Jasper Roberts - Blog

Today's Review: Unwind

Perhaps one of the most haunting reads of my literate life, Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a novel that will stick to your ribs like oatmeal. Although I read this back in April of 2010, I still think about this book on an almost daily basis.

A quick summary without giving too many details away....

Set in the future, Unwind is a story of a United States that has suffered through the Heartland War, the second civil war in the United States. The two sides: pro-life v. pro-choice. The compromise of this war was that there would be no abortion, but parents would be legally able to "unwind" their child between the ages of 13-18 if they were not positive members of society. Essentially, they could retroactively "abort" their child. The story follows three children, Connor, Risa, and Levi, all set to be "unwound." When you unwind someone, their body parts (all body parts, skin, organs, teeth, eyes, everything) are given to people in need. The book makes mention of this need because not enough people were organ donors before. However, when the surgery happens, you are AWAKE! There is an entire chapter that shows the unwinding process, I won't tell you who though. Not creepy enough? One of the children, Levi, has been raised knowing he is going to be unwound because he is the tenth child in a very religious family. In case you didn't know, many churches ask that you give 1/10 of your earnings, etc... as a tithe to the church. In this case, Levi is the "tithe" for God. I won't go into too many details, but the three end up coming together to save themselves from unwinding. The burning question of this book to me is if all of your body parts are being utilized somewhere else, are you really dead?

This book is CRAZY good. It's scary because it's not hard to imagine this actually happening. At the Steven Layne conference he pointed out something rather interesting as he was giving this book chat. He said, instead of killing inmates on death row, why not unwind them? Their eyes are the same as anyone else, so what would it matter? At least it would make more sense than just wasting them. It was so fun to watch the room, many of which I'm guessing had not read the book yet, ponder this possibility. When he was done talking about it, you could hear the entire auditorium begin breathing again.

This was a quick read for me. It's a long book but I absolutely couldn't put it down. I read the entire chapter on unwinding to my husband, and I HATE reading out loud, because it was just too creepy to describe it. If you have not read this book yet, I suggest you turn off the computer and head to the library or the bookstore and pick it up immediately!

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