Unraveling – Elizabeth Norris

A truck appears out of nowhere and mows down Janelle days before her junior year.  She dies instantly.  A severed spinal cord is just one of her massive injuries.  As her life flashes before her, Ben appears and she can feel him healing her.  A classmate she has barely known all these years has brought her back to life.  How?  Using the skills she honed from her FBI father, she pieces together the clues of Ben’s abilities and the weirdly horrific deaths in the area from massive radiation exposure.

The taut suspense, complete with a countdown clock to the end of our universe takes the reader for a nonstop ride.  While the magnetic relationship between Ben and Janelle is restrained in sexual description, the “f-word” increases in frequency as suspense rapidly builds.  It is difficult to find novels that maintain a PG rating while meeting the cravings of voracious middle school readers who demand a complex plot.  However, readers caught up in the action might just read through the f-word and that is the extent of the foul language.  A few things nag at me, like Ben’s ability to heal and her freshman brother’s selfish inability to help around the house, but I can’t justify nit-picking minor aspects of a book based on the multiple universe theory. Flawless writing pieces together the story with brilliant pacing; driving the reader to devour each page in the hopes the characters can stop the countdown to the end of our universe.  The ending hints at more to come.  I hope so! 

Digital Galley Review   Publication date  4.24.12

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