Book: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Publishing Info: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing; 335; Paperback

Goodreads Summary: 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.

This is an interesting book.  I really liked it, but at the same time, I was oddly disturbed, especially when you see an unwinding towards the end of the book.

I wasn’t sure about the book at first, especially with the multiple points-of-view.  By the end, though, it all came together.  And the different narrators worked really well, because it shows different aspects of the society.

The storking laws were really interesting- you can leave your newborn on someone’s doorstep and they have to keep it, unless you get caught.  And the whole idea that you can retroactively “abort” a child- taken directly from the Bill Of Life at the beginning of the novel- is completely interesting and yet so not what I expected.  That at 13, kids can be unwound, and their organs donated to people who need it…it’s amazing that Shusterman managed to come up with an idea like this.

Shusterman has taken issues like organ donation, abortion, and when life should begin and end and written them in a really interesting and easy to understand way.  I can see so many parallels to what’s going on right now, with debates over reproductive rights.  It’s very thought-provoking.

Shusterman doesn’t come out in favor of any one side; he keeps it as middle ground as possible, with unwinding happening between the ages of 13 and 18.  It’s very well-written, and he handles all of the different issues incredibly well and with a lot of care.  It doesn’t feel forced, and not only is the storyline/plot well-done, but the characters are amazing too.

They were very much real, and could be anyone you know.  They had a past, present and future, and not once during the entire novel did I think about how anyone (or anything) was a cliche of some sort.

My biggest complaint was that things ended a little too nicely, and it felt a little out of place.  But at the same time, it definitely set things up for the sequel.  I can’t wait to read it once it comes out this year.  Although the gap of 5 or so years is a little weird when it seems like books in a series come out every 6 months to a year.  It stands well on it’s own, and while you wonder what happens to everyone at the end of the book, it’s also something you can figure out on your own too.

It gets a 4 out of 5.  I really liked the world that Shusterman created, and I really want to know more about the 2nd Civil War.

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