Saturday, 24 March 2012

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unravelling
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Release Date: June 07, 2012
Find On: GoodreadsAmazon UK

This is one of those moments where I wish I was a better writer so my review could at least do this book justice. You will have to make do, I’m afraid. Or better still, READ THIS BOOK, and then get back to me so we can gush about it together. 

I am a person who is very easily excited by a gripping synopsis or stunning cover. You won’t believe how many YA books I have lusted and pined over simply because they had been well-marketed. I can think of several upcoming releases already that I have convinced myself will be THE book, the book that has me up all night and giddy the next morning. In other words, tell me that a book will be like the biggest teen blockbuster of the summer and I will probably believe you. 

Unravelling (spelt with two L’s – I’m British) is a book that I latched my eyes onto as soon as I read the words ‘end of the world’ and ‘countdown’. I love science-fiction and I LOVE end-of-the-world scenarios. Clearly this book had been written for me. When I had been given the opportunity to review it, how could I not jump at the chance? There are only two things I regret now having read Unravelling. One being the fact that I didn’t read it as soon as my copy came through the letterbox. The other being that I didn’t wait a while longer to read it. Yes, I loved it, but now I am desperate for a sequel.

I can’t quite define what it was about this book that made it so much better than a lot of YA stories. I suppose I could say everything, as it certainly did feel that way. Where we are given the same formulaic basis for a plot in several other YA books, Elizabeth Norris actually uses her imagination and delivers a wholly original and gripping story line. I was worried after a few chapters in that she wouldn’t actually be taking the story where I wanted her to. It would have been very easy for her to turn this into a story we have seen countless times but I am beyond thrilled she didn’t. Science fiction fans, you will not be disappointed. Wannabe theoretical physicists (yes, this was me at one point), you may just end up positively drooling. The plot is complex, riddled with elements of mystery, fast-paced and completely unpredictable.

The driving force, of course, is Janelle’s voice – a voice that may just be one of my all-time favourites. This is where Elizabeth Norris’ amazing writing style comes in. I wish I could describe EXACTLY how perfect it is. It isn’t particularly complex writing – or at least it doesn’t appear that way. She effortlessly weaves her words together in a remarkable way that makes every page readable and every sentence relatable. As a reviewer, I have mentioned ‘connecting’ with a story and its main character probably one too many times, but I genuinely think that applies here more than ever. Janelle is a layered and admirable character and I never once felt as though I was ten pages ahead of her. I loved that and I loved her.

You want to know who else I loved? Ben. And Alex, too. Ben is the love interest and Alex is the best-friend. I know what you’re thinking, but let me assure you, you can get rid of that thought completely – there isn’t a love triangle. Not even a hint of one.

I realise I have declared my love to many fictional YA boys already (and I will most likely find somebody else to fan-girl over tomorrow), but I am not kidding when I say Ben is the best one. (No really, I promise this time.) I had no trouble warming to his sweet character at all. He is completely different to any of my other YA crushes. For a start, he is so incredibly believable. I am quick to fall for guys who are, let’s face it, impossible. It is wonderful to be given a character who manages to convince me that he is like any other normal teenager (even though Ben clearly isn’t) and make me fall for him. 

And then there is Alex - who may just be my favourite character from the whole book. I certainly don’t collect as many fictional best friends as boyfriends, but Alex is too wonderful to ignore. He gets the number one spot. I can’t say any more than that, but let me tell you, he is a hard one not to love.

I realise my review is pretty vague but there really isn’t any way I can go into more depth without throwing in a bunch of spoiler tags. I did initially go for a 4.5 star rating, but writing all this has convinced me that it IS deserving of 5 stars. The only issue I had with it – and it was a plot twist – is SO easily overlooked that it isn’t even worth taking half a star off for. If you haven’t realised by now, I will make it explicit: I loved this book. I couldn’t recommend Unravelling more – if you need me to send you virtual chocolate to bribe you into pre-ordering this, just say the word.


Rating: 5 stars

33 comments:

  1. Awesome review Sam, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one and I cannot wait to read it - Donna xoxox

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  2. Oh my goodness, you're making me sooo exciting for this!! I'm so incredibly glad you loved it! I've been seeing 4-5 star ratings around, but never got a chance to read their reviews, so yours is the first I've read for Unravelling (and yes - spelt with 2 l's since I'm an Aussie)! AND THANKS TO YOUR GUSHING REVIEW, I'LL DEFINITELY BE READING IT<3 I'm SO glad there isn't this whole best-friend-other-guy love triangle thing going on! I've been hoping ( for like EVER) for a story where a guy and girl can remain BEST FRIENDS without something coming in between! But wow...I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET BEN AND ALEX! Fantastic review Sam! You totally have me convinced to read this!

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  3. Sam, I think you did an amazing review despite being so emotionally involved with the story :) I wouldn't have looked twice at the book going by the blurb. It's on my wishlist now x

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  4. Oh, gosh, Sam, I'm so happy I reviewed this before you did. I'd have chickened out for sure after reading this! Such an amazing review for what quickly became one of my all-time favorite books. I'm curious about that small thing that didn't sit well with you, but there are no spoiler tags here. :(
    I was thrilled by how easily Norris walked through the mine field of giving her heroine a male best friend without turning it into any sort of cliché. There's really nothing better than to have an author surprise you in such a way. :)

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  5. Yay, so glad you like this one, Sam! I loved Janelle and I ADORED the BF and the love interest - both were awesome characters! Great review, as usual. :)

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  6. another amazing review! As soon as I read the synopsis of this book last September, I knew I wanted to read this book. I often choose to read books based on their synopsis's too. I love how their is a guy best friend who is not a love interest and an original storyline! I'm even more excited to read this book now!

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  7. wow this sounds like it is an awesome book!! I have to get my hands on it!! Even the synopsis is intriguing!! And great work on the review Sam!

    Farah

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  8. Wow, with such a good review I will have to add it! It looks really good :)

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  9. OMG. OMG. DID I MENTION OMG? I NEED this book. I was excited before but... DAMN. You make this sound beyond amazing. The plot, the heroine and Ben?! THE BEST GUY? In all the land of YA? Wow. That boy now has big shoes to fill. I so love when fictional boys actually feel real.

    I certainly don't need virtual chocolate to preorder, but if you're offering... make it vegan? :D

    EEEEEEEEE thank you for your ridiculously incredible review. I think I may die from anticipation now. June? June?! JUNE?! *sob*

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    1. Thank you, Brodie!

      June is the UK release date. I think it comes out very soon in the US. I'm not sure about Australia though. :)

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  10. I am so glad you've liked it Sam!! :)

    Ben is the best one. (No really, I promise this time.) - hahaha you made my laugh so hard :D After this, I think I should give this book a chance!

    Great review Sam!! :) ;) <3 <3

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  11. OH MY GOSH, SAM! I was insanely excited to read this book before, but now I'm jumping up and down in my seat to start it!! x) I can't even tell you how many books I've lusted over because they had been well-marketed too (and I've been disappointed a lot of the time), so it makes me happy that this book lives up to the hype!

    And Ben? Alex (YAY for another swoon-worthy Alex!)? I'm fully prepared to place them near the top of my Boys I Wish Were Real list! ;) Believable boys are my favourite type (espcially since then us real-world girls might actually have a chance to find one...? LOL!)

    Amazing AMAZING amazing review, Sam!! Thank goodness I finally have a copy of this book (YAY!), but your review is making it REALLY hard not to mess up my reading order! x) <3

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  12. Oh gosh! Another Alex! *swoons* XD

    I pre-ordered this book already! Can't wait to read it. (craving for it now after reading your review)

    - Michelle

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  13. It was already on my to read list, but after you're review I'm really excited to read this!

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  14. Sam this review is just BRILLIANT! first Maja's 5 star review and now yours! I so can't wait for this book now! I can't wait to meet Ben either! The best one you say? *sigh* I'm just dying here!

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  15. I am dying for this now. Funny how there is not much buzz or publicity on this title and we aren't getting ARCs in the U.S. I loved your little review It was a fan girl review and you don't gush ofthen and neither does Maja, so I know this is a good one! Luckily it isn't too long until release day. Have a great weekend Sam!

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  16. Saaaaaam! I am trying not to read this even though I want so desperately to know what you thought, hah. I'm excited to see the 4 stars, though, and I can't wait to compare notes with you. I really need a whipmaster to prod me along with my reviews, I'm so behind. I'm really happy that you enjoyed this, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  17. I was so lucky to receive a copy of this book earlier this week! I've had my eye on it for the MONTHS, and I'm SO EXCITED for it! I've heard only the best things and I cannot wait to read it. <3 Amazing review, Sam! Just another reason to read Unraveling (one L--I'm American, haha) right NOW. And Ben? Ah, so swoon-worthy. Love your review! <3

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  18. I have to say that the story's synopsis doesn't sound as catchy and amazing to me as it did to you, but your review is SO positive and convincing, that I'm totally going to put that book on my wishlist and hope I'll get to read it as soon as possible. That's a really amazing review, honestly!

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  19. Amazing review. I MUST READ THIS BOOK!

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  20. I want this book SO. FREAKING. BAD. Your review just reinforces that sentiment!!! Gahhh, one more month >.<

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  21. Oh man, you have me so excited for this one! The wait is going to be awful. I like the UK cover a lot more than the US one.

    Absolutely wonderful review as usual, Sam!

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  22. I totally understand a vague review but I actually think you've included a lot about this book and knowing that Maja and now you have loved it makes me need to read it even more!!

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  23. OMG, this book has to come out ASAP. It sounds so good...
    Fantastic review ^_^ I understand why it was vague, but oh, I'd love to know more about the story... Guess I'll just have to wait until it comes out!

    ~~Beatriz

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  24. Okay, so I've seen this around, but never really paid full attention to what it was about.. maybe because of the US cover. But this sounds so good, AND this cover is WAY better!

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  25. . . . what is this nonsense about you being a better writer? You write some of the very best reviews I've found, and this is just one brilliant example. Before, my excitement for this was middling. I liked the premise, the look of it, the reviews I'd seen were pretty positive, but it wasn't one of those books that I felt as though if I did not own it the world would not go on. Now, I do. Your review has pretty much bumped this to the very top of my 2012 releases list. I cannot wait for this one to come out. I adore sci-fi, I adore countdowns, and any fictional character fantastic enough to make it to the very top of your fictional crush list is one I want to read.

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  26. Oh man, I don't know if I'm just losing it or if it's because it's nearly 2am, but it took me a moment to realize what book this was! I didn't recognize the cover and it took a second to sink in. YAY, I'm so, so glad to hear you love this book! It's been one I've really been looking forward to!

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  27. This is so, so interesting to me. Tatiana is posting her review of this one in the next day or two and she wasn't a huge fan. I definitely need to read this though I bet I'll fall somewhere in between you two:) And please, you can never have too many favorite YA dude characters! One time, we made a joking "YA Cougars" shirt idea on a Goodreads thread and discussed all the names that would be on the back and there are about 200+ comments and we came up with, like, 80 guys. Quite creepy actually:) Anyway, I'm glad you loved this one and I'm definitely going to try it!

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    1. Me again. This cover is SO much better than the US one. That is all.

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  28. Love your review, Sam :D I have this for review as well, so I might have to pick it up sooner that I thought. 'fast-paced and completely unpredictable' sounds like my kinda book. So glad you enjoyed this one, Sam. -Carly :)

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  29. You had me at 5 stars lol, which I know you don't give lightly. This definitely sounds like one I need to read. All your raving about Ben, I definitely want to get to know him, and Alex (two of my kids names :)). Glad there's not a love triangle. They always seem to break my heart just a little bit!

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  30. Ooh I didn't recognise this cover cos I was so used to the US one! Eeek I'm so so excited to read this because everyone seems to love it! Also, having the BEST boy is a really high praise and I love that the heroine had such a great voice. I really hope I love this book as you do because I kind of already love it from your review. FANTASTIC review! :)

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  31. Aw, Sam, you're an excellent writer, and your reviews ALWAYS do a book justice! You've got me very excited about this one! You don't give 5 stars easily, so I can only imagine how great this book is! Thank you for the review and for helping me add yet another book to my growing TBR. You rock! :D

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