On November 16, 2021, Unraveling Eleven will be released into the world. You might be wondering: what’s that? Well, it’s a book, first of all. More specifically, a YA dystopian romance with crossover appeal into the adult market. Also, it’s the second book in the Eleven Trilogy. That’s right—trilogy. The first book, Escaping Eleven, was released a year ago, and the third and final book, Ending Eleven, will be released Fall 2022. So. That makes Unraveling Eleven—the middle book.
The middle book, as in…the middle child? Well, it got me thinking…
In order to analyze something so ridiculous, we first need to take a look at some popular stereotypes attached to the infamous, fabled, notorious middle child. Did you know that apparently they’re attention seekers? People pleasers, too. Oh, and they evidently have a hard time finding their place in the world, no big deal.
Supposedly the middle child doesn’t get as much attention as the prized first born or the ‘baby’ of the family, and so these kids act out. Big actions, big emotions, and all to get people to notice them. Okay, sure—but do the same attributes apply to Unraveling Eleven?
Yes! Unraveling Eleven was birthed into the world consciously aware that it was in a less than optimal position, stuck in the middle. Its job wasn’t to lay the groundwork for a thrilling trilogy, or to introduce a brand new world and awesome characters. Its job also wasn’t to wrap everything up, drawing the trilogy to its stirring conclusion, and imparting lasting wisdom along the way. Nope—instead, its job was to push the story forward while staying true to the world-building in Book One. Its job was to set the stage for Book Three’s finale, while still providing plenty of fresh action, adventure, and intrigue. So, how did Unraveling Eleven go about accomplishing such a lofty task?
By attention seeking, of course. Big actions, big emotions. And, if Eve was in a precarious position in Book One, just wait until you see her here. She and Wren continually risk their lives to uncover dangerous truths about the compound, about the world aboveground, even about Wren’s own family! In other words, the stakes have been seriously raised, and I can’t think of anything more attention-seeking than that.
Oh, apparently middle children are people pleasers, too. Being assailed with competing views must mean the task of making everyone happy falls on their shoulders. Well, do you know what else attracts a lot of competing views? Romance, and guess what Unraveling Eleven does about that?
It sets out to make everyone happy, and not by sending up roses—far from it. By giving people want they really want—drama. In other words, Eve and Wren see their relationship tested like never before. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, does go wrong, and it sends Eve for a tailspin into a very dark place. Such a dark place that she risks losing Wren…forever. Oh, don’t worry—there’s plenty of flirtatious moments, jealous moments, hot moments, annnd a bunch of moments in between. A little bit for everyone. In other words, a people pleaser.
But what about the notion that the middle child has a difficult time finding their place in the world? That they’re constantly bombarded with the ultra-responsible first child, and the uber-charming third child, leaving them feeling…displaced?
Well, at first glance, Unraveling Eleven knows its place—of course it does. It’s a descent into darkness! A test of love! A dangerous battle to discover the secrets of a tyrannical regime! Plus, it’s full of high stakes, big problems, and all the feelings. So, yes—it knows its place. Or does it?
Because, guess what? The first book, Escaping Eleven, took place mostly underground. The third book, Ending Eleven, will take place mostly aboveground. And this book? Well, Unraveling Eleven takes place somewhere in between. Partly underground, partly above. Back and forth, up and down. Almost like—
Maybe the second book in a trilogy really is like a middle child, and—more importantly—maybe that’s okay. Because some of Unraveling Eleven’s best features are distinctly rooted in middle child territory. Pick up a copy and see for yourself! I promise—it’s an attention-seeking, people-pleasing thrill ride that you’ll surely love as much as the middle child in your life.
Or maybe even a little bit more.
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