Today I'm positively giddy to be a part of the promotional tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours for Elizabeth Norris's outstanding young adult sci-fi novel, Unbreakable (releases today!). I couldn't have loved book one, Unraveling, any more if I'd tried, so I was a little nervous entering into this sequel that it wouldn't live up to the extraordinarily high bar set by its predecessor. I shouldn't have worried in the least though, as Unbreakable is every bit as epic as Unraveling was, and I'm thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Norris back to the blog today to answer a few questions!
When traveling to another universe, it’s entirely possible to run into your own double – someone who could simply look exactly like you but not share any of your personality traits, or they could be nearly identical to you in every way. What’s one trait or quirk you possess that would instantly tip your family and friends off that your double wasn’t the real you should they not have it?
I have a couple things that I say quite often. They’re not quite catch phrases but they’re definitely me. One is “shocking!” which I say sarcastically when I am most definitely not shocked. (Yeah, so that piece of Janelle is completely me). I also am incredibly shy in front of people I don’t know, but really outgoing with my friends and family. But actually the dead giveaway, I think, would be my dogs. I have a lab mix—or a brown dog, as we refer to her—and I found her when she was just a few weeks old. I even fed her a bottle the first few weeks I had her, and she’s insanely attached to me (she lies by the door when I’m gone and waits for me to come back, even if I’m gone for a week or more). I think somehow she would just know that my double wasn’t me.
If you were to come face to face with one of your doubles, what’s the first question you would ask them?
I would want to know everything about them, but specifically everything about their family. My family went through a lot of struggles when I was growing up, some of them tougher than others, and I spent a lot of time (especially as a teenager) wishing little things had been different. I’m not close with my dad, and that’s something that I’ve struggled with. I would want to know how my double’s childhood had taken shape, what her relationship with her dad was like and then I’d try to figure out if she made different choices that resulted in a different outcome.
You’re helping Cecily to organize movie night. What are your top two choices for the showing?
Pride and Prejudice because it’s one of those movies I can watch over and over again, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I just got it on Blu Ray.
A portal is opening next to you right this second and you decide to be adventurous and step through despite not knowing the destination. Describe what you hope to find when you emerge on the other side.
Right this second, I’d be hoping to end up somewhere warm, where people are friendly and I can get really good food. In fact, in my idea portal jumping experience, I’d end up here.
Janelle is loyal, fiercely determined, and extraordinarily strong emotionally. What has writing her character taught you about yourself?
She definitely gets her loyalty and fierce determination from me. I’m not that tough emotionally—or at least I didn’t think I was when I started writing. So Janelle was tough when I couldn’t be. While I was writing Unraveling and Unbreakable, I was diagnosed with a (thankfully) very treatable form of cancer. (I’m totally healthy now). Writing Janelle and forcing her to be strong while saving the world, helped me become a stronger person in a way.
Given Unbreakable is written from Janelle’s point of view, we get to see the various ways she envisions her reunion with Ben going, but we don’t have that same access to him. During the months of their separation, what did Ben dream the first words out of his mouth would be when he saw her again?
In his heart, Ben always knew he’d see her again. He knew he would get back to her somehow. Even though he didn’t know exactly how he’d manage that, there were never any doubts that he’d make it happen. Because he was a little more in control of the situation, he missed her, but he wasn’t quite as stressed. Because he’s a guy, he didn’t really think about the specifics of what he’d say—more that he’d just pull her into his arms. If things had played out differently in Unbreakable (as in, less stressful), he would have kissed her first and then said, “Hi, I’m back.”
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Young Adult/Sci Fi
Balzer + Bray
Received from publisher for review
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.
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?
Unbreakable is the literary equivalent of a roller coaster, the first chapter or so a slow build as we try and remember all the details of Unraveling, stomachs fluttering with nervous anticipation before we suddenly top the crest of the hill, hover briefly, and then plummet. From the minute Barclay shows back up in Janelle’s world we barely get a moment to breathe, hearts pounding and breaths coming out in shallow pants as our fear for Janelle’s safety is matched only by our desire to see her reunited with Ben, the two feelings combining to ensure our fingers fairly vibrate with the need to turn the pages faster.
Janelle is as capable and level-headed as we remember, never prone to bouts of dramatic behavior or great emotional fluctuations, instead she remains steadfast and strong, aware of her ultimate goal and willing to do whatever needs to be done in order to achieve it. Though Ben is absent for the first half of this book, we don’t feel any flashes of the frustration that sometimes arises when a couple is separated in a sequel (though we certainly want them together), a surprising reaction due in large part to the beauty of Janelle’s character. She doesn’t need Ben in order to function, nor is she incomplete without him, and while her love for him is a rich and palpable thing, we are content to spend our time simply with her because she is so comfortable in her own skin.
Ms. Norris delights yet again with Unbreakable, the action of Janelle’s desperate search for information to help clear Ben’s name perfectly balanced with quiet and deeply heartbreaking moments as she has no choice but to question the love she thought to be impervious to any doubt. I honestly can’t recommend this series highly enough.
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Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray, April 2012), is the story of one girl's fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming. Also the film rights to Unraveling have been optioned by MTV!
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Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on this tour for more interviews, reviews and guest posts!
4/15/2013 - All Things Urban Fantasy
4/16/2013 - Two Chicks on Books
4/17/2013 - A Book and a Latte
4/18/2013 - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads
4/19/2013 - Shortie Says
4/22/2013 - Katie's Book Blog
4/23/2013 - Supernatural Snark
4/24/2013 - Justin's Book Blog
4/25/2013 - Tales of a Ravenous Reader
4/26/2013 - Fiktshun