Ah, the reread. So, here's what happened. I was on a plane, east coast to west coast, and I had just finished reading Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy in hour 1 (it was awesome, btw) and I needed something to take up the remaining 4 hours...enter e-reader. I had downloaded the sequel to Unraveling and thought I would try that, but upon opening Unbreakable I realized I had no idea 1. What was happening 2. Why there was a snack shack or 3. Who the hell Cecily was. Thus begins the series that I am now titling: Reread for Sequel: Tertiary characters need love too.
As luck would have it, (I'm not sure that phrase actually has anything to do with what I'm about to say, but it's earlyish here, I've not had enough coffee, yet. Here, let's just put in a place holder and I'll come back)*NTS:add eloquent, clever, funny, paragraph transition phrase here*, I hadn't yet written a review of my first pass on Unraveling, so here goes.
This one took me by surprise, what's more, it did it again with this second pass. I've noticed some of my favorite YA books, the ones that frequently require a preemptive reread prior to sequel release (or I'm just getting dotty in my dotage, *rim shot*) lose some of their steam upon the reread, not so, Unraveling. This is still a great read. Janelle, J, is a solid protagonist, who's neither a push over nor a complete know-it-all. Alex, Stutz, Ben (le sigh), Jared, Cecily (hey, I remember you! kinda. ok, not at all really, sorry C) make up a good cast. The action is still very tight, romance is swoon-worthy, the angst is uber-angsty. What really struck me on this second go around is how much stronger the characterization is than what you see in some other YA works right now. There is still the intensity, but when you remove the rabid "I must know what happens NOOOOOOWWWWW" read of the first go, you get a real look into how this crazy situation affects the characters and how the characters interact with each other in real ways.
There were certainly still things that bugged: J and Alex "solving" FBI cases (really? ok, Junior in HS, that's adorbs! *pats on head*); the ever UNpresent parents of YA fiction; dreamy, broody boy (le sigh), but that said, Norris does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life, in a multifaceted way, so when the tropes enter, you give them a pass. There's a reason tropes are tropes, after all.
Here's the thing, usually on the second pass the tropes really, piss me off. I know what happens, so I'm less focused on, well, what happens, so I notice the scenery more. Here, the scenery here is solid. So, if you've not given Unraveling a try, I strongly recommend it.
So, now I'm ready, bring on Unbreakable! (Cecily, hey girl! Wait, who the fuck is Kevin Collins, crap!)