Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Tags: YA, dystopia, sci-fi, abortion issues, religion

In an alternate (or future) United States, the Heartland War between pro-life or pro-choice parties has been fought, and one of the compromises that the people have come up with is unwinding: any teen between 13 and 18 can be signed over by their parents to the government, to be "unwound" into parts for other people's bodies. It's not death, they say, because you remain in divided parts. But is it really living?

Connor is a troublesome teen whose parents are having him unwound. Risa is an orphanage at the overcrowded state home that is planning to cut costs by having a number of kids unwound. And Lev is a tithe--born and raised to fulfill his role of being an Unwind, and thus giving back to his god and the community.

The three teens are thrown together in a desperate adventure to save their own lives--and, eventually, the lives of thousands of other Unwinds. But the journey they must make is a dangerous one, one that can fall apart at any second through betrayal or bad luck. How much can they possibly do to undermine the system that threatens to dismantle them?

Unwind takes on a variety of challenging topics that to this day still have no clear answer: abortion, how to deal with unwanted pregnancies, religion, and the existence of souls. Thankfully, it provides no cut-and-dry answer to these issues, and instead presents them in a thrilling and approachable novel. While I was not particularly impressed by Shusterman's writing style (too much telling and not enough showing), the characters--especially Connor and Risa, but even some of the secondary characters--come across as strong, unique, and appealing. They are good protagonists for readers to follow in this book that will most certainly leave an impression on you.

You'll like this if you also like...
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games)
Michael Grant (Gone)
Margaret Peterson Haddix

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. Ok I have no clue why I don't own this book yet. It sounds amazing.

  2. I LOVE this book. I really do. It's such a unique idea, and a quite disturbing one at that!

  3. I read this and loved it. Reviewed it, too. This was my first Shusterman novel. I intend to read more of his work. You might want to check out Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butlter.

    Enjoyed reading your review. Thanks.

  4. Steph,

    I'm tagging you for an Alpha meme. Lenore of Presenting Lenore tagged me for a meme where you list ten things that you love that start with an assigned letter.

    Please list 10 things you love that start with the letter R.

    You can read my responses at Black-Eyed Susans.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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