***Unravelling was unlike any other book I’ve ever read. It was exhilarating and utterly captivating – and that was just the first few chapters. A book that begins with the main character dying and being brought back to life presents big expectations, after all, where can it possibly go from there? Norris certainly delivers, presenting a wild and fast-paced debut which will leave you desperate for the sequel (but in a good way, I promise there’s no cliffhanger). Janelle Tenner is bought back to life after being hit by a truck at the beach, but this is only the beginning of a deep and absolutely terrifying mystery which will jeopardise not only Janelle’s life, but the entire world. At 445 pages this is by no means a light book, yet there wasn’t a time when I felt like I was reading that many pages, such was the pacing of Unravelling. Personally, I loved the fact that each of the chapters was quite brief, headed by the countdown timer. I began reading this during a very busy time at uni and, as someone who likes to get to the end of a chapter before putting a book down, I felt that I could make progress even when I only had five minutes free to read. I’m not sure if everyone will have the same reaction as I did, but for me this was brilliant. Janelle was a fantastic protagonist and I loved her eclectic taste in T-shirts, but what I loved more was seeing the relationships she had with her brother and father. Parents don’t usually get much of a look-in in YA novels and it was refreshing to see that, not only was Janelle’s dad featured more than most, the relationship between them was, for the most part, positive. However, Norris didn’t shy away from the complicated aspects of this relationship and explored them in greater detail in the latter half of the novel. The same can be said for Janelle’s relationship with her brother, Jared. I loved the little exchanges between them and felt it really helped me to understand Janelle’s motivations as a character more. I also loved seeing the relationships Janelle had with her best friend Alex and the mysterious Ben. I held my breath for a long time wondering if there would be a love-triangle, but thankfully Norris kept Alex and Janelle’s friendship purely platonic. In terms of Janelle’s blossoming romance with Ben, I felt like the pacing was right. I also thought their first date was really, really gorgeous (although, until that moment, I wasn’t really interested or convinced about them as a couple) Unravelling was an enthralling and unique mystery, with a fascinating sci-fi twist and characters I loved (and possibly got too attached to). Norris’ no-nonsense writing style was refreshing and has me eagerly anticipating the next instalment in Janelle’s story. P.S. I also loved the fact that Alex’s mum cooked vegan and gluten free food, especially as Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds sent me this book and included some really delicious vegan chocolates. Thanks Mandee!
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for providing a copy of the book for review.