out.

  15. You HAVE GOT to read this book!  And soooon!  I hope you love it like I did! :D

  16. Oh man Small...I think you're going to adore this one.  You might not, I could totally be wrong - but I do believe you'll love it.  It's so...intense.  With a fast paced plot that's EXTREMELY well developed.  And written amazingly.  And yes, there is the factor of me living here!  I think once you read it you're going to want to hop on plane and come visit me so I can take you to all those places!  Hahahaha ;)

    And I definitely don't think the romance is the of the typical sort.  At all.  It was passionate, but well-built, and I felt like Janelle had reasons for falling in love with him, not just cuz he's a hottie.  But there is that....always a bonus, right? ;)I hope you love this one as much as I did, Small!! :D

  17. I know when I first read the preview chapters on the HarperTeen website, I was engrossed in the writing style. I also absolutely love how each chapter is counting down to 0. I can't wait to read the whole book. :)

  18. I LOVE reading your "Summing it up" portion of your review. "Theoretically brilliant" sounds so poetic!

    Not sure about reading this book, with all the F-bombs. I can handle some curse words sprinkled in a book (I understand some authors like to keep things as nature and believable as possible) but I am really uncomfortable when the F-bomb pops up. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. One of my favorite reads of the year. I have never been much for sci-fi, but this one changed my mind. It was soft enough sci-fi to not make my mind spin. I just loved this book and I can't wait for the next book. I hope Janelle gets her Ben back, after everything she has been through. And I hope something about the Alex situation changes. It broke my heart in a million pieces!