Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Unwind

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Number of Pages: 335 (paperback)
Date of Publication: June 2, 2009
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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.


Unwind follows is set in a futuristic, dystopian America, wherein any kid in the ages of 13-18 can be retroactively "aborted", by harvesting all of his/her organs and donated to organ banks everywhere. It follows the tragic misadventures of Connor, Lev, and Risa, two Unwinds and a tithe. It is told in a wide array of points of view, all in third person.

Seriously speaking, Unwind gave me the creeps. Well, it is a sci-fi thriller. But it really gave me a good scare. I was voraciously flipping through the pages just to see what happens next. The dynamic action that takes place in this book was so profoundly executed, by the time I reached the conclusion, I hadn't realized that I'd held my breath! I liked Lev's point of view the most, partly because he was introduced to the story as a tithe--someone who was born just to be Unwound. He even had a "tithing party"! Imagine that, celebrating your impending surgical dismemberment? Horrifying. It's also interesting to ponder on Lev's personality shifts. First, his religious beliefs. Well, let's just say that he underwent a huge change in his faith. Also, his growth as a person. By the beginning of the book, we see this lanky, conservative boy in his white tithing robes. By the end, however, you see him in a completely changed form. Trust me, it's worth the read.

The world-building employed by Shusterman was exceptional. It seems that the book was jam-packed with tidbits of information from Post-Second-Civil-War-America, as well as vivid descriptions of the surroundings. It didn't seem crammed into only one place. So many sci-fi terminologies, and yet they were easy to understand. As if the facts were there from the beginning. It also builds up to the tension the reader will experience once he/she got to the really, freaky parts.

Back to the freaky parts. That Roland scene after the clapping? God, I was gripping my seat. Basically, I was reading calmly, but then things started happening to his character, and...... it wasn't a nice sight. And let's not forget about Cy-Fi! His arc was stressful to read! Of course, we have the entire arc of The Graveyard, what happened, internal politics, and the character development by the main protagonists. Really. Moving. Yet devastating.

Ironically though, I found a part in the plot with a rather light subject. It was the scene involving Humphrey Dunfee in the latter parts of the book. It was really happy and it felt like all problems regarding those characters were resolved. But then we cut right back to the macabre and intense reality of Shusterman's world. All was in good faith, though. And it came out excellent at that.

Lastly, the conclusion. Like the original intention of the author, Unwind in itself seemed to be fit to be a stand-alone. But then again, there's more to the entire world that could be explored in the succeeding installments. As before, the conclusion was laid out completely graceful, with the slightest bit of room for improvement.


Because of the extensive utility of the pages of just one book to build the world Shusterman intended, I give this book 5 out of 5 grenades! It's a really engaging, yet mortifying read with lots of action, tons of twists, and a sliver of romance. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a rollercoaster of a read.

About the Author

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers -- such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal's novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.

That's it for this review! Wait. NEWS! Unwind is going to be turned into a MOVIE! Pretty exciting. News about the Unwind film can be found HERE.

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