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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

UnWholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 352 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
UnWholly (Unwind, #2)
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
*This is the second book in a trilogy; review may contain spoilers if you have not read the first*
Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa — and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp — people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.
Holy wow. UnWholly opens up a whole new can of worms, shedding light on the more complicated aspects of unwinding and creating a shady grey area between both sides. There were characters I wanted to hate just because of what they were or how they thought, but I knew that there was more to it. There were characters I wanted to slap because their choices disregarded their feelings and opinions on unwinding. As much as I loved this book, I struggled to look at things from all perspectives. Shusterman's world has begun to change, as do our beloved characters and the way they view it. While Unwind was a heartbreaking story, one that I loved to no end, UnWholly provides more story lines, more characters, and a complexity that will challenge the way you think.

Connor, Lev, and Risa are still the same amazing characters I grew to love in Unwind, but they're struggling with new issues now. Risa can no longer walk, Connor must rule the graveyard, and Lev has to live with the consequences of becoming the clapper who didn't clap. In addition, we meet Cam, who has been built rather than born, Starkey, the stork who wants to rule, and Miracolina, the tithe who will stop at nothing to be unwound. Each new character adds another layer to Shusterman's story that will make you stop and think about this society that allows teens to become unwound. I had a hard time accepting Cam and I'm not even sure if I do yet. He's been built from the best parts of 99 unwinds, but is that his fault? He's an abomination, but is he really alive? I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that he was okay. Even being compared to Frankenstein's monster paints a picture of death and something unnatural, something that should never have been allowed to live.

The inclusion of propaganda advertisements that discusse the benefits of unwinding is included throughout the story which really messed with my mind. Maybe I'm just gullible or easily persuaded into things, but I started to second guess myself and personal feelings towards unwinding, which I'm sure is exactly what Shusterman had in mind. The writing style is still spectacular, gorgeous, elegant, beautiful, thought-provoking, and all the other gushing things I tend to say about Shusterman. His world-building is amazing, adding levels of complexity in UnWholly that left me unsure about who was right and who was wrong. And by the end, I couldn't hold the emotions in anymore. Shusterman's ability to tug at my heartstrings unwound my feelings and left me an emotional wreck.

If you haven't already picked up Unwind you definitely need to. This series of stories is unlike anything I've ever read. Shusterman's ability to create a world so horrifying, yet so complicated is remarkable. After finishing this one I cannot wait to get my hands on whatever is coming next! Be warned, this book will have you second guessing yourself and our beloved characters. I loved the inclusion of advertisements because it makes the world all the more real and makes the ideas of unwinding, and why people fell for them, so much easier to understand. If you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games and Uglies this is definitely one you're not going to want to miss!!


  1. I only read the last paragraph of your review since I haven't read the first book. This sounds like an amazing book though. I will have to check out Unwind!!

  2. I really like stories that open up my mind, and change my ways of thinking! You seemed that you reaallly enjoyed this! Maybe i should really check it out! Lovely review Anna!
    - Farah @ Maji Bookshelf

  3. Your review is INCREDIBLE and I'm so excited to see all the twists and turns of this one. I'm curious to the changes from the world. Cam sounds like an interesting character, a Frankenstein? Hm! I can tell how much you love this one. ;)

  4. I LOVED Unwind with a passion. Such an incredible book. I'm so glad that the sequel didn't disappoint. I ordered this book along with Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh with a B&N gift card offline so I'm anxiously waiting for it to be delivered. So glad you enjoyed this book!

  5. I haven't read Unwind yet, but I did read this review of the second book and it sounds like a series that I could really like. I always see Unwind and the cover is definitely striking but for some reason I never pick it up. Great review Anna.

  6. You're the only other person (besides me) that I've seen review Unwholly. And I believe the Unwind series is one of those few that aren't well known but people are totally missing out on...

    I loved this book along with the first. And reading your review just helped remind me of that.

  7. I met Neal and his daughter a couple of months ago, but didn't connect him with his titles. (I know, I know...I've been living in a cave.) I've been wanting to read UNWIND and will now definitely read it and UNWHOLLY. What they are talking about is important for us now. Thanks for an amazing review and especially for sharing your thoughts on how the ads in the book affected you. I imagine that's exactly what he was after.


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