Sunday, July 26, 2009

Review: Unwind

by Neal Shusterman
Published: November 6th 2007
335 pages
I give it: (I had a great week in books!)

Description: In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them. Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

My Review: This book is disturbing and amazing at the same time! The idea that your parents can send you away to be "unwound" between the ages of 13-18 is beyond creepy. Once the unwind papers are signed, there is no turning back. Your fate is sealed. But if you can escape until you turn 18, you will then be considered an adult, and old enough to be in control of yourselves. However, it's still a crime to run from your unwind. You'll be kicking-AWOL, but many unwinds prefer the consequences to kicking-AWOL than actually being unwound.

The actual process of unwinding is a mystery throughout the book. What happens when you are unwound? What do feel? Are you actually still alive, or dead? The only thing the characters know for sure, is that when you are unwound, every part of your body is harvested, and sold to those who need/want them. Someone in need of a lung transplant can have one from an unwind, someone who loses a hand, can have an unwind's hand grafted on, and even if one simply want's to change something cosmetic about themselves, they could buy an unwind's eyes, or nose, ect. But I found that all the questions I had were answered by the end.

There are several things in this book that you've never heard of before. What exactly is an "unwind", what in the world is a "clapper" and what do they mean by "Storked"? But Neal Shusterman doesn't leave you in the dark for long!

Instead of chapters, this book consists of different POV's, which I though was a great way to keep the story moving at a fast pace, and I really felt that I could better grasp the personalities of each character, and all of their POV's came together very nicely in the end. I even found myself bawling my eyes out over a character that I hated through the entire book! And the story of Humphrey Dunfee had an "OMG" moment for me! I literally put the book down and shouted "WHAT?!" at one point in the book.

This book definitely questions the sanctity of life. It's neither pro-life nor pro-choice, it has somehow managed to be both, which makes it all the more disturbing. Neal Shusterman has a really twisted imagination, and I absolutely can not wait to read more from him! This is one of my new favorite books!

As for the big question in this book: would you rather die or be unwound? Pick up this book and decide for yourself!


  1. ooo, this sounds like a good one. now i really need to pick this book up to find out all about this unwinding business.

  2. I have mixed feelings about this book. The characters weren't properly realised in my opinion and it felt like it had been written with a movie adaptation in mind. This could be because it's a novel by a screenwriter and he couldn't help presenting the material like it was a film. And the scene that made you cry (THAT scene, for whoever's read the book) made me want to vomit. Shusterman took it too far. I was horrified by the society and sympathetic enough towards the heroes without that scene, so for me it served no purpose other than to shock.

  3. Hi. I noticed you are a new follower of my blog. Just stopping by to check out your reviews.

    I agree with your 5 star rating of UNWIND. It's a scary book that I kept thinking about long after I finished it.