Goodreads Summary: Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.Goodreads / The Book Depository
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?
Genre: Young Adult, Science fiction
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
How I Got It: Library
First Line: "Some days are so perfect, they just don't seem real."
Favorite Quote: "I was here. I lived. I mattered. This is a good way to go."
Contains spoilers for Unraveling, Book 1
When I finished Unraveling not too long ago, I felt like it was an awesome standalone novel. So when I found about about the sequel, I was interested but at the same time wary. Sometimes when a story ends perfectly it makes you wonder what more there could be to say, and if it will just read like a standard filler pointless book. But the summary for Unbreakable is pretty intriguing, and about halfway into it, I knew that it would be just as awesome as its predecessor. I still have issues with these covers; I find them extremely boring, though I guess the fact that there's two copies of each person does make a lot of sense when paired with this story. Still, I wish they were different. It's kind of funny when I actually find myself wishing for cover redesigns when I usually hate them with a passion.
Janelle continues to be a great heroine. At this point she's a little depressed over the deaths of her best friend, Alex and her father, but she's definitely got a lot distractions around to keep her mind off it. Her world has been torn apart and she works hard to help put together food and supplies for the shelter thousands of people are living in after the destruction. In addition to that, she's sad about Ben going back to his own world, not knowing if she'll ever see him again. She gives herself little pep talks once in a while, and has a moment here or there to be upset - which was actually a good thing, it makes her more human - but for the most part, I admired her strength and intelligence.
I had mixed feelings about the return of Taylor Barclay. I found him slightly annoying in the first book with his extreme arrogance, but as Unbreakable progressed I actually started to like him. Mostly because this novel allows us to see a different side of him, the ambitious, smart side that wants to do good and make a difference in the world. Part of me actually wished that Janelle would start having some romantic feelings for them, because it felt like they would be a good couple. I loved their constant bickering, but also the quiet moments when they were comforting each other. View Spoiler
But on the other hand, I definitely appreciated Janelle's loyalty to Ben despite spending a lot of time with another guy. So I'm also pretty conflicted about that. When Ben actually showed up around page 300, I remembered why I liked him. He was so sweet, but not in that boring way a lot boys in the young adult genre are. When Janelle and Ben meet up again, it's not a sweet reunion. They go through the same "we-can't-be-together-because-we're-from-different-worlds" drama, and it got pretty frustrating after a while. I wanted them to just admit that they loved each other enough to overcome the obstacles they faced.
The beginning of Unbreakable does start off a little slow, but once you start to touch on the main plot of the trafficking ring it really picks up. Norris does an excellent job with pacing; the action in both her books is almost constant, making them page turners despite being rather hefty novels. The clock that's slowly ticking down is a nice addition, and it was cool how this whole thing took place in just a little over five days. For some reason, I also liked that Janelle's and Barclay's initial plans didn't work at first, and that they had to come up with different ideas to accomplish their goal. The villain of the story was an awful human being, but pretty believable. To think there are real people like him in the world is a scary thought. The side characters were great - I loved Elijah's sarcasm countered with Cecily's spunk.
I believe this is a two-book series, something I don't come across often, and I'm glad because now I don't have to wait a whole other year for the third one. I've had more than enough cliffhangers to deal with lately. Anyone into science fiction should definitely think about reading these; Norris is an author to watch.
Books in this series
Nick's Book Blog
Sash & Em
Step Into Fiction