Friday, September 13, 2013


Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This is a book that was lent to me by a friend that I had already heard mixed recommendations about.

After reading it, I can understand why, however, I did find the book to be very enjoyable in the sense that events in the earlier portions of the novel were explained through other events later in the novel.

Some parts of it were just plain creepy.

After checking out his Amazon page, I realized that I had quite a few of his books while I was growing up. Some of them I recall enjoying were: THE SCHWA WAS HEREDREAD LOCKSRED RIDER'S HOODDUCKLING UGLYTHE SHADOW CLUB, and THE SHADOW CLUB RISING. I guess I was an unknowing Neal Shusterman fan.

I'm glad that even though I've gotten a bit older, I can still have a mixed sense of like for his novels.

An amazon summary to get me more back on track, "In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The formatting of this book was very interesting for me both as a reader and as a writer. The chapters were marked more by who had the narration currently, but the book was also broken into seven different parts. I think I was most thrilled by the story telling and how the book set out with the three main characters, but didn't hesitate to jump to perspectives that were still important by other characters within the book. I think it gave more of a complete picture of the world of the novel while still accomplishing so much of the three main characters story.

I acknowledge that this is a book series, and there is plenty more to be read about this world, but I rather like how this one ends, so I don't think this will be a series I pursue. I am content to know what I do about the story. This is also rare for me, and at some point my curiosity might get the better of me, but for now I remain content.

The premise starts with the USA having a second civil war and ending the war by enacting the bill of life. The bill of life introduces the process of unwinding, where after a human has reached the age of thirteen, they are allowed to be retroactively 'aborted'. Unwinding consists of using 99.44% of the human as an organ donor of sorts; however they have to use nearly everything on the body. Entire arms can be grafted onto another person, organs of any sort can be transplanted, and the possibilities are almost limitless.

Our three main characters are all sent to be unwound for different reasons. Connor is an unruly, disobedient child that his parents have just had enough of. Risa is a ward of the state who is not a good enough investment to further her education or skills to warrant her expenses. Lev is a tithe who for religious reasons, will be unwound.

The book truly begins it's chaotic travel through the world when Connor unleashes some chaos on a highway while he attempts to escape his unwinding sentence.

What was more interesting for me was the different political and social dynamics that took place.

The writing lent itself to teach lessons or to show what happens rather than deliver a long lecture. It opens up to the impossible to discover what could be possible, and offers glimmers of hope.

There can be change where there should be change, and hopefully it will happen for the better (that kind of deal).

I'm a little at odds what else to say about the book for as much excitement and adventure it had, it was also an in depth analysis of human nature at the same time.

It was just fascinating.

I'm not sure that I would recommend it to just anyone, but I would recommend it to anyone who has a remote interest in how science can shape humanity, perhaps for those who have read Starters by Lissa Price?

Happy reading!

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