REVIEW: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Elizabeth Norris
445 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LIKED

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, 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.

   A strong main character who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and a plot you wouldn’t think to expect, Unraveling is a surprise. But is it worth the investment of time?

   With a cover appeasing to readers of all ages, Unraveling seems to be an incredible read, just based on the cover. But this is where the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover comes into play. Unraveling’s daunting length made me wary to begin with, but I decided to pick it up anyway.

   The plot is unexpected. While the story starts normal enough – with a girl being hit by a truck, pretty much coming back to life, and some FBI snooping, it evolves into something else entirely. It was a major plot twist that I was left waiting for, and though it was completely unexpected, I can’t say I was impressed.

   Janelle is a mouthy character, dropping cursewords everywhere she can. She was okay, but she isn’t a character I can find myself connecting to.

   Unraveling wasn’t exceptional. It wasn’t a book I can say I utterly loved, despite the fact that I put up with all 445 pages. I liked it okay, or we can say, I borderline liked it. And while I might pick up the sequel, it won’t be a priority.

Add UNRAVELING to Goodreads 
Find Elizabeth Norris on Twitter – Goodreads – Website


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    April 28, 2012

    agree with liking the book :)

  2. Reply


    April 28, 2012

    I'm glad that you liked this book, but sad that you didn't love it! I didn't per say, love it, but I think I liked it more than you did. Janelle wasn't my favorite character at first, but I really grew to like her at the end. And the length of this book is definitely daunting. It's so thick! Anyways, great review. =) I'm glad to hear that you'll at least be picking up the sequel!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  3. Reply


    April 28, 2012

    Excellent review, I am glad you enjoyed it..and it wasn't a bad read. I do like a character that speaks their mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..this would probably a library pick for me.

  4. Reply

    The Dancing Reader

    April 29, 2012

    I'm surprised you thought this one was only mediocre! I'll have to try it out myself. Thanks for your review, Hafsah!

  5. Reply

    Sierra Abrams

    April 29, 2012

    Thanks for the review! I've only heard that this book is brilliant, so it's good to get another side to the story. I'm getting it from the library soon so I'm interested to see what I think. I'm not a fan of excessive cussing so I may be irritated by Janelle… I hope I enjoy it!

  6. Reply

    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley)

    April 30, 2012

    I've read some mixed reviews on this one. Some bloggers are saying MEH and some are saying WHOA! I actually have a friend mailing this one to me because I need to read it right away! So I guess I'll know soon enough. :)

  7. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    July 27, 2012

    Oooo this book was totally EPIC in my opinion! I borrowed it from the library, and read it in like a couple of hours! I was floored!!! So many intricacies, twists, emotions, GAH! Wow. I don't even have the words for this book. And yet the end was so (inevitable) sad! You know it's coming but you don't want to reach that point… poor Janelle. I am wayyyy too invested in this book (not a bad thing though, right?). I'm glad you sort of liked it at least. I thought this book was very differnet from most YA books out (dystopia, yucky love triangles, etc). Thanks for the review!!!!!

    Alyssa <3

  8. Reply


    August 9, 2012

    I've been looking forward to this one for months. The reviews have been really mixed. I'm always curious to see how I feel about the mixed books. This one just sounds so promising!

  9. Reply

    Kassandra Fuentes

    September 23, 2012

    Thanks for the review, and I totally agree with you. I only read this book because of the cover and the synopsis on the back kind of got my attention. Although, I didn't really like it all that much, but I will read the second book and hopefully it will be better.

  10. Reply


    October 14, 2012

    So, I come back to say that I absolutely loved this book. I guess I read it at the right time. It was so refreshing!!! The characters….sigh…so good.

  11. Reply

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    October 21, 2012

    Elizabeth Norris is really a very good author as I already red some of her stuff and I like the way she writes….the review of her book 'Unraveling' really attracts me a lot and really makes me irresistible to grab my copy of this awesome book..!!

  12. Reply


    October 23, 2012

    I heard mixed reviews about this. Now I am not sure whether I want to read it or not.

  13. Reply

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    November 18, 2012

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  14. Reply

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    November 22, 2012

    Because of posts like this I surf the internet and when I found you, the time I felt I was wasting, just turned my thoughts around and now I am thinking I invested my time in What a commendable work you have done, with simplest of language. I can’t resist myself to leave a comment and trust me it’s hard to impress me.

  15. Reply

    Jaime Lester

    November 28, 2012

    Aw, I hate that you didn't love this book. I loved it. It took some time, but I did love Janelle in the end. And Alex and Ben. I can't wait to read the next book.

  16. Reply

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    December 7, 2012

    I have red 'Unraveling' several times and I found this one as one of the finest things came out from Norris….I am just addicted to it and I can't have words to describe the highest quality of the presentation of characters in that….Simply one of the best..!!

  17. Reply

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    December 23, 2012

    The review looks so justified and the characters explained above are really tempting to get all through the novel…I will definitely take some time out to read this awesome stuff!

  18. Reply

    nurmawati djuhawan

    January 25, 2013

    i try to read unraveling…but not yet finish..
    i don't know…i can't get the chemistry…
    i can;t connect with ben…:(