Unwind by Neal Shusterman

December 21, 2011
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When I read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, I was expecting an average science fiction book to tide me over for a while while I looked for a good series to get into. It was much more than that. The book is beautifully crafted and is an excellent read for anyone into the realistic science fiction genre, and good for others as well.

Unwind is a mixed science and realistic fiction book that is set in an earth not too far from the present day. After a disastrous war over abortion between pro-life and pro-choice fighters, a practice called unwinding, where all of someone’s body, organs, and tissue are taken and stored to be reused in someone else’s body has become viable. To end the war it became legal in teenagers, from ages 13 to 18, so that “problem” children, like Connor, can be done away with, even though they are still technically alive. Other times, state homes may not have enough money to keep all of their teenagers alive, so some must be unwound, like Risa. Some religious parents donate 10% of everything to God, even their children, such as Lev, as tithes. Connor, Risa, and Lev are trying to escape from this horrible fate and keep themselves alive until 18, when they can’t be unwound.

The book is excellent because it puts real life issues into interesting settings and plots. For example, the issue of where life actually begins is discussed a lot in the semi-futuristic setting between people who are having their lives taken away from them. This makes it a lot more interesting and even scary to read when you think about it as if you were in that situation. For example, in the middle there is a large conversation about where life begins. Connor asks, “So how come you never give your own [opinion]?” to Hayden. Hayden can’t answer, because he doesn’t know, and everyone realizes that maybe that is what is really true--we just don’t know.

Another intriguing aspect of the book is the unique characters. All of them experience huge development within the course of story, especially Lev. Lev originally wanted to be unwound, as he was being tithed (where someone is raised to be unwound), but by the end he was going to help stop unwinding by means of violence. Connor and Risa both go from being violent and hardened characters to people who are organizing their path to stop unwinding once and for all. For example, near the end of the book, Lev thought, ‘Someone has to pay for the unfairness of it all. Everyone has to pay. He’ll make them,” which notes his huge change from wanting to hating unwinding.

Unwind is an excellent and deep-thinking book, and I highly recommend that you read it.

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HereSheIsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 6 at 1:54 pm
I love that book, and you're doing a great job of spreading the word
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