Saturday, April 6, 2013

Novella Review & Excerpt: Undone

Undone (Unraveling #1.5)
Published By: HarperTeen Impulse
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Page Count: 105 (eBook)
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction

Unraveling was such a fun read. I have been so anxious to continue Janelle and Ben's story. I picked up this little gem as soon as it released. Undone is a series of three short stories from Ben's perspective. I enjoyed getting inside of his head and comparing his perspective to Janelle's.

The first story focuses on Ben before he and Janelle officially become friends. Readers find out why he has such an intense attraction to her and how he deals with his feelings. It was nice to know someone who is so intelligent and can open portals with his mind still has moments of unease and nervousness. That means there is hope for the rest of us.

The second story is mainly about the day that Janelle is hit by the truck and Ben's role in saving her life. This segment a mirror image of the first few chapters of Unraveling except you find out why the truck was barreling down the hill. You also learn more specifically about Ben's healing powers. This segment seemed much shorter than the others. I was okay with that because I already knew what would happen since it was a retelling of the original story. I would suggest not reading past this paragraph if you have not read Unraveling

Finally, the third story is the real reason to snag this compilation. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed all the stories - but this is the one with new information. Ben is finally back in his home dimension and all he wants is to go back to Janelle's world. Everything at home is different. He doesn't truly feel like he belongs anymore and seeing his family isn't enough to make him forget Janelle. Ben is convinced that he has to get back to her; she is home. Things start to get out of control when Eli begins opening portals on his own trying to get back to the life they escaped and both boys notice strange men following them. I won't say more, but this segment is adrenaline filled and really pumped me up for Unbreakable. Luckily, I have an ARC so there will be no down time for me. I'm off to find out what happens next because Undone ends on a HUGE cliffhanger.

This is certainly a little gem you will want to purchase if you're a fan of Elizabeth Norris' series. I'm walking away with a better understanding of Ben and his actions.

One Last Gripe: I would say the length, but I knew these were snippets when I started reading.

My Favorite Thing About The Book: Learning more about Ben

First Sentence: Certain moments in my life are imprinted in my memory.

Favorite Character: Ben

Least Favorite Character: The Bad Guy - you'll know him when you meet him

Before the accident. Before their universes collided. Before they fell in love.

Riveting and romantic, Undone: An Unraveling Novella contains three short stories set in the world of Unraveling, the first book in the gripping sci-fi duology by Elizabeth Norris.

Before Ben Michaels saved Janelle Tenner’s life, Janelle saved Ben when he stumbled through an interuniverse portal into a completely new world. That day, he fell in love with the girl of his dreams. And he never forgot her.

Through three stories told from Ben’s point of view, learn how Ben and his friends discovered their ability to travel between worlds, how Ben first met Janelle, and how he pined for her for years before he actually got the chance to meet her, save her life, and capture her heart. And find out what happens to Ben between the cliff-hanger conclusion to Unraveling and the beginning of its heart-stopping sequel, Unbreakable.

Excerpt (Provided by Authors on the Web)

We came home at night.

For a split second my lungs burned, my skin felt like ice, and then my knees hit concrete hard. Around me everything was dark, but it didn't matter, because all I could see was Janelle. The wind moved through her hair, her eyes wet with tears, her hands dark with blood. Her voice echoed in my head: the quiet desperation in the way she said my name before I left her there. I held onto that moment, willed my mind to burn it into my memory. I didn't want to forget what we’d just been through. I didn't want to forget even a second that I’d spent with her.

It all had just ended in the canyon behind Park Village. Reid was dead. Janelle’s friend Alex was dead. And Eli and I had just left Janelle and portaled home. In the end, what we’d tried so hard to do for seven years, happened in an instant.

My throat was tight. My whole body ached. I didn't want to leave her. I shouldn't have left her, but I had to.

I pushed to my feet and looked around. We were in the middle of a neighborhood street, surrounded by dark sleepy houses.

“Where are we?” Eli said as the wind picked up.

I waited. At first I wasn't sure. Square patches of lawn and small single family homes were everywhere. 
Then I heard the wooden wind chimes.

My chest tightened. That sound. I hadn't realized how much I’d missed hearing it. I turned around, recognizing the oak tree on my parents’ front lawn. It seemed somehow both bigger and smaller than I had remembered it: a tower outside my bedroom window.

“This is my house,” I said. As my eyes adjusted, I picked out the red bricks around the garage, the white front door, the blue aluminum siding, the black shutters on the windows.

“Holy shit,” Eli said. Then he laughed, reached over, and pulled me in a headlock. “This is your house!” he screamed.

A wave of excitement moved through me. This was my house. Those bricks were the ones I cracked my head against when I was seven. I had stolen Derek’s remote control car and he wrestled me to get it back. He pushed me and I fell. That front door, we had repainted it white with my dad. The oak tree was the same as the one I looked out at every night when I went to sleep, the same one I tried to climb. I had hung those wooden wind chimes after making them in school.

Nothing had changed.

wasn't sure how Taylor Barclay knew to send us here. Sure he was some high up Interverse Agent who was policing the universes, but I hadn't expected him to deliver us right to my doorstep. The how and the why didn't matter though. I didn't care.

My parents were inside sleeping in that house right now.

I pulled away from Eli and jogged up the driveway. As I reached the front door, I paused.

“What are you waiting for,” Eli said, reaching out to knock.

I grabbed his hand. “We need to remember this moment,” I said. We’d waited for this moment forever, and now we were finally here. But not all of us. Reid wasn't here, and no matter what he had done or how it had ended, he had been part of this. Janelle and Alex had been a part of it too. We wouldn't have gotten here without them.

Even though it might have seemed ridiculous, we needed to pause and memorize these details. I wanted to be able to tell Janelle about all of it. She loved me enough to know I needed this moment, and I wasn't going to lose that. Our goodbye wasn't forever. I would find a way back to her. I knew that as much as I knew anything. We were both still alive. Just in different places.

I thought about Alex and Reid.

“Reid’s parents,” I said. I wanted to be able to tell them what this moment was like too.

Eli knew what I was thinking. “We can’t tell them what he did.”

I shook my head. We couldn't. They deserved to remember him better than that. We could tell them this though. We could tell them that the night was silent, the darkness almost heavy as if the whole world was asleep. The only sounds were our own excited breaths.

I knocked on the door.

It wasn't like in a movie. A light never flicked on. I didn't know when she was coming. I had to keep knocking, and I had to knock hard, until my knuckles felt numb because of it.

Finally after what seemed like minutes I heard the locks click on the other side of the door.

A woman in a gray long-sleeved shirt and checkered blue and white pajama pants stood behind it. She was tall, her hair cut short around her head.

My mother.

Over seven years. Twenty six hundred and thirty seven days. That’s how long it had been. All of that time had added up to just one single wish: that I would get back to her, that I would see her again. I’d envisioned what she would say to me, what I would say to her.

In the end I didn't need to say anything. She glanced at Eli and then back to me. Her mouth parted, her eyes widened, and she gasped.

I opened my mouth to explain, but she reached through the door, reaching out to my face, as if she wasn't quite sure I was real. Then she started to cry.

I moved in, circling my arms around her, pulling her to my chest. She was smaller and thinner than I remembered. Her skin was soft and papery, and my chest contracted. Those seven years had been long for her.

When she pulled back to look at my face again, she shook her head.

I smiled. “I’m home.”

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