By Neal Shusterman
Publication date: Nov. 6, 2007
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 335 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
When two of my best friends highly recommended I read Unwind by Neal Schusterman, I was like “What? Who’s heard of that book?” I hadn’t! Not a peep. Well, shoot, where have I been? Because this futuristic thriller, out since 2007, is a darn good book.
Here’s the deal: We’re in a future where if, between 13 and 18, your parents think you’re a “bad kid,” they can choose to have you “unwound.” That means that you are essentially cut up and split up in bits and pieces like a sort of demented system of organ donation. People’s entire arms are transferred, brain tissue, eyeballs, you name it.
Soooo you can imagine that this book is creepy as all get out. And I sort of loved that. So Connor, Risa and Lev are all up for unwinding for very different issues (Connor’s “bad,” Risa’s an orphan and they’re out of funds to care for her, and Lev’s parents are religious zealots who believe in “tithing” a child as a sacrifice of sorts). They all end up on the run together – and you know how I love books about kids on the run!
I definitely had some issues with Schusterman’s writing style (a bit boring in parts, honestly), but I so enjoyed the overall concept and story here that I’ll definitely read on to book two, Unwholly, which came out this year.