“Unbreakable” is the sequel to the brilliant “Unraveling” by Elizabeth Norris. In the first book, readers are introduced to Janelle, the protagonist, who is killed in the first chapter.
Obviously, she comes back to life through the extraordinary abilities of Ben, a fellow high school student who also happens to be from an alternate universe. Ben and two friends had accidentally ended up on our Earth, and had become involved in a problem that threatened the destruction of our planet.
At the end, Ben and his friends returned to their universe. Now Janelle misses him each and every day. But things on Earth haven’t returned to normal after the near destruction. Food is scarce, cities are in ruins, and millions have died.
Another problem is that people are disappearing. Janelle helps out at a relief center where people are being kidnapped by an unseen enemy. Taylor Barclay, an agent from the Interverse Agency (kind of an FBI-type group that travels between universes), comes to ask for Janelle’s help in finding Ben. When Janelle learns that Ben may be involved in the kidnapping of humans for a slave ring, she is determined not only to clear Ben’s name but but also to save her friend who was just kidnapped.
The book is exciting and the characters that flow in and out of the different universes are well drawn. The bad guys are really bad. It’s a bit disconcerting (but rather fascinating) when the same character shows up from a different universe with different character traits — including Janelle’s own double.
Another interesting and thought-provoking aspect of the book is the fate of the different universes. Some are uninhabited by people or any animal life because of nuclear explosions. Others have superior technology but still cannot erase poverty and discrimination.
The thoughtfulness and creativity in the story will likely make readers potential fans of any future book Norris writes. She creates memorable protagonists and fascinating plots.
Both “Unraveling” and “Unbreakable” are sure-fire suggestions that will appeal to most young adult readers. They combine action and adventure, romance and science fiction, and questions of loyalty and morality. How far would you go to protect loved ones?
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Balzer + Bray, for review purposes.
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