Series: Unraveling # 1
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 24, 2012
Genres: Science Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.
And that was before she died... and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.
Janelle is a normal teenager until she is run down by a car and somehow brought back to life by Ben, one of the “stoner guys” at her school. She’s not sure if she somehow hallucinated Ben’s act, but Janelle is like a bulldog after a bone, a trait she likely inherited from her father, an FBI department head, and she won’t rest until she figures out exactly what happened. As she pokes and prods at Ben, she soon realizes that she may not have pegged him and his friends correctly.
We’re told in the synopsis of a countdown to the earth’s destruction, and each chapter begins with the amount of time remaining and adds to the sense of urgency. A couple of bizarre and grisly deaths somehow seem tied to the coming apocalypse, and Janelle believes that discovering the connection is key to warding off the planet’s demise. Janelle recruits followers to her amateur investigative team, all while staying out of the crosshairs of the FBI (including her own father) who are also looking for answers.
As much as I enjoyed it when Janelle out on her P.I. fedora, it was hard to believe that she could continually get away with subverting the FBI’s authority and jeopardizing their case. It was also hard to believe that her FBI department head father would be so careless and sloppy with his computer and safe (which contained a gun) passwords. But this was necessary to move the plot along, and you just have to set it aside to enjoy the story. And enjoy it I did, even when what Janelle and co. discovered was difficult for me at times to understand. This was no fault of the writing, however, which was intelligent, exciting, and always lots of fun.