Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Connor, Risa and Lev are running for their lives.

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.

My thoughts:
I always start out with very high expectations when a book has received 5 stars from all of my friends on GoodReads, but Unwind is one of few that I actually feel lives up to its rating. The concept of Unwinding is very original and the setting and how this came to be is all well described, without all the open questions, missing explanations and loose ends of many other dystopian settings. The action is non-stop from the very first chapter, and there's enough twists to keep us all guessing almost all the way to the end. My only regret is that I never felt closely connected to any of the three main characters. We get a short introduction from each of them, but I would still have loved to know a little more about what's made them the teenagers they are today.

What I really liked about Unwind is that I still think about it days after I finished it. Not just about the story itself, but about all the moral questions it poses. Could our world ever come to a point where we'd start harvesting healthy body parts from teenagers, just to donate them to someone more "worthy" of a set of hands, a liver, a brain? What happens to our soul if our body is split up into pieces, but never actually dies? Do we even have a soul? I feel like Unwind is one of those dystopian novels that every fan of the genre needs to read, and I'll happily recommend it to anyone who's not afraid to shed a few tears through the final chapters of a very good book.

The cover:
Almost a little spooky, which I guess goes well with the story.

My rating of this book:
5 stars out of 5

Want a second opinion? Check out these reviews written by some of my book blogging friends:

Want to know more?
Add Before I Fall to your Goodreads wishlist
Visit Neal Shusterman's website
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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Published: November 6th 2007
Pages (hardcover): 335
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN: 1416912045 (ISBN13: 9781416912040)
Full disclosure: Checked out at my local library

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as Amazon or The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. This sounds like a good one! I think my boys would like it, too. Thanks for the review!
    Mary, A Book A Day

  2. I liked this book. I thought the whole concept was great... in a gross and creepy way.

  3. Sounds like a book for me!! I love the cover. It gave me X-files vibes and X-files is my all time face tv-show. Hope I'll get the chance to read it someday!

  4. I enjoyed reading your review. I read this book a while ago and I LOVED it (really) in fact I was totally enthusiastic about it when I reviewed it and remembered wondering why it didn't seem to have been a bigger hit. It seems very low key almost - definitely deserves 5 stars.

    Lynn :D


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)