Book: Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Series: Unwind Dystology #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: November 6th, 2007
Date Started: January 20th, 2014
Date Finished: January 26th, 2014
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 is a very unique book. I don’t think that I’ve ever read a book that even comes close to it. I thought it was another dystopian book, but it doesn’t quite fit into that category. The premise of the book alone is unique and its just too difficult to place. I think this is a really good thing and it had me hooked.
This story is about a society that has been created within the United States. There was a civil war in which people fought either for pro-choice or pro-life in terms of abortion. However, in order to satisfy both sides, a bill was passed in which a child that is born cannot be harmed. Rather, when a child turns 13, the parents have a choice to have their child unwound. The parents have until the child turns 18, when they become a legal adult, to make this choice. Being unwound is where a person’s organs are harvested and put to use in someone else. The trick about this bill is that 100% of the person must be used. If a person is used 100%, then the person is not technically dead, and are living in a “divided state” instead. This satisfied both sides of the argument. However, the children are the ones who are left to deal with being casted as an “unwind.” The book doesn’t revolve around one person, but rather several. These characters are escaping their fates and dealing with a society that doesn’t seem them as anything but troublesome and could be put to better use in someone else’s body.
As you can see, this is a very unique story. In my opinion, I believe that this book is a reflection of current day issues that we battle with in our society, specifically the issues of abortion, life, death, the right to live, being pro-choice, and the modernization of medicine. I don’t want you walking away thinking that this book will try to persuade you one way or another, because thats not what the story does. It will leave your own opinions intact. I believe Shusterman did a good job in finding a balance in a delicate issue. This was merely a story about a group of teenagers having to deal with the cards that they have been dealt. For me, what I got out of the story was that the way that our society and government is built, there are many choices that are made for us. Adults have a little bit more of a choice in what happens to them, but for teenagers, they are often found without having an opportunity to voice themselves because they are not labeled as adults. I think what happened in this book was that a group of teenagers fought to have their voices heard. They didn’t go out and start a revolution, but rather they did the best that they could with their situations.
The fact that there were so many characters in the book was both a blessing and a downfall. On one had, as a reader, I was able to get different perspectives on a particular situation. You learned more tidbits from each character as the story went on. The story alternated between the same 3 or 4 characters, so you were able to return to a familiar character. However, because the perspective was continually alternating, I wasn’t able to relate to a character as much. I think I am used to so many books being written in first person. I am able to relate to them, feel the growth, and form a connection with that character. I felt myself having to work a little bit with trying to switch my mindset back to another character.
Another issue I had with Unwind was with the characters themselves. The author stated that the characters were about 13- 16 years old, but they came off as 18 year olds. I sometimes feel that authors will say that their characters are a certain age but then write them to act much older in order to relate to the audience that they are writing for. I know that the prospect and fear of having your organs harvested against your will is going to be a scary experience that changes you, even ages you, but it never seemed like these characters ever had that childlike innocence to begin with.
When I first heard about this book, it seemed really creepy. The cover of the book didn’t help either. I have to say, this book wasn’t that creepy at all. There’s only one scene where I felt creeped out. I’m not going to give that scene away because I feel like you just have to read it in order to know what I mean. I also thought that the book was going to be a little bit more fast paced. The story seemed to drag a little bit in the middle, but the ending made up for it. I especially loved the ending, and I would have been more than okay with that being the ending to the entire story. There are two more books in the story called Unwholly and Unsouled. The cover to Unsouled especially creeps me out!
This book has also been picked up for a movie. The news released back in 2012, but I haven’t heard anything about it since other than it is scheduled to be released in 2015. If I find out any other news, I’ll post it up!
I really liked this book. I have to say, if you decide to read it, don’t expect it to be like a typical dystopian book, because thats not what it is! You’ll just have to dive into the book and prepare for a unique experience.