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A Reader of Fictions: Bring Me to Life - Evanescence

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bring Me to Life - Evanescence

Unraveling. Book 1

Author: Elizabeth Norris
Pages: 445
ARC Acquired from: HarperTeen via EpicReads

Description from Goodreads:
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.

First Sentence: "I can tell the exact moment Nick steps on the beach."

Unraveling is one of the books I've been waiting for, not just because its an Apocalypsie book, but also because it seemed like it would be awesome. However, I also went into the book with a healthy dose of skepticism. I really feared it was going to be a melodramatic, typical YA novel. Why? Because the cover kind of looks like a CW TV show. The first sentence definitely had me worried. Immediately after that, it was pretty apparent that Unraveling is a whole different animal. 

Contradicting what I just said, the opening of Unraveling definitely made me think of the television show Roswell, in which Max saves Liz's life. Later, he's able to show her his memories of her and she can see how he feels. I imagine that the show must have served at least somewhat as an inspiration, and, if not, Norris should probably go watch it now. Anyway, cheesy at is, I enjoy Roswell, and Unraveling is better and more intense than Roswell.

The countdown opening each chapter is a device that has been used before, and I think Norris uses it quite effectively. There was an immediacy to all of the events in the book.  At pretty much no point in my reading was I bored or not reading as quickly as I could because I needed to know.

I love Janelle from the outset because of her independent mindset and how she doesn't let the high school drama get the better of her. Plus, she judges her boyfriend for sending a grammatically incorrect text message (grammar is hot!). I would judge her for liking the guy, but she mostly doesn't; she just wants to have fun, which I can respect so long as she does so responsibly. 

YA heroines are known for doing a lot of really annoying stuff. One such thing that particularly aggravates me is just accepting huge news without any curiosity OR being super curious but not asking anything, and generally acting in a stupid banner based on completely absurd guesses. If they do ask and are rebuffed, they usually give up. Janelle, however is totally unlike those heroines. Janelle pesters people for information until she learns what she wants to know; even FBI agents have trouble not spilling the beans to her. Thank goodness for a heroine who's proactive!

Another thing I really appreciate about Unraveling is in the details. We really get to see Janelle's life, rather than solely focused on romance or the mystery plot line. I know who does the laundry in what way in her household and mundane facts like that. I also really enjoyed the school scenes, such as one in which the AP English class dissects a scene from a novel. Most books skip over the actual learning part of class, but Norris didn't, and I loved how much it felt like one of the good discussions from my AP class. Rather than school just being a place for romantic drama to happen, it's also a place to learn. Props.

With all of the dystopias out there right now, I'm really surprised the publisher or Norris herself didn't try to make this into one. Certainly, it's counting down to an apocalypse, but the book definitely comes off more as a science fiction detective story than a dystopia.  Also, the science in this was SO COOL.

Another thing that I loved about Unraveling, because I really seriously don't have anything not loving to say about this book, is the humor throughout.  Although the book is seriously intense all the way through, like holy-shiz-what-just-happened-oh-snap intense, Norris has woven humor throughout the whole book. Janelle and most of the other teens are snarky wise-cracking sorts who deal with the shit that is GOING DOWN through jokes. Of course, the book might not be as humorous to people who don't love sarcasm, but I do, and I think everyone should.

I should really wind up this review, because I've stayed up til 1 already finishing (because I HAD to) and my alarm's going to go off at 6:30. So here are the final points:

1) Elizabeth Norris rocks my socks and I will be reading everything she writes subsequently.

2) Unraveling is amazing. You should go buy it/borrow it/cajole someone into buying it for you/find one of the copies that was rock-the-dropped and read it ASAP.

3) Unraveling comes out April 24. You have two weeks to figure out where you can get a copy. The 24th is a good release date for Unraveling, since that's the number of days Janelle has to save the world. Funny that.

Rating: 5/5

Favorite Quote: "Life is a fragile thing. Apparently the whole world is fragile too."

Note: This song isn't perfect tone-wise, but I just cannot resist, since it fits the opening so perfectly.

"How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul my spirit's sleeping somewhere cold
until you find it there and lead it back home"

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Blogger Owl In A Cloak said...

This sounds amazing! When does the book come out?

April 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

April 24!

April 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I'm glad you liked it! I loved it as well! I was surprised I didn't find anything to complain about because usually I can, LOL.

April 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Me too! I'm a really picky reader, so that's always really impressive. The closest thing to a complaint would be that Janelle has a bit of instalove, but even that is well done enough that I can't complain. Her rational side questions it, which is good enough for me. SML.

April 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wow, 5/5? Reading it!

April 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Kali Skittles said...

I actually haven't been too excited for this, but your review makes me want to be excited for it now! :) I will definitely be checking this out.

April 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

YESSSSSSSSS! I am so pumped to read this whole entire review because Unraveling is on my TBR and legit good reviews make me super excited.


Also? I went to school to learn as well, what a shock!

April 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger Nori said...

I really want this one!

May 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM  

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