A combination of The X Files, 24, and Law & Order

Summary:

Janelle Tenner (17) is walking home after her shift as a lifeguard. Next thing she knows, she's hit by a speeding truck and having flashbacks of her younger self. Then she's dead. Now she's alive again, and Ben Michaels is standing over her. No one believes her, not even Alex Trechter, her next door neighbor and best friend. But there is definitely something going on.

Her dad, an FBI Special Agent in the Counterintelligence Unit is working this hush-hush case. Like they always do, Alex and Janelle try to figure out what her dad and his partner Ryan "Struz" Struzinski are working on. A little digging and the duo realize it is a race to stop the end of the world ... and somehow Ben Michaels and his friends Elijah and Reid are involved.

As the countdown continues, Janelle's life continues to spiral as well. Her father is killed, major earthquakes are leveling her hometown, and she finds herself more and more attracted to Ben Michaels. Somehow, some way, the world has to return to some sense of order. But is there enough time?


Parent Perspective:
A page turner of the first order! The story has everything young readers want: short chapters, great characters, mystery and suspense, and twists they didn't see coming! Janelle is a strong narrator. The countdown to the end of the world and Janelle's relationship with Ben drive the plot, but there are other equally compelling subplots: Janelle's Bipolar mother and the ways the disease impacts her life and the family; foster care and foster kids; friendship, relationships, and navigating high school; and the power and importance of a great teacher on a struggling teen.

Overall, a fun book to read. To me, it is a mix of the television shows 24, The X Files and great police procedurals like Law & Order. My personal opinion is that the F bombs were overdone. Yes, these are high school teens, and yes, a well-placed F bomb can be an effective literary device. Personally (and this is my opinion) I don't think they need to be every third word when three guys are talking to each other.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who love the tension of a count-down and lots of action will find it hard to put down Unraveling. The cast is small. The plot is front-and-center most of the time so readers can stay focused on the events and enjoy the thrill ride!

Content Awareness Factors:

Profanity, violence, drugs, underage drinking, and sexual references (teens having sex, sexual assault) are part of the plot..


Type of Book:
This is a science fiction thriller for young adults. It is a high interest / low readability option.
Educational Themes:

This is a story to read for fun. There are some subplots (e.g., sexual assault, mental health) that are fleshed out fully enough to talk about with teens.

Reading Level:
5.5
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up, 15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Deffinitely borrow.

Title Unraveling
About

Unraveling, Book 1

Author Elizabeth Norris
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2012
ISBN 9780062103734
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, Crime
Reminder: Cover images, amazon.com and indiebound.org links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.

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