Author: Elizabeth Norris
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Release Date: June 07, 2012
Find On: Goodreads | Amazon UK
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