Sunday, 13 January 2013

REVIEW: 'Unwind' by Neal Shusterman

Today's review is the first in a series. My interest in it was first piqued when I watched a review of it on youtube but I forgot about it until I entered a copycat event on The idea for a copycat event is that everyone who decides to enter is paired up with someone and you have to read a book from their 'Read' shelf on goodreads. I chose Unwind and I'm so pleased I did!

What's it about?
'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.' goodreads.

What did I think of it?
I'm not sure how coherent this review will be, but here it goes!

This book has a very interesting concept- the idea that instead of abortion it is better to 'unwind' your child in their teenage years. An odd compromise!  Despite thinking the idea was ridiculous I still loved this book.  Anyone who doesn't want their baby can 'stork' it, by leaving it on a doorstep.  If the mother isn't caught leaving the baby then it legally becomes the responsibility of the people who open the door and find it. Of course this often leads to that child be unwound later anyway as it is likely unwanted by the host family.

I was captivated by this book immediately. I found myself caught up in the story and rooting for the Unwinds who are desperately trying to defeat the State and stay alive until the age of eighteen when they can no longer be unwound. The moral ideas are cleverly embedded into an addicting story which keeps you turning the pages to discover the fates of the wonderful characters. The teenagers in this world effectively have no rights and are dehumanised. This book challenges the reader and pushes you out of your comfort zone. It never preaches or settles on one side or another. Shusterman cleverly writes this fantastic book in a way which lets you make up your own opinions.  The plot is fast flowing and the characters are well rounded.

Once unwound the body parts are used to save other people's lives, but what I found just as upsetting was that the parts are effectively bought. The rich can afford the best parts and the poor have to make do with asthmatic lungs. It's a business pure and simple! The unwinding of children is not to help the parents but lines the pockets of the organisation which runs the Harvest Camps. 

This book is thought provoking and it leaves you wanting to discuss the topics with others. One particularly harrowing chapter of the book describes the unwinding of a character. I found this to be the most disturbing chapter. Shusterman wrote it brilliantly, and it makes you genuinely angry and horrified. I found the use of the phrase 'in a divided state'  instead of 'dead' to describe being unwound very clever. It's use is for placating families who decide to unwind children in order to make them feel better about themselves. The whole propaganda around unwinding was cleverly done.  Lev being a tithe is completely brainwashed into believing his sole purpose in life is to be unwound as an offering to God, which makes his relationship with Risa and Connor very interesting, as they do not believe in unwinding, and fight back as hard as they can.



  1. Wow. Looks like you loved this book!
    I like smart, thought-provoking books. Added to my to-read list right now ! (;
    Your blog is very nice. I'm a new follower :D

    Please check out my new blog and follow back. Thank you! ^_^
    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  2. This book sounds very interesting. I'm not sure it's something I would pick up but it certainly makes you think, doesn't it?