Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Series: Unwind Dystology #1

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 6 2007

Pages: 335

Format: Paperback

Source: twas a gift, dahling

Rating: 5 stars


Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.


When you look at the cover and synopsis of Unwind, it looks pretty darn creepy. Like, horror movie creepy. If you’re considering this book because of its horror, you might be sort of disappointed. Although the premise that teens can have all their organs taken out and retransplanted into someone else is chilling, the book as a whole isn’t really like that. The book follows Connor, Lev, Risa, and several other unwanted children in their escape from the twisted laws that are in place.

Although the book leaves you with a pretty good idea of each character’s fate, it leave soooooo many questions. Questions the author himself doesn’t know the answer. The point of the book is obviously not the characters’ stories, but the super deep questions behind unwinding. Are you really alive when your body parts have been scattered? What would happen to your consciousness? Would it be as if you had died normally, or would you exist in each of the people who took an organ? Is unwinding any better or worse than abortion? These questions are discussed briefly by the characters, the Neal Shusterman’s purpose was probably only for us to think about it ourselves. Aaaand now I have a headache.

The characters were beautifully written. Connor and Lev in particular were excellent examples of character development. The only character I really had a problem with was Roland. His evilness seemed exaggerated. Perhaps I’m missing the point of his character, I don’t know.

I feel like Connor and Risa’s relationship was realistic. No insta-love here, folks. It was very refreshing to read a book where that wasn’t shown as one of the problems that needed to be resolved. I find it funny how some other dystopian books can have characters that are in mortal danger constantly, but still find time to stress over their love life. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were trying to escape from a bunch of crazy doctors that wanted to sell my kidneys, I wouldn’t be too concerned about whether a certain boy liked me or not. Priorities, people.

Like I said earlier, the whole book isn’t that creepy. But the part that was really was. I read it late last night and had trouble sleeping because of it. A+ for horror writing. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to write a scene like that.

I would recommend Unwind to someone who is interested in the genre of creepy YA, but still deciding whether they really want to read it or not. It gives you a piece of adventure/dystopian fiction with a little taste of scar-you-for-life near the end, almost like it’s teasing you with it. It left me wanting to explore Neal Shusterman’s writing a little more, but probably not the Unwind Dystology. I’m satisfied with the way the story ended and I’m afraid the next book will spoil it.

~Cheshire Cat. Rawr.


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