Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Series: Unwind Dystology #1
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction | Dystopia
Length: 384 pages
Published on 2nd June 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Neal Shusterman: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook
Copy bought as part of a box set via Amazon
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.
I read Unwind with my online book club last year as part of a series read-a-long, some of the members did great and finished the whole thing which they enjoyed. I however also started working around this time and lost my reading flow so I only read the first book but I loved it and intend to finish the series this year.
As its been a little while since I finished this book the review wont be super in depth, which is also a good thing because its a book you definitely need to experience for yourself.
Unwind first came on my radar when a few years back Nia reviewed it here because it sounded super interesting so I was super happy when my book club voted it in as the series to focus on in our read-a-long.
The book was fairly easy to get into, the whole process of Unwinding and how it was even an accepted thing was more than enough to make you want to keep reading but luckily the book also provided interesting characters who were full of depth.
I don’t believe there was anyone I didn’t enjoy reading about. There are 3 main characters; Connor, Lev, and Risa.
Connor who secretly knows he’s going to be unwound and escapes the day before, Risa who is a ward of the state and due to budget cuts wil be unwound, and finally Lev, who’s a tithe which means he’s from a religious family who want to unwind him as a way to give back to god and he grows up knowing this and looking forward to it.
The story these three face together and apart is really great to read as Shusterman focuses on each of them the right amount so you truly get to know them as individuals, the feelings and emotions that make these characters who they are.
This great portrayal of characters isn’t diminished when they’re together nor with any of the others you meet and that’s what I really enjoyed about this book – the story is held together with strong characters and it’s impossible to not feel a connection to them.
The horrors they face knowing they’re illegally alive and running to keep themselves whole are pretty intense but equally so there are some nicer parts of the story too.
I think another aspect this book does so well is it gets you to think about your views on abortion, religion, and politics in a way that doesn’t feel suffocating. There is a good balance too because I’m not sure what Shushterman’s views are on these, he doesn’t try and make you think only one view is right, he simply presents a dystopian stories with these issues being at the center and allows you to ponder on where you stand with them in this world he’s created but in our own too.
There is one scene that stands out too me, even after all this time, but I don’t particularly want to talk about it as I think its a very important scene that you have to read for yourself. Everyone I’ve spoken too who has read this agrees its an intense scene that will stay with you for a while and to me it shows Shustermans great ability of writing, imagination, and research.
Overall, you should definitely read this book and perhaps even the rest of the series.
I look forward to continuing this series.