Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: November 6th, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 335 pages
Source: Purchased & Signed
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Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.I can't even begin to explain all of the feelings that I experienced while reading Unwind. The reality of this desolate world grabbed hold of my heart and wouldn't let go. Neal Shusterman has created an intense story about the horrors of humanity and the lengths people go to in order to survive. I'm still amazed by how real Shusterman's world was to me; I felt as if I was the one being sentenced to unwinding. The idea of unwinding is something I can't even fathom. That someone would sign their child's life away just for causing a bit of trouble astounds me. Unwind approaches the ideas od pro-life and pro-choice with a refreshing and horrifying outlook that will most assuredly have you laughing, crying, and cringing.
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.
The characters were all incredibly real, and they immediately appealed to my emotions. Connor is a leader who has never been given the chance to lead and is sentenced to being unwound by a family who never truly loved him. Risa is a ward of the state who's talented and brilliant, but never had anyone to love her. And Lev has known he was going to be unwound from birth as a sacred sacrifice to God. Even if no one shared their love with these kids, I grew to love all of them. Despite their flaws they were born to be great. We all know what it feels like to have our parents disappointed in us, but to have someone believe so little in you that they choose to let you die is just unnerving. All children in Shusterman's world have to carry the weight of being perfect, or else.
Shusterman's writing is just perfection. I found myself bookmarking several quotes that just tore at my emotions. He understands how to weave the elegance of poetry into prose in order to pull emotions out of the reader. I could barely put this book down because there was always something happening that held my attention until I could barely keep my eyes open. It's no surprise that UnWholly has been so many years in the making, especially when it has to follow something as gorgeous as this. Even the most gruesome parts were beautifully executed. By the end I was left completely satisfied and blubbering like a baby. Even in a world so overly dominated by dystopian novels, Unwind is still refreshing and original.
If you're like me and you still haven't picked up a copy of Unwind after all these years, make sure you get on it. Unwind will have your pulse racing and your heart breaking, but you won't be able to put it down. Even after all these years it still remains original and utterly brilliant. Shusterman's ability to pull you into a story so completely is amazing. Fans of Uglies and The Hunger Games won't be able to resist Unwind.