By Elizabeth Norris
Available 24 April 2012
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
This Blonde’s Review:
Janelle died. She knows she did. One minute she was walking along, the next a truck comes out of no where and hits her. She died. Somehow Ben brought her back. They say you see your life flash before your eyes when you die, but that wasn’t exactly what happened for Janelle. Instead she sees her life the way someone else would have seen it and she feels what that person must have felt watching her. She can’t understand how she’s alive or how she saw what she did.
No one believes that she really died and Ben isn’t talking. Janelle isn’t the daughter of an FBI agent for nothing, so she goes looking for answers.
I enjoyed Janelle and how intelligent she was. I didn’t care for how easily she was swayed when she knew how Ben felt about her. It seemed like she fell in with the idea of Ben because she knew how he felt about her. I would have rather seen her care about him without the certainty that he loved her before she knew he existed. Ben was a stranger to me for the whole of the book. The author draws on the mystery of Ben for the first part of the book, which is to be expected and usually enjoyed. When we were supposed to be learning about Ben and starting to care for him I couldn’t find it in me to care about him. Perhaps it was knowing that he had fallen head over heels for Janelle for seemingly no reason and held onto that while she remained oblivious to him. He felt spineless to me, even though I know it had to take a lot of strength to make it through everything he went through.
Reading the description of this book led me to believe it would be about people with special abilities. And it is, but it isn’t Just that. There is a reason the author gives Janelle’s father a fascination with X-Files and abnormal cases. Seeing the way Ben and his friends handled their situation was a great example of how different people handle a difficult situation. The author did give us plenty of reasons to love Ben, mostly centered around the things he was willing to do to protect Janelle. I just couldn’t accept their relationship as anything real.
I had a few issues with some of the side stories that were included in this book. Some of them felt pointless except to make a minor point later in the story. And the way this one ended drove me Crazy. Was it really going to be that way? After everything she went through, Janelle didn’t get the ending I expected at all. At the same time I respect that the author didn’t give us the easiest and happiest option we could have had. Considering Ben’s choices we knew there was no option for an ending that was perfect. As much as the ending had me wondering What The Heck I also think it was great that the author took the story where she felt it should go instead of where the reader might want.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a good book and I know there are many readers who would enjoy this one. The author explores a theory I haven’t seen much of in young adult fiction and I think it’s a great idea that many will enjoy. I know that my lack of feeling for Ben isn’t going to be the usual response. Despite my concerns about the story I enjoyed reading it and found myself staying up late to find out where she was going to take it.
If you enjoy a strong female lead you’ll enjoy Janelle. If you love a guy who is dedicated to helping the girl he loves even if she doesn’t know he exists you’ll want to read about Ben. If you want to read about how the guy can save the girl and how they can work together to save the world, then you’ll want to read this one. This one has a taste of science fiction but doesn’t go into the science too strong, so it can appeal to those who aren’t usually fans of science fiction but like the concept.