Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pages: Hardcover, 335
Series: #1, Unwind Dystology
Book Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.
This was a great, thought-provoking read that actually made me tear up a little towards the end. Neal Shusterman gives you the perspective of three very different teens who are all facing the same consequences but for very different reasons.
Could this story have been told from the perspective of just one person? Of course, but I don’t think it would have been so effective on me as a reader. Unwind is a story about controversial subject matter and I think it was successful at not being preachy or patronizing. Ultimately, I think it was written objectively and its purpose was only to get the reader to reflect and think deeper on the subject because clearly, not everything is always black or white. The perspectives of Lev, Risa and Connor (as well as a few others in some chapters) provided the grayness in between so if you don’t empathize or identify with one character, you will with one of the others. Even though they are all going to be unwound, the three of them have very different takes on what it means and how they feel about it.
One of the best scenes of the book is when Neal describes an actual unwinding. It’s not actually gory or described in a particularly gruesome way, in fact it’s a very clinical and sterile process, but that – and the doctors’ flippant attitudes – is what makes it most horrifying. So horrifying I even found myself sympathizing with some of the antagonists in this book.
Although it’s not light subject matter, Unwind is a great page-turner that you can definitely breeze through in a few days. I did!