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.

In a perfect world mothers would all want their babies, and strangers would open up their homes to the unloved. In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.”

Unwind was a read like nothing I’ve come across so far. It will stay with you and have you thinking long after the last page has been read. Before reading this book I didn’t think I would like it. I felt like the concept of unwinding was just so out there that there was no way the author would be able to make this believable.  What I thought was really amazing was that the author was able to build tension in the story without all the action scenes and plot twist after plot twist. The whole idea of unwinding and the fact that the reader doesn’t find out what the actual process consist of is enough tension by itself. The world building was so spot on that after I started reading I didn’t question whether or not it was possible because I was in too engrossed in the story. I really thought Shusterman was brilliant in raising questions on pro life and pro choice without taking a side or forcing the reader to pick a side. Instead he raised important questions like when does an unborn child have a soul? At conception or when it’s first loved by the parent? When giving up a child does the parent feel guilt or relief afterwards? The book wasn’t so much about death as it was the human consciousness. It also tackles issues such as religion, terrorism, politics, and ageism. The switching point of view between the characters made it hard to connect with them in the beginning but the collision course they end up on is so shocking and sets off a series of events that can possibly change their world. This book also contains one of the most disturbing scenes I have read in a YA even for one in the dystopian genre. I recommend this book as well as the sequel UnWholly which can both be found at Amazon.com. I give this a 5/5 rating.

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