Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unwind (Unwind Trilogy # 1) by Neal Shusterman Review

Name: Unwind (Unwind Trilogy # 1)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers  
Release Date: November 6th, 2007
Format: Hardcover
335 pages

Summary: 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.

My Review:

Thisslightly disturbing book may have taken a few chapters to get into, but once Ifinished reading it I could not get the idea out of my head.  Neal Shusterman created a perfectly plausibleyet horrifying book about children between the ages of thirteen and eighteenwho are “unwound,” meaning that they are cut apart and their body parts aretransplanted into other human beings, thus preventing their lives from trulyending.

Thisbook capitalizes on the statement that parents always say to their children: “Ilove you all equally”.  However, in Unwind, if a child is too rowdy ordifficult to control, parents can simply choose to unwind them; after all, if100% of their body is reused, the parents aren’t truly killing their own fleshand blood, are they?  If an extraordinaryhuman being has a heart attack, wouldn’t it be more prudent for that person to be given the heart of a young child whowould have amounted to virtually nothing? These pressing questions are always in the minds of the people ofShusterman’s world.

Unwind follows Connor,Risa, and Liv as they make their treacherous journeys to safety.  Neal Shusterman did a great job of creatingrealistic characters, each not without their own flaws.  I am always slightly annoyed when authorscreate heroes and heroines in their books that appear to be perfect in everyway.  Shusterman, however, really accentuatedhis characters’ flaws, especially Connor’s propensity for fighting, in a waythat made them seem even more authentic and relatable.

Onepart of the story that bothered me was the forced aspect of Connor and Risa’srelationship.  In the beginning, Risa hada brilliantly snarky attitude, especially towards Connor, which simplydisappeared when she began falling for him. It seemed to me as though Shusterman merely said to himself, “Connor isa boy.  Risa is a girl.  Why don’t they fall in love?”

Connorand Risa’s relationship notwithstanding, Unwindwas an excellent book that I would definitely recommend.  However, if you are just looking for a quick,fun read, I have to warn you that this book is not for you; the disturbingnature of Shusterman’s world and the questions that arise from it are likely tostay with you for quite some time.

My Rating:


  1. For me, Unwind is one of the best dystopian ever! So excited for the release of the sequel though I don't think a sequel is really necessary, but I'm still so excited! Aw, too bad Connor and Risa's relationship didn't work out well enough for you. I loved their relationship and I think the change of her attitude toward Connor came from the fact that they were sort of forced to rely and trust each other. They became sooo close and boom! Love. <3

    Thanks for sharing your thoughtful review!

  2. I read Unwind last year and thought it was great! I didn't know it was part of a trilogy. Now I have two more books to look forward to!

  3. Great review! I love love LOVED this book! Someone at my college was taking an English class and said it was required reading and highly recommended it, and I'm so glad I read it! It really makes you think about the value of life and abortion. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!

    Kaitlin @ Read. Write. Love.


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