Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris (June 2012, Harper Collins Children's Books, ISBN: 000746021X)
Review: It's the end of the summer holidays and seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner has just finished her last life-guarding shift. When she gets to her car, she find it's been graffitied and two tyres are slashed. She knows it's the work of the ex-girlfriend of Janelle's maybe boyfriend Nick.
Mid phone-call to her best friend and neighbour Alex, Janelle is run over by a truck coming from nowhere. She dies. For a few seconds. Then Ben Michaels heals her, though he later denies it and no-one will believe her. Ben Michaels has been in her classes for years but why has she never noticed how smart and gorgeous he is, until now?
Janelle's father and uber X-Files fan is a high ranking FBI agent in San Diego and Janelle and Alex often secretly go through his files at home. While she is trying to find out information on her accident - where did the truck come from with its unidentified and dead driver - she discovers that what is probably a bomb counting down, with 24 days left, and the FBI cannot disarm it.
Janelle and Alex do their own research into the bomb and a series of deaths from radiation and Janelle also gets closer to Ben and his two closest friends and finds out their secrets.
A shocking incident raises the stakes for Janelle and it becomes difficult for her to know whom she can trust...
It's best not to know too much about the plot going into Unravelling. If I had to give it a strap-line, I'd say very loosely Veronica Mars meets Roswell, with a strong female lead investigating together with a romance of the intensity of Roswell's Max and Liz (as well as a similar beginning to their romance). As well as it being an action packed race against the clock, there are a couple of heartbreaking and unexpected moments which really got to me. The guideline on the back is 13+ and maybe I'm overreacting but this could be quite an upsetting read for some teenagers. I rattled through Unravelling; there are quite a few short chapters amongst the longer ones which keeps the pages flipping over. There are plenty of surprises and Janelle is a great character, clever, witty and capable and I loved her relationship with Ben.
The sequel, Unbreakable is scheduled for April 2013 and I'm looking forward to it.