3/06/2009

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

It's not every day you read a book that officially makes it to the top of the list of "best books I've ever read." But for me, Unwind by Neal Shusterman did just that.

The sci fi-slash-horror story-slash-adventure-slash-romance tale takes place a few generations in the future, after a second civil war in which Pro-Life and Pro-Choice armies battled over the abortion issue. The war ended in a stalemate, and a new compromise was made: All babies had to be delivered and raised to age 13. However, between the ages of 13 and 17, parents could choose to "abort" their children by having them "unwound"--a process in which all of the organs are harvested and donated to hospital patients. In other words, 100% of the "unwind" stays technically alive, just in a divided state.

And although the process sounds shocking and unbelievable, in the story, it has become a common and accepted part of American society. Unwind follows three runaway "unwinds": Conner (who's being unwound because his parents think he's a troublemaker), Risa (a ward-of-the-state who's being unwound to cut costs), and Lev (who was promised to be an unwind at birth as a part of his family's religion, and who has been brainwashed to believe that unwinding is okay because it helps people). And when the government is desperate for organ donors, they will stop at nothing to find runaway unwinds and make sure they don't escape their fate. Lucky for Conner, Lev, and Risa, a secret society of runaway unwinds is just around the corner...if they can only survive to make it there.

Although Unwind is thoroughly packed with action from start to finish, that's not the only reason I loved it so much. In a YA room full of Cliques and Gossip Girls. Unwind really makes the reader think about deep, life-or-death issues. Like, who has the right to say when someone's life is going to end? Is it really okay to commit an act like murder in the name of religion? How far can you go in order to "protect the greater good?" And which is better: aborting thousands of babies that someone could have loved, or having an orphanage full of thousands of babies that no one loves? Unwind explores all of these and many more. Throughout the main story, Neal Shusterman intertwines many different subplots that get you thinking about the values in America and the value of your own life. There's even some laughworthy satire thrown in here and there. I'm warning you now, it's extremely intense, and many of the ideas suggested in the book may upset you. But if you're looking for some meaningful, thought-provoking reading that really changes the way you look at life, death, and your place in the world, then I strongly consider Unwind.

I definitely give this book the full 5 out of 5 daggers.


Misty

9 comments:

Ink Mage said...

I've seen a lot of reviews for this around, but yours is the first that's made me want to read it.

biblauragraphy said...

This was such an amazing book! I agree - I love a book that has both the non-stop action and the thought-provoking ideas.

Em said...

This makes me think a little bit of The Host by Stephenie Meyer...just the runaway science victims part. Sounds like a really interesting book. I'll have to check it out. :)

Gabriel Gethin said...

I love thought-provoking books. This book sounds really amazing. I bet, in 50 years, teens will be reading this book in English class because the pro-life pro-choice issue has gotten to a point just like the one in the book. It'll be like Fahrenheit 451. The way that 50 years ago, Ray Bradbury predicted the decline of reading books and the rise in censorship. Our currect society isn't nearly as intense as the one in Fahrenheit but it certainly shares some qualities.

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The Book Bitch said...

Unwind is excellent. Problem was I was reading it at school, and my teachers kept yelling at me to PUT THE BOOK DOWN OR ELSE MISS BOOK BITCH!" :\ Guess you can never win.

And also, your blog is made of awesome.

Amy said...

great review! this is a book i majorly need to read, and soon! i love the concept of it, and it just sounds so exciting...
-amy

Reader said...

I completely agree with your review - I love love loved this book. Any one know if he's written any others like this?

Rui Xuan said...

Reply to: Reader
Yes, I love it a lot too! Shusterman's written others like this, such as Antsy does time, and the Skinjacker Trilogy.(Still waiting for the 3rd book to come out!) I'd reccommend the Skinjacker Trilogy. It's a fabulous novel.