Tick… tick… boom: three words that describe the looming problem facing Janelle Tenner and her friends in this debut teen thriller. What starts out as a freak car accident causing the (temporary!) death of the story’s heroine ends with a frantic race against a ticking clock to save the world from complete destruction. Sounds like a stretch, but author Elizabeth Norris pulls it off by gradually, seamlessly building her story up from ordinary girl, wrong place, wrong time into something extraordinary. At the heart of the burgeoning catastrophe is the story’s emotional centre: smart, stubborn, generous Janelle. In the midst of unravelling the terrifying mystery, she’s blindsided by her feelings for Ben Michaels, a guy the school yearbook might tag Boy Least Likely To Be Your Soulmate. Mystery, conspiracy, FBI entanglements, fringe science, romance and heart-wrenching tragedy all combine in this page-turner.
Unraveling, Elizabeth Norris, $18.