Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)

First Lines: I can tell the exact moment Nick steps on the beach.  It doesn’t matter that we’ve only been on three dates or that I wasn’t his biggest fan for the last five years.  It doesn’t even matter that his romantic attempts to win me over this summer could be just a means to an end–better girls have been taken in by lesser guys.

I’ve seen this maybe three times this summer on the shelf at the library.  And I’d been wanting to read it, but I’d end up maxing out on my self-imposed 5 book limit before I’d find it.  (Because really, five books is plenty.  We know how I am.  Hello, I have a book blog.)  But finally this time, I nabbed it.

Janelle Tenner was pretty normal until the day she died.  Sure, her dad did work for the FBI and she practically raised her little brother, but really, not that different from most honors students.  But then she died, hit by a car while walking down the street.  Janelle knows she’s dead…until she’s not anymore.  Next to her is Ben Michaels, class outcast and someone Janelle has never spoken to. She’s knows he’s got something to do with her not being dead anymore, but she doesn’t know what.  After snooping in her dad’s office looking for files pertaining to her accident, she stumbles across a file that alludes to the end of the world as they know it.  Could her accident be something more sinister?  Could it have everything to do with this apocalypse coming or nothing at all?  And what is Ben hiding from her?

So the tagline on the cover is a little cheesy.  I mean “Stop the countdown.  Save the world.”  Really?  That saying sort of went out after Heroes had the whole “Save the cheerleader.  Save the world.”  (Which, by the way, I was totally looking for a cheerleader reference or something in this book.  No luck.)

For most of the book, I liked Janelle.  There were instances where I didn’t like her as much as I had, when her actions diverged from what I felt she should have been doing.  She’s strong and tough and ready to tackle most of the problems thrown her way.  But she does tend to whine about them, like she has absolutely no power over what happens, when she made the choice to do whatever it was she’s whining about.  That kind of thing.

I really liked Ben, though.  There was something about him that was really endearing.  He’s just this sweet, quiet kid who never really tried to fit in.  I’ve read a lot of remarks about how he’s very stereotypical in a few different ways, but I’m ok with overlooking that.  Sure, he’s that outcast that catches the attention of one of the popular girls.  There are other things as well, but I don’t want to spoil them.

There was a sci-fi twist to the story that I wasn’t expecting.  I should have known when one of the authors whose comments are on the book cover compared it to The X-Files.  But I’ve never seen that show and didn’t really know what that meant.  Anyway, the twist went like, way over my head.  My science education pretty much stopped after Earth science or chemistry.  I never had physics, which this deals pretty heavily in.  I kind of get it, but not really.  That put a crimp in how I liked the story.

Really, my reaction to the twist was something like this, “Lalalalala cute scene, alright, about to get some answers…uh, come again?  We’re dealing with what?”

I’ve said before that I commend books that have teenagers cursing like, well, teenagers.  But this tested that for me.  F-bombs were dropped in some of the most awkward and unnecessary places.  I get it if they’re angry or frustrated or whatever, but these curses just didn’t fit and I felt that took away from the story.

Overall, it’s not a bad read.  It’s really intense and there are lots of things that need solving…but that’s also part of the problem.  There is almost too much wrong in Janelle’s life.


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