Read Unwind by Neal Shusterman Online

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In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chancIn a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive....

Title : Unwind
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 6571974
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 353 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Unwind Reviews

  • Kat Kennedy
    2018-09-23 15:52

    I was walking back from my playgroup with my son on Monday, I came out of an elevator to find a teenage boy waiting for me. Fear and an urge to protect my son came over me as he looked a little "rough" around the edges.Instead of pulling a knife or picking a fight though, the teenager turned on me with big, embarrassed, doe-eyes to ask in a quivering voice, "Excuse me, can I please have fifty cents to call my mum?" I fished out fifty cents worth of coins and left as soon as I saw him head towards the telephone, not waiting around to see if he got through to her. True story.Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a novel about a world gone mad in which children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can be legally signed over by their parents or guardians to be put through a harvest camp so that others can take their organs, tissue and blood.Abortion is also illegal but people can leave infants on other people's doorstep as a method of "storking" and thus legally handing over their responsibilities of the child.A common phrase used throughout this book is, "Someone else's problem." This encompasses the spirit of the book and is said often by adults who have had children fall temporarily into their hemisphere and require dealing with. There are very few adults in this book who do more than the bare minimum of what they have to do to sit right in their conscience and there's a whole bevy of others who don't do that much.Connor, one of the trio of main protagonists and an indisputable Christ metaphor, is a "problem" child. His parents are at a loss as to how to handle his behavioral problems and his poor grades so they consign him to being unwound. Risa, a ward of the state, is a bed that the government can free up for a child that they can't legally unwind yet and so is also handed over to the harvesting camp. Levi, the last of the trio is a religious tithe by his parents - born and raised to serve God by handing him over to be tithed as part of their duty to the community and God.There are many other such stories in this book from a boy whose loving parents died, leaving him an inheritance that his aunt feels would be better off putting her kids through college once he's been unwound and a boy whose divorcing parents couldn't agree on any custody solution and would rather, literally, divide him.This whole book is about the powerlessness of children in the hands of those who should be responsible for them. It is at times nerve-wracking, heartbreaking, devastating and a complete adrenaline rush.What it is most of all, though, is sad. Sad because the truth is that children are not the problem and they shouldn't be treated like a problem. They are a symptom at worst and a blessing always. They are a gift that requires attention. They are an innocent package and in the case of 99% of them - if they are running around the street as twelve year olds being a menace to society then they have not let us down - we have let them down.I love this book because it is well written, I love this book because it is compelling. I love this book because sometimes it is a hard and challenging read on a personal level. I love this book because it asks you to think. I love this book for the many things it has revealed about me - most of them not positive. I love this book because it is well-written with absorbing characters and a great plot.Most of all, I love this book because next time I come across a kid of the street asking for fifty cents to call his mum, I'll let him borrow my phone and make sure she's coming to get him.

  • Elle
    2018-10-15 16:45

    Holy frak-waffles Batman!! This is awesome. At first I was like:... but then I was like:... and THEN I was all like:...during that scene where they (view spoiler)[UNWOUND HIS BRAINS WHILE HE WAS AWAKE! (hide spoiler)] I still have the major heebeejeebs. I will never eat cauliflower again.Unwind will shock you. I mean, roll-you-up-in-a-carpet-and-bitch-slap-you kind of shock you. And you will love it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Tatiana
    2018-10-10 19:00

    As seen on The ReadventurerI approached rereading Unwind with trepidation. I generally enjoy revisiting books in series before each new release, but two reasons held me back in this case:1) My original reading of Unwind left me completely horrified and I wasn't sure I would want to relive this story again (my husband is still too scared to revisit it); and2) Unwind was one of the very first books I read when I had just discovered YA back in 2009, and it was also one of my very first dystopias. I didn't have much to compare it to then and, let's be honest, I liked quite a bit of crap YA at that time. Plus, there have been so many dystopias published since then, surely it would be very unlikely for an older novel to be better than newer ones?I shouldn't have worried. Unwind proves once again that most of the best YA dystopias were published way before the current dystopian craze.What stood out for me the most this time is how political this novel is. Reading the latest YA releases would make you think that dystopias are all about running around and snogging while hiding from the big bad government that wants to kill you for no good reason. But Unwind, while containing all these tropes (running, hiding, and a bit of romance), has plenty else to think about in relation to the oppressive government.I know some readers can't quite swallow the premise of this book, find it unrelatable, implausible, etc., etc. (Catie can tell you all about her problems with this novel) - yeah, the idea that people in a country would ever resolve the pro-life vs pro-choice conflict by abolishing abortion but allowing parents of the unwanted, troublemaking teens ages 13 to 18 to have an option to "unwind" them into parts that are later used for transplants is a pretty crazy one. Parental love and all that. BUT, I am not oblivious enough not to know that there are parents who sell their children into prostitution in order to have money to feed the rest of their family, who throw their newborn daughters into the dumpsters because dowries are strenuous on family finances and boys are just plain better, that entire nations were and are involved in genocides and scientific experiments on people (adults and children) that are deemed not racially desirable (Nazis anyone?) And don't get me started on the pro-life movement, members of which are preoccupied with saving lives of the not-yet-born, but have absolute disregard for the mothers' health or the well-being of those children when they are born and need monetary support for medical care or education, or, alternatively, this forced abortion story fresh off Jezebel's presses. So yes, the premise is far-fetched, as far-fetched as stories about the inhumanity of clones (The House of the Scorpion, Never Let Me Go), women used for nothing more than breeding (The Handmaid's Tale) or children forced to play survival games (The Hunger Games) are, but I believe in it, because I've seen things just as vile in real life.... And back to the politics of Unwind. (I get carried away so easily ...) Besides the most obvious from the synopsis issue of pro-live/pro-choice conflict, Shusterman skillfully incorporates into his story domestic terrorism, religious brainwashing, and, the most disturbing part - the politics of transplant therapy, because an opportunity for adults to have an easily available supply of young organs (or hair!) sweetens the whole unwinding deal so nicely.I like when an author makes his young audience think about these issues without openly pushing his personal agenda, especially now when these particular issues are so heated and in your face. Unwind is a dynamic, scary story that is carried by charismatic teen characters who are at times defiant and so easy to hate, yet they prove they deserve to live just as much, if not more than any "proper" adult.Glad to say, I feel like I can safely continue recommending this novel. And I can't wait to read more about this unsettling world. UnWholly, evidently, has a character made entirely of spare body parts! Goodness, I don't think I am fully recovered from Shusterman's variation of Humpty Dumpty yet...

  • Janina
    2018-09-30 17:56

    An astonishing and at the same time disturbing read. Took me some time to get into, but from then on I was hooked. The world Shusterman created feels so vivid and real, it almost scared me. Thought-provoking and highly original. I haven't read anything like this ever before.Also, it contained one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever read - not on a graphic level, but more due to the fact that what exactly is happening is left almost completely to the reader's imagination (if you've read the book, you will most likely know what I'm referring to).Set in the near future, the novel follows three teens about to be unwound – which is the thing to do with unwanted teens and basically means that they are to be scavenged for body parts to be transplanted to those in need of them (though the signification of 'need' can be stretched here: someone can also 'need' new eyes because his girlfriend doesn't like the old ones' colour).Connor has always been trouble, sometimes unable to control his temper. When he finds out that his parents are about to have him unwound, he runs away and crosses paths with Risa and Lev. Risa is a state ward being sent away due to shortage of money and Lev is a tithe, sacrificed by his religious parents for a greater good.Connor and Risa have only one goal: to be able to make it until their eighteenth birthday, when the law will protect them from being unwound after all. Lev, who has always believed in his special purpose, is deeply conflicted. Should he run with his two 'rescuers' or should he turn them in?I not only found the three main characters, but also the friends and enemies they make on their journey drawn realistically and very relatable. Everyone has his own way of dealing with their situation and nothing is painted in black or white. Those characters have their faults – some more than the others – but in the end there was no one who deserved to be treated like he was nothing but human spare parts for those who could afford it.The only thing that felt a bit off at times was the writing style. Sometimes the present tense sounded awkward to me, and the frequent switching between the different points of view made it hard for me to become fully attached to all the characters, but I loved Connor, Risa and Lev.I will definitely be looking out for more of Shusterman's work.Edit: I originally rated this book four stars, but I've decided to up my rating ;). I would recommend Unwind to everyone looking for a good YA book, I would label it a favourite, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. If a book makes me think about it even months after reading it, it definitely deserves five stars!

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2018-09-18 19:04

    I've been asked why I keep reading young adult books when I hate some of them. I hate some ways of preparing chicken too, but I'll eat it.This book is a reason why I keep reading young adult. It's the fried chicken of the book world.There has been a war recently. A war based on reproduction rights.On one side, people were murdering abortion doctors to protect the right to life, while on the other side people were getting pregnant just to sell their fetal tissue. And everyone was selecting their leaders not by their ability to lead, but by where they stood on this single issue. What that leads to is the Bill of Life. The Bill of Life changes the way people live. For one, a woman that just gave birth can leave her newborn at your door. As long as she is not caught that newborn becomes the homeowners. They have no choice in the matter. They have been "storked." Some families have been storked multiple times.Then there is the "Unwinding"....Unwinding happens when you have a kid/teen who hasn't reached the age of 18 yet. They go to a harvest center and their body parts are taken and can be used as transplants in other people. It keeps people living longer and rids the world of some "unwanted" kids. These kids can be signed up for the unwinding for a multitude of reasons. Connor's parents sign him up because he has a bad temper. He gets in fights, they just can't control him. Risa gets signed up because she is a ward of the state, it costs too much money to keep the kids alive that aren't really special enough.One kid is signed up for stepping in when his stepfather is beating his mom. His mom sided with the stepfather and needed him out of the picture after that.There are also kids who are "tithes", They are born to be unwinded. Like Lev's parents, they ended up with ten kids. They felt that they should give one tenth of their children for the good of man.Lev says, "Tithing's in the Bible; you're supposed to give 10 percent of everything. And storking's in the Bible too.""No, it isn't!""Moses," says Lev. "Moses was put in a basket in the Nile and was found by Pharaoh's daughter. He was the first storked baby, and look what happened to him!"Connor, Risa, and Lev all decide that they don't want to be Unwinded. They escape and must hide until they turn eighteen. That is when the will be exempt from the unwinding. They are helped along the way by people who believe that just because something is a law, it isn't necessarily right.One thing you learn when you've lived as long as I have-people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Well done, Neal Shusterman. Well done. You are my fried chicken.

  • Kiki
    2018-10-16 16:59

    Of late, we've seen the YA dystopia trend grow to dizzying heights. Many like to bleat that every post-apocalyptic adventure published within the last year is trying to grab the success of The Hunger Games, just as we've all assumed that authors of YA paranormal romance are trying to jump on the Meyer bandwagon. We're being conditioned to accuse every dystopian author of being a scammer, and every book (before we've even read it and discovered that no, it doesn't have anything to do with Collin's already derivative plot) of being a loserific rip-off.Those who believe this: stop. Because I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this book is better than The Hunger Games.First of all; the world-building is spectacular. It's all related to an issue we face right now: pro-life vs. pro-choice. Being a Wendy Davis fangirl, this book disturbed and touched me on a very deep personal level. It literally changed my life. Let me elaborate.So: America. The so-called "Heartland War" was fought by pro-choice and pro-life armies as each sought to obliterate the other. What's left is a compromise dictating that human life cannot be touched before adolescence, but between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a child can be "unwound"; a process by which the child is split apart and all organs (99.44% of the body must be used) are saved as transplants for donors. Problem children are signed as Unwinds by parents at their wit's end, while tithes are born and raised to be unwound.The premise didn't convince me at first. I couldn't buy it. I couldn't buy that people would sign off their children to be cut into pieces and scattered around like car parts. But that's the beauty of this book; while The Hunger Games never succeeded in convincing me, this book did. The farther I read, the more invested I became. It's electric, in every sense - the characters, the world, the premise, the writing. The way tithes were brainwashed became frustrating, just as the "terribles" became nauseatingly tragic. Yes, I'm talking about Roland, a troubled boy sentenced to unwinding by his mother even after he saved her from her violent husband. Written off and judged as dangerous, Roland was unwound at Happy Jack harvest camp (yes. Happy Jack. It gets sicker). The best part? We have front row seats to Roland's unwinding. The narrative continues and we find ourselves watching, helpless, as a team of doctors and nurses cut him into pieces. His fear leaps off the page.Our first and main narrator is Connor, a troubled boy not unlike most of the kids I've known at high school. He's not particularly vicious, spiteful or difficult. He's just a teenage boy on a rough patch. But his parents are lazy and selfish, so they sign him up to be unwound. Connor won't stand for it, though; he finds the order and makes tracks in the middle of the night.Risa is a ward of the state. Due to budget cuts (I kid you not) she is signed up to be unwound. At her tribunal, in which she's informed she'll be sent to a harvest camp, she's told that she isn't smart or talented enough to be kept alive.Lev is a tithe, a child born and raised to be signed off as an Unwind as soon as he turns thirteen. His oldest brother is vehemently against the process, but his deeply religious parents have convinced Lev that being tithed is a great honor that he must follow through to the end.The collision of these three characters is the start of this never-ending thrill ride that comes to a screaming stop only on the very last page. The last page is equally as rewarding, so never fear!My point before, while I was still reading this, is thus: in recent YA and in general, men write better heroines than women. Why is this? Does this depress anyone else? Can we please start having some faith in our own gender, women, and stop letting male writers covet positive and proactive females? Also, interestingly, the romance in Unwind, though light, was more convincing than anything I've read in YA lately. It brought me to tears twice, and only made me love both characters more. Why? I can't say. Perhaps it's because it never felt like a Romatic Plot Tumor, and it never felt forced. There was no "tightness in my chest" or "shimmering azure pools". It was two people, two desperate teenagers, knowing and accepting and appreciating each other. Though who else thought Connor and Risa should have had the smex? Come on, people. If you're going to be slaughtered in a matter of days and your loved one is right there, all hot and yummy, wouldn't you want to have the smex? Yessir.Anyway. The heroine? I loved her just as much as I loved Connor. You know what? Sometimes I loved her more. Risa is just alive, so filled with personality and integrity and intelligence. She's strong, capable, and entirely independent. Her final fate (along with Connor's) was a little bittersweet, but on the whole it fully satisfied me. Like, MAN, did it satisfy me. You know when you're really hungry, and then you scarf down a massive Montana's steak with 'shrooms and tomatoes and steak sauce and big fries with salt and vinegar? That's how satisfied I was. (I hope y'all are hungry now.)Guise, my ONLY problem with this book lies in the writing. To begin with, I didn't like it. It took a while for me to get into the style of it, and the editing was squiffy as hell:"Just because he's to be unwound does NOT means he's an Unwind." - page 31"Smorgas-bash!!" - page 128"This is a pawnshop isn't it?" (Missing comma) - page 158"...but Hayden isn't done done yet." - page 172As I said - this book is beautifully written, but I only came to appreciate this when I was about a quarter way in. I also don't like all-caps sentences in published works (save it for Tumblr, bbys) but once I got used to it, it really just stopped bothering me. And sure, the little blips above irritate me, but there are dozens of gloriously beautiful passages within Unwind that moved me and allowed me to easily forgive Shusterman for the slip-ups. Third person present tense is difficult to pull off, but Shusterman did. And hella kudos for that, broski!Unwind isn't for the faint-hearted. It pushes a lot of very close-to-home questions that might make you squirm. What is the value of life? Does our society unfairly judge youth? Do we give up on troubled children too quickly? How can one profess to be "pro life" but then advocate killing grown humans (this is an EXTREMELY relevant question)? Is revenge ever justified? Can you justify cruel means to a kind end? How far would you go to preserve your own life? What sacrifices would you make?These questions are never explicitly answered by Unwind, and this is what makes this book such a legend. It never preaches, only teaches. It informs, but does not push opinions. It poses questions that are open to be answered by the reader, not the author. It is a very challenging read, but an incredibly rewarding one.On the whole? This book is absolutely excellent. It's probably one of my favourite books of all time. I adore it. I adore the brilliant characters, the electric premise, the gorgeous writing and the wildly original premise. It's so full of heart. I admit it: I cried twice. I was shocked, disturbed, enlightened, amazed. It grabbed hold of me and drew me in from the first page. It's highly original, and basically, a triumph in every sense of the word.Read it. Now.

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    2018-09-23 18:42

    I've been letting this book process in my mind for many days now and I still don't know where to start. This is an older book, one that has been held in highest regards by many for almost a decade now, so whenever I read a book like this I feel awkward and useless writing a review. What could I possibly say to do this book justice that hasn't been said yet? I'm not even sure there are words to describe just how undone this book made me feel. It's rare that I find myself emotionally involved in a book these days; I mainly read mystery/thrillers or YA sci-fi/fantasy and neither of those genres tend to hold deep, moving stories of this kind. The only way I know to describe how this book made me feel is that it wormed it's way so deep inside my body that it touched my soul. My brain felt so jumbled it didn't know whether I should cry, vomit, or give a standing ovation, so it just kind of snorted. If you read the tiny blurb above then you know that there isn't much given away of what this book really is, other than touching on the fact that it's premise is truly horrifying. While I'm not planning on giving away any major spoilers or plot points, if you're wanting to go in completely blind, I recommend stopping right here and grabbing the book. If you are wanting to get a little more of a feel of what this is before you dive in, keep reading on." The Bill of Life"The Second Civil War, also known as "The Heartland War," was a long and bloody conflict fought over a single issue.To end the war, a set of constitutional amendments known as "The Bill of Life" was passed.It satisfied both the Pro-life and the Pro-choice armies.The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen.However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively "abort" a child...... on the condition that the child's life doesn't "technically" end.The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called "unwinding."Unwinding is now a common and accepted practice in society. Wow. It's a little hard to swallow, yes? When I initially saw this page I thought "Geez, a little dramatic. I'm not sure how he's going to make this seem realistic, but I'll follow along and keep an open mind." He made it realistic people. When I think of how utterly disturbing an "unwinding" would be, I found myself riddled with all types of questions. What happens in an unwinding? Will we be privy to a procedure? Is this going to be highly graphic and full of blood and guts? How is this being marketed as a YA novel? This book is recommended for ages 12 & up. Here's what I found out after reading this book; yes, we find out what happens specifically in an unwinding and are privy to one, but just one, and it is highly disturbing in the most subtle way. What surprised me the most though was the lack of graphic violence (aside from one major scene near the end). The reason this book is so utterly brilliant is due to the fact that the author has left most of the highly disturbing factors vague; he knew for each reader, what would move us the most, would be different and has given us the opportunity to let our imagination carry us where he couldn't take us with too much structure and detail."I was never going to amount to much anyway, but now, statistically speaking, there's a better chance that some part of me will go on to greatness somewhere in the world. I'd rather be partly great than entirely useless."-Samson Ward This book is structured so well; it has all the elements of a complex, highly intelligent read while also being written in a way that is easy for anyone to connect with and understand. The story is divided into seven parts, each told from multiple views, but mainly from three. Connor is a trouble maker from Akron, OH that becomes AWOL while running away from his impending unwinding. Risa is a ward of the state and is set to be unwound due to the lack of space in the institutions housing orphans. She is a musician but not deemed talented enough to be considered cost effective in keeping around. Lev is a tithe; these are children conceived and raised specifically to be unwound once they reach the age of thirteen. These three lines converge at a specific event and begin what I like to consider the first part of our journey. I won't give away anything else, but we ride lots of ups and downs with these folks. The ending was satisfying in the sense that it clearly is left with the assumption of a series following, but there isn't a giant cliff hanger where you feel pressured to pick up the next book immediately. In fact, I've seen most people choose to read this as a standalone and not continue on. Either way, this is a book that is worth your time; it's far from your typical, sometimes flimsy YA novel. There was actually a good bit of "real life" research that went into this story; Shusterman found various news articles surrounding stem cell research that helped form a base for his fictional story to be crafted around. I know this because I took the time to look up each link he provided and, by George, they are real! And horrifying!"You can't change laws without first changing human nature."-Nurse Greta"You can't change human nature without first changing the law."-Nurse YvonneWords can't convey how important this novel is. Yes, it's highly disturbing, horrifying, and a place our mind doesn't even want to venture to, but this book touched on so many issues in our current state of affairs world wide and is surprisingly still relevant after nearly ten years. Stem Cell Research, Cellular Memory, Reproductive Rights, the afterlife, faith, and morals; it's all discussed in this book. I found myself constantly pondering all of the above and how it relates to humanity. As a parent, this was a hard book to stomach. It brought an all-too-real sense of terror over me that I couldn't shake, and still haven't. The Roland scene was one where I had to put the book down, wipe the tears from my eyes, and process before I could continue on to finish. The reason this book can even have the potential of being beloved by so many is this: amidst all the horror and unspeakable evil the plot is founded on, there is a constant glimmer of hope in the horizon. It's a beautiful thing folks. Change. Community. Forgiveness. It's all there, and that's why I'm going to recommend this book to literally everyone I come in contact with. I could ramble on for weeks about this book, but I think it would be better if you just read it for yourself. I'm also planning on continuing the series, so I'll try to provide insight into whether or not it's worth investing in the long haul or just soaking up this treasure by itself.*I'd like to thank The Literary Box for providing my copy; it was an absolute pleasure to return an honest review.*In case you missed it, you can find my full review and unboxing of the subscription this book was included in here: https://thesuspenseisthrillingme.com/...

  • Cassy
    2018-10-15 18:03

    You are not going to believe me, but I came to this book with open arms. It survived weeks of cuts and call-backs to become one of the final six books that were carefully wrapped in pajamas before being placed in the suitcase and flown to Switzerland. I only take books I am confident I’ll love on vacation. Well, given the length of this trip, space constraints, and my mercurial ways, they also had to be relatively thin, paperback, and fast-paced, but you get my point. Alas, from the very first chapter, I was wrinkling my nose. Meet Connor. He has gotten into some fist fights at school and has bouts of anger, but is fundamentally a good kid. He hasn’t robbed a convenience store or killed anyone. I like him well enough. But his parents are fed up and sign the papers to have him “unwound” – essentially the government whisks away your child, kills them, and distributes their organs to others. Unwinding is an interesting, if poorly explored, idea. But the selection of candidates is where I start to rebel. I don’t have kids, but aren’t you supposed to love those little buggers? Your children may frustrate and exhaust you, but deep down, there is this primal urge to see them survive and thrive. And even if this instinct is missing, by the time they become a teenager, haven’t you invested too much time and money to throw it all away?Even childless me can think of dozens of examples of family and friends loving their offspring despite rough patches. Heck, my sister drove my mother bananas during her teenage years. Jill was full of sass and fond of saying, “I put a period to this conversation.” At one point, my dear, patient mother stopped the car, told her to get out, and drove off. We were only a mile from home and it was a scenic walk through pastures, yet it sure left an impression on twelve year old Cassy sitting in the back seat. But don’t you believe for one second that my momma would have Jill unwound. Never going to happen! You could argue that Connor’s parents were just horrible, atypical people. However, Shusterman portrays them as a middle class, respectable household making a socially acceptable decision. In fact, they have another son that they adore. The sad thing is this stumbling block was easily removable. Imagine that due to a government regulation aimed at population control, you can only have one child pass the age of twenty-one. With such a brief explanation, Shusterman would have appeased me. Connor’s parents picked his brother over him. Done. What’s even sadder is that the backstories for the other condemned characters were quite compelling. I accept that during a nasty divorce, the two embittered sides would rather dispose of their child than let the other gain custody. I completely buy that a state ward would be unwound due to limited space and budget cuts. But Connor’s story was featured first and prominently and sparked a skepticism that carried me through the novel. My other quibble is the lack of effort Shusterman showed in establishing his world. I know the setting is the United States sometime in the future (several decades?) after a war over reproductive rights. But other than introducing the practices of unwinding and storking (don’t ask), nothing much has changed. The people still use cell phones, drive cars, and eat chicken. At one point, Shusterman makes a lame attempt to suggest advancement by displaying iPods at an antique store. Oh, look at those cute, pink iPod Nanos! I think my grandmother used one of those! Perhaps my critique of his imagination is unfair. The cover and premise led me to believe this would be science-fiction. I would now assign it to the dystopian category. Still, it isn’t quality dystopian. I need to know more about the war, more about other technologies/polices that resulted, more about the new government. Even if all the above is outside the scope of what Shusterman wanted to accomplish, I still feel entitled to more about who gets the organs from the unwound. Who coordinates the transplants? How are recipients prioritized? Do they pay for organs? How much? Are there cosmetic transplants or are they allowed for only medical necessitates? The one nod I will give Shusterman in this regard: he alludes to how prevalence of unwinding has halted all other medical advances. Why bother trying to understand heart disease when new hearts are so readily available?And the ending. It wasn’t so bad. We are privy to an actual unwinding surgery and it is chilling to watch a character being dissembled. Ultimately, though, the ending is sprinkled with more underdeveloped tidbits. (view spoiler)[The authorities give Risa the choice to fix her spine (then recover and be unwound) or remain crippled (and become ineligible for unwinding). What? They didn’t give her choice if she wanted to be unwound in the first place! Also the surgeons can remove and transplant an arm without complications, but don’t bother to remove the tattoos? It is possible to remove tattoos nowadays! Have they forgotten how? I just don’t see most organ recipients being satisfied with tattooed replacements. (hide spoiler)]This book was a disappointment. Unwinding is a great concept, but it couldn’t save this book from its poor writing and poorer set-up. Shusterman attempt at depth fails, as well, when he takes on one of the most challenging and philosophical questions of all time: what constitutes one’s soul? Kazuo Ishiguro wrote a book which uses a similar device to address a similar question and whose subtle touch I found to be far more effectual.

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    2018-10-03 14:37

    This is the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. I'm torn here, struggling whether to recommend this book or shout to you never to pick up this book because you will not sleep again! I mean it! This is a horror, thriller dystopian and I cannot say (loud enough) that this is not a book for everyone. I don’t often stereotype books by saying “if you like this-and-that then you will love this book”. I believe you need to read a book before you can say you hate it. But, honestly, I think you need to be aware that this is a horror before you go into it. It’s about ethical issues, speculative future, war, abortion, death, consciousness, human thinking and the never ending issue of life. When does life start? When does it end? And who should be allowed to end it?The book is full of real questions – questions people ask today and struggle to come up with answers. There’s a lot of speculation about abortion and life choices. At first I struggled to figure out if the author was for or against abortion. Now I realize, I struggled to figure it out because the author was careful to write, with detail and precision, both sides to the story. There are always 2 sides in a story. A writer’s job is to listen to both and then write a good book about it. Instead of aborting unborn children, this futuristic government has made laws to protect their lives. Instead, a child – between the ages of 13 and 18 – can be unwound. Unwinding is like organ donating. They take your organs and give them to people who need them – cancer patients, car-accident victims, sick, mangled or disease ridden people. The question in the book is: what value is whose life? Yes, I worded that right. Can your life have different value depending on who you are, who loves you, what you’ve done, if anyone actually wants you the way you are? We can laugh and shrug off those kind of questions, but, in this day and age, I think it’s a real thing. And if you think this book is based entirely on speculation: you’re wrong. Unwinding does happen. Illegally. But it has been known to happen. This book is just about a world where it’s legal. Another theme that runs through the story is the phrase: “Someone else’s problem”. Stop and think about that for a second, eh? After you read this book, you will never (I repeat, never) say that phrase again. No matter what you do, hoisting a “problem” off to someone else will never solve anything. I have to add in here, too, that the writing of this book is brilliant. It’s written in present-tense-third-person, which is something new for me. Considering I want to write a little like that, I was excited to try it out. While it’s awkward at first, after you grow used to it you forget it’s different to past-tense. The flow of sentences, the dialogue, the humour, the plot, the character development: it’s perfect. I don’t say that lightly. The author hooked me in with his brilliant, real characters. Next his style of writing. Then his plot. Then the themes of his book. Between all that, there was no way I could avoid some serious thinking.That’s what I love about this book. It makes you think. About unwanted children, and futuristic governments, and the horror of mind-manipulation. One thing that really struck with me was the unwanted children part. So many children are unwanted. In our day-and-age, babies are aborted. Why? Because they’re unwanted. So what happens when a child grows up unwanted and turns into societies’ “problem”? Whose fault is that? How do we treat them? This book throws questions in your face and demands you think about them. I think that’s the mark of a true, talented author. Don’t feed a reader the story. Lay it out before them, blunt and cold and cruel, and say “Now think about it.” A book that makes you think is one of the best books of all. I loved the characters (Connor and Risa best of all; Lev kind of annoyed me until the end). They were real and tangible and they developed with such ease that I was left feeling gobsmacked. The author has an implicit way with crafting characters. And the plot was breathtaking – full of twists and turns. You’re always getting surprises. Description? It wasn't so much the description, but what wasn't described that left you reeling. And the ending…saying it was brutal and torturous and so effortlessly written would be an understatement. As you read, you may think it’s not that “horrific”. The ending will change your mind. You will be moved. You will be challenged. You will cry (if not outside, inside).This is a disturbing book. It will play in your mind for days. But you know what? I think books like these are important – extremely important. If people are just fed interesting (but light) books, where they don’t have to work or think or question moral values – how will people be aware of the issues in the world today? It’s so intensely important to think for yourself.

  • Dan Schwent
    2018-09-26 15:54

    In a dystopian near future, teenagers Connor and Risa are sentenced to be unwound. When their paths cross with a tithe named Lev, they flee the world they know and become fugitives. But how long can they run before the past catches up with them...?Imagine a world where abortion is illegal but it's perfectly acceptable to have disagreeable children unwound, that is, disassembled and their organs given to waiting recipients, when they are between the ages of 13 and 18? That's the basic premise behind Unwound and it's not as farfetched as I want it to be. Is forced organ donation really that far outside of what happens today?Unwind is a fast-paced YA novel dealing with the ethics of what happens to unwanted children and the consequences. Shusterman introduce such concepts as unwinding, storking (abandoning unwanted children on doorsteps), and tithing (people raised specifically to be unwound.) Chilling, yes?The characters drive the story forward at a cheetah's pace. Connor, the lead, gets most of the time, as does Roland, his bullying nemesis. Lev and Risa, while important, don't shine as much as the approaching conflict between Connor and Roland. While I thought I knew how things would turn out, there were quite a few unexpected wrinkles along the way, like CyFy, the Graveyard, the Admiral, and the Clappers. I don't really want to get into specifics for fear of revealing to much of what happens. Suffice to say, I found Shusterman's writing very suited to the tale he was telling and the worldbuilding was superb. Much like The Handmaid's Tale, the world seemed alien at first glance but really isn't that far removed from our own, making it all the more chilling. It's a five star read, the only complaint I can think of is that I wanted it to be longer.

  • Catie
    2018-09-19 15:37

    I am definitely going to try and take a step back from the ledge here, because I fully realize that I may be the only person on the planet who didn’t enjoy this book. I just finished, so the absolute fury is still fresh, but I think that once it cools, I will be able to say that yeah, this book isn’t so bad. In fact I think that it’s incredibly average in every way. I would give this to a young-un in a heartbeat. It’s fast paced with just a dash of romance, and it will probably initiate a few interesting discussions. I mean it in the best possible way when I say that I can see this book as the basis for a highly popular t.v. show on the CW. I can already see Alex Pettyfer as Connor, Vanessa Hudgens as Risa, and some precociously doughy bespectacled kid as Lev.This story takes place in a hypothetical United States where a long, brutal war between pro-life supporters and pro-choice supporters has been put to rest by a law that allows parents to “retroactively abort” their children from ages 13-17, by essentially having them sent to “harvest camps” where they are dissected and every part of them is used for transplantation. Let me tell you a few more things about this place:1) Pro-choice supporters are totally fine with forcing women to carry, birth, and raise children for 13 years, as long as they can be killed after that.2) Pro-life supporters are totally fine with rounding up teenagers in large numbers and slaughtering them in a medical facility because every part of them is actually still alive!!! Right. 3) It turns out that the pro-lifers are correct in this world. Every part of an unwind IS actually still alive, and has the personality of the person it used to belong to. That cheesy horror movie “Idle Hands” is a highly regarded nonfiction piece here.4) Doctors are no longer needed because apparently every single disease can now be solved with a transplant.5) Transplantation complications no longer exist.6) Unwinding is the major problem facing troubled teens, because apparently the sex trade, drug use, gang violence, child neglect in state facilities, gender selection, child armies, and all of the other major cruelties that we inflict on our children on a daily basis don’t exist in this world.7) When you have explosive blood, it’s important to avoid bumping into anyone, clapping really hard, or engaging in contact sports, but it’s perfectly fine to run on a treadmill, and enter a BURNING BUILDING to rescue people.8) Even when your entire body has been removed and no blood supply is reaching your brain, you’re still totally aware. Also, every part of your brain contains your full personality.*AND EXHALE* We follow Connor, a “troubled” teen submitted by his parents for unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is going to be unwound due to budget cuts; and Lev, the child of a religious family who has “tithed” him. The three characters collide on their way to a harvest camp and begin a dangerous flight toward safety.I don’t think that this book is realistic at all – and I don’t mean that I can’t believe that parents could possibly be so cruel to their own children. Folks, we are far FAR crueler to our children than this!! With all of the topics loosely tied to this book (eg, abortion, child rights, and so forth), I kept expecting it to have a message or a platform of some kind. I kept expecting it to become tied to reality in some way – even some small aspect – that I could latch on to. I think that the closest it came to that was Lev and the clappers. I think that he is the most developed of the characters and displays the most growth out of everyone. About halfway through this book I realized something: this book isn’t about taking a stand on children’s rights or really about addressing any particular issue at all. It’s a simple adventure story with plenty of action and a bit of horror and romance. And I was doing okay with that. Sure, the characters are all completely one dimensional and I basically couldn’t have cared less about whether they lived or died. And yeah, there are so many crazy suppositions and ideas in this world that I was having an extremely hard time buying into ANY of it. BUT, taken as a simple story with most of the real gruesomeness of the world white washed out, and with characters that are like heroes in training, I could appreciate it in a certain way.But then…a certain scene happened. A certain scene that was just so over the top callous, gruesome, and horrific and in such a completely unrealistic, highly manufactured way that it felt like the absolute cheapest of cheap shots. Oh no you don’t sir!! I do not appreciate being manipulated! And it really felt like it went downhill quickly from there: cheesy scene after cheesy scene, all designed to wring emotion out of the reader. Unfortunately for me, they all felt entirely manufactured and so unbelievable that I was basically just praying for this book to end.Perfect Musical PairingThe Fray – You Found MeBecause this is the song that will play in the opening credits of the CW’s brand new show as a shirtless Alex Pettyfer rescues a baby, angstily punches Roland, passionately kisses Vanessa Hudgens in a bathroom stall, and writes an impassioned letter while a tear slowly tracks down his cheek. As the credits roll to a close, he stands scarred and stoic in front of a ragged band of teens: a folk hero in the making.I would totally watch that show.

  • Justin
    2018-10-11 14:05

    First of all, lemme thank the Huffington Post and people I respect on Goodreads for leading me to this book. I googled "best dystopian novels of all time in the world ever" or something along those lines (I'm not the best googler in the world) and HuffPo was one of the links I clicked on, and this book was on the list, and I recognized the cover, and I was a little skeptical but read some reviews, and one thing led to another, yada yada yada...And this was a really thrilling, thought-provoking piece of young adult dystopian literature that really hooked me from the beginning. I had a hard time putting it down. And now I'm going to explain to you how this book felt like a roller coaster. It starts off with that slow uphill climb as you're introduced to the characters. You meet the three main protagonists first, learn about their families and their backgrounds, get to know new terms like unwinding and storking, yada yada yada...And then, holy moly! This thing takes off from the top of the incline at rapid speed, and I just had to put my hands up in the air and scream with glee because I'm having such a great time on this thing! I never want it to end! Whoa! The twists and turns! This is not what I expected, but it's still so great! Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!So that's how it was like a roller coaster. Slow and steady in the beginning, and then it never lets off the brakes until the very end. Oh, and lots of twists and turns. You get the point. Now imagine riding this gigantic thrill ride and at the same time you're yelling and screaming and having the time of your life, you're also contemplating deep issues like abortion and human rights and government and right and wrong and science and stuff like that. Like, woohoo this is so awesome, but when does life begin? Ohhhh yippeeee we're going upside down but do we have a soul and when do we get it? Oh my gosh I'm thinking and being so daggum entertained at the same daggum time! This is what reading is all about! And roller coasters! The world and the characters created here are fascinating. The concept of the book is very interesting and plays out very well. It went in places I was not expecting at all, but I liked where it went and I like how it ended and I don't know if I wanna read the series or not. I felt like this was good. This was just right. I don't know what else needs to happen to make this better and I'm not really sure why it needs to continue. Ah, we'll see. Yada yada yada.

  • Annalisa
    2018-09-18 13:51

    Page one, I'm iffy. Pro-life and Pro-choice fight a civil war and the only way to satisfy both armies is the agreement that no abortions take place but from the ages of thirteen to eighteen any child can be unwound and his or her divided body and soul be used as organ donation? First off, pro-choice isn't going to go for a woman sacrificing her body through pregnancy and raising a child thirteen years before she can dispose of it. And pro-life isn't going to go for the termination of a child who is more developed than an embryo. I'm not buying that anyone would go for this resolution.Page ten, I don't care anymore. I'm already invested in Connor's fate when he goes on the run after finding the copy of his Unwind order. The premise may be absurd, but Shusterman made the distopia so real for me that I had to find out the fate of these unwanted kids through every horrific detail. The story never slows down with twists paced through the end that kept me glued to the book. What disturbed me most (beside the unwinding) was the music played at the chop shop. Every time I think a society could not possibly go that far, throw in a little reminder of Nazi Germany and I know it already has.While disturbing, the story is near impossible to put down or get out of your head once you do because every scene can be taken to discuss a larger issue in society. It's not really about the absurdity of the resolution but a vehicle for Shusterman to make statements about society. He introduces important questions about abortion, organ donation, stem cell research, the destructive power of propaganda, apathy of uninformed decisions, consequences, parental control, and religious fanaticism among others. But he doesn't shove answers down our throats. He just introduces the discussion. Pro-choice advocates could make the claim that Shusterman is defending their cause by showing all the unwanted children that would come from anti-abortion laws. Pro-life advocates could make the claim that Shusterman is defending their cause by showing how sick the destruction of children is as parents turn a blind eye to the specifics of the practice just because they selfishly don't want to deal with a child anymore. I think what Shusterman is showing is that a society should never allow a government to be its moral compass, but individuals should make their own informed, ethical decisions.

  • karen
    2018-10-12 12:55

    this is a great book to use as a springboard for discussions about reproductive rights and governmental responsibility and what kind of world we are creating and leaving to the next generation.but i'm just going to talk about me. cuz i am a very laissez-faire individual, and i live my life like i am reading a book someone else is writing, and i am just tuning in to see where it all goes, and any discussion of this sort always leads to conflicts, and i think goodreads has enough of those, yeah?i am of two minds on this book. on the one hand, i got completely sucked into the story, and i love the characters (especially lev), and i thought it was one of the rare dystopian YA books that actually took the time to world-build enough so that its characters made sense in the world they were given. but even at the beginning, i was picking it apart, and finding flaws in the construction; ways that the system could be abused and that just would not work, even as a dystopia. catie's review goes into a lot of concerns i had, and even though i liked the book a lot more than she did, i agree with a lot of her observations.i am late to this book's party, and most of you have already read it, but for the newborns out there who can't even read yet, i will lay out some of the plot points, so your folks can read them to you.in this book, abortion is no more. there was a war between the pro-lifers and the pro-choicers which resulted in legislation (apparently only half-seriously proposed) that satisfied both sides: no more fetus-abortion, but parents had the right to "unwind" their unwanted kids once they reached the age of thirteen, but once they turned eighteen, they were there for good. unwinding is a process whereby the kids are used for parts, and nearly every single piece of them is transplanted into a needy recipient, ensuring the donors would "live on", but in a different state. and all these parts retain the muscle-memory of their previous owners, which seems medically implausible, but who am i to judge? this results in "more surgeons, fewer doctors" because no one needs to be cured anymore, they can just get some spare parts and fix themselves up that way.for people who are unable to raise their children until the age of thirteen, there is another feature of the legislation that is called "storking," where unwanted babies are left on the doorsteps of strangers, and THEY HAVE TO RAISE THEM. i mean, it is better than a dumpster, by far, but what a drag. this is the part i had the most problems with. i mean, how easy is it to abuse that law? and i was grateful that he included an anecdote about one such incident that was horrifying, but i can't see how this was a law that ever got accepted. assuming that financial responsibility for thirteen years at least? no thank you.but whatever, if i can accept the chinks in divergent's armor, i can accept this. it is a teen fiction book; it's not flawless, but this is the world we are given. and it is admirable that he took the time to a) construct such a fully-developed world and b) point out its flaws, occasionally.and its strengths are numerous. there is great detail-work here, even when it is just given briefly, in the anecdotes of the various unwinds. the variety of reasons a kid can be unwound are numerous and heartbreaking. and just the number of wonderful moments of revelation - (view spoiler)[ the scene where roland thinks he has the upper hand at the end only to find out he has no leverage and that the juvey police already know about the compound was great stuff. and i personally liked the scene of him being unwound - it was a little manipulative and again not medically persuasive, sure, but i kept expecting the door to fling open and have him be saved, and it was pretty ballsy to have that not happen, even though we do not like roland, do we? (hide spoiler)]but overall, i was completely engaged in the story, and i do think the characters grew and became different people, (view spoiler)[ and had they been unwould, risa never would have discovered her aptitude for medical care, connor never would have learned to control his temper, lev would not have been able to see past his upbringing and become his own person rather than just a sacrifice. (hide spoiler)]overall, i thought it was a great read, and i appreciated the care that went into writing it, even though it is one of those books you have to accept as-is, without going over it with a hyper-critical eye.

  • Kewpie
    2018-09-27 14:50

    This is one of those books that once I finished it, I started it over and read the whole thing over again. And even after that, there were parts of it that I kept re-reading and thinking about. Before I go into my long review, I wanted to just mention that this book had one of the most nightmarish and horific scenes that I have ever read in my life. It contained almost no details at all, and none of the sparse details were graphic or gory. And that made it even scarier. My imagination provided more than any author ever could. It's been a few days and I can't get that scene out of my mind. There are so many ethical and moral arguments brought up here and almost no clear cut answers. Here are just a few of the dilemas that come up or discussed about:1.The obvious ones: abortion, stem cell research, tissue and organ harvesting.2. In the case of minors, where does the line between "guardian" and "owner" cross over? The parents in this book treat children as property from the day they are born. They are things to donate to churches, sell for money, "put to sleep" when they are being a nuisance. When the parents sign the unwind orders, the State becomes the guardian of the minors. When the minors run away, they are considered to be stealing government property. 3. The power of euphamism. There are many terms and phrases in the book that seem very neutral, nonthreatening and almost positive. All the while, these terms mask draconian, horrific and barbaric rituals. I think a big message of this book is that euphamisms can be used as propaganda. People condone actions that they wouldn't normally condone because the euphamisms soften the messy harsh realities. I find it interesting that some people were offended by the book and claimed it was too pro-life! I thought the book was very pro-choice. The author set up a world with abortion being illegal and the world being over-run with unwanted babies, who were discarded on random porches or put into massive institutions where teenagers were gotten rid of to make room for the mass influx of new babies. The message sometimes seemed to me that if you made abortion illegal, then the population would explode and children would be neglected and devalued to the point that people would sell their teenage children to organ harvesters because they needed the money or the kids were too inconvenient or annoying. There is no mention of illegal abortions or mandatory sterilization of undesireables.

  • Kristalia
    2018-09-18 16:05

    Final rating: 6/5 starsUnwind by ~graysideThis book deserves more than just 6 stars. It deserves 10! This is my ultimate fav young adult and it was one of the most amazing and emotional reads. It's a roller coaster of emotions and don't read it if you don't wish for your heart to shatter, or if you don't wish for your heart to be cut out. Because that's how i felt while reading this. But - in every darkness, there is light, and even if this book might seem quite grim, it was balanced. Because it's Neal Shusterman and his talent to write is amazing. It's fast page turner as well, and it's fabulous. If you have a faint heart, you have been warned! Special mention: this review is dedicated to my dear Yael, who wished to know what I thought about it :D___________________________________________STORY: ____________________________________________The story is pretty much really dark, morbid, sinister & twisted. It's told from Connor, Lisa and Lev point of view in third person and there were povs which were told by different people as well.In the future, there is no need for medicines. There is no need for anything. You loose an arm, you will get one back. You loose your eyes/ears/whatever and you will get it back. Every sickness is cured by transplanting organs, body parts and everything else. People stay healthy and happy...but that's not all. For everything, there is a price. “You see, a conflict always begins with an issue - a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.” It all began when the second civil war was fought over abortion. It ended, but the compromise that was reached was called Unwinding. It stopped the practice of abortion by having one law - Every single parent on earth has a right to "abort" their children from ages of 13-17 by having them Unwound. To be unwounded means to be separated into parts - every single part of the body - and having it donated to other people. The evolved genes and cells of the humans in this era allows for the body parts to remember the instincts or even memories of the original owner. And - every single body part is alive. So it's not a murder - basically, the one who is unwound is still 99,94% alive. You don’t die – you just stop living. “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.” And then there is something called storking. Since abortion is no longer possible, unwanted babies can be put on someone’s doorstep and they must keep the baby as their own child. Storking a storked baby is a crime, but people do it anyway.“The way I see it, it's got nothing to do with all of that. It has to do with love...A person don't got a soul until that person is loved. If a mother loves her baby--wants her baby--it's got a soul from the moment she knows it's there. The moment you're loved, that's when you got your soul.This story follows three teenagers: Connor, Risa and Lev. They are all to be unwound, one of them went out of control, one has no other choice, and one was getting ready for it whole life. But when fates intervene and all of them meet up, which choices will they make?There was a scene of unwinding, and I must say…it was really and utterly disturbing…. And sick… and it makes me think – how can they think that is right and how can they just ignore it? This world is so cruel, and it gives me shivers to even think about all those parents who gave their children up. If this didn't depress you so much let me add that this book had (view spoiler)[ HEA(hide spoiler)] ending.___________________________________________CHARACTERS: ____________________________________________♦Connor : Fifteen-year-old Connor's parents can no longer control him. He is a typical, bad boy type, problematic, but in the end – his parents decided to get him unwound. When he accidentally found the signed contract for unwinding – he became as good as possible to try to make them see what they had done. But when the time comes, he is forced to escape. And, by doing so, caused an accident that killed a bus driver, left dozens of others injured. And then, he took a hostage AND shot a Juvey-cop with his own tranq gun. Fascinating. “Most people have two emergency modes. Fight and Flight. But Conner always knew he had three. Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally.” He is not a bad person at all...he is really really good soul and he is brave and reckless and you just can't help but feel for him the whole book. There was one part of the book with him which made me cry my eyes out. ♦Risa : “Connor tries to hold her arm to give her support, but she shakes him off and throws him a nasty gaze. "If I want your help, I'll ask. Do I look feeble to you?""Actually, yes.""Looks are deceiving." she says. " After all, when I saw you, I thought you looked reasonably intelligent.""Very funny.” Risa, a ward of the state, is a victim of shrinking budgets since she is not a talented enough musician to be kept alive. She plays piano - she is quite good actually, but it was not enough and she is forced to escape as well. ♦ Lev : "I never knew there was a choice.” Lev, a tithe, was raised by religious parents for the sole purpose of being unwound. It became his religion - his faith - that God had chosen him to help other people. Tithes can choose when they wish to be unwound - and they all do it mindlessly. Lev is one of those and when Connor and Lisa kidnap him, he makes their lives living hell - until he understands what it's like to be normal.♦ Other characters: There are many, many characters in this book: sarcastic, bullies, idiots, geniouses, brave ones, horrifying ones and so on... I wish to talk about all of them but it would take whole review so i'm skipping it :D___________________________________________OVERALL: ____________________________________________It’s one of the thought provoking books, and it makes you think a lot about abortion, of organ donation of politics and religion and of health. Is it really worth it all??? Are the lives of thousands of children worth of being unwound because they couldn’t be cared for or if there wasn’t enough money to keep them alive? The ending was amazing and fantastic – and the sequel is even better (having read it before). And another thing: it's going to be movie :D (it's going to be such horror :D)This review can be found on my blog: infinity-of-time.blogspot.com also known as... ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Kate
    2018-10-06 10:53

    Thanks to a medical procedure known as "neurografting," colloquially called unwinding, every harvested organ and body part of a teenager can be used on another person's body. Stealing kiddies' fingers and brains is a whole industry. Few believe it's wrong. Some don't even believe it's death. Unwind is the story of three teenagers who have been signed up for unwinding by parents or guardians. They're unwanted, someone can't afford them, or they're a religious "tithing"/sacrifice to God. Through the will to survive—or sometimes thanks to blind luck—these three soon-to-be-unwound teens find themselves on the run.The "Abortion Debate," if It Made Even Less SenseWhen I first came across the summary for Unwind, I thought it sounded like it would be awful, but I couldn't ignore that it had maintained a star rating of four (out of five) with 7,500 ratings on Goodreads (nearly five years later, that's exploded to more than 124,000 ratings). That left me wondering if the hive mind knew something I didn't about this young adult book. So, I set out to give it a try.In the first few pages, readers come across this:THE BILL OF LIFEThe Second Civil War, also known as "The Heartland War," was a long and bloody conflict fought over a single issue.To end the war, a set of constitutional amendments known as "The Bill of Life" was passed.It satisfied both the Pro-life and the Pro-choice armies.The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen.However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively "abort" a child on the condition that the child's life doesn't "technically" end.The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called "unwinding."Unwinding is now a common and accepted practice in society.One hopes there's almost no need to point out how illogical this premise is, but I'll do so anyway. • No one who is anti-abortion will ever think that, instead, killing teenagers is a form of legitimate compromise. If someone considers the former murder, then he or she will most certainly consider the latter murder, too. This isn't a "grey area," like the death penalty, euthanasia, or (some would say) abortion. • No one who believes abortion should be available to women would think killing a teenager for his or her organs wouldn't be murder. There is a reason the term's pro-choice. I don't know of any pro-choice individuals who would think a teenager isn't a thinking, feeling, fully-alive human being capable of making choices for herself. This isn't a fetus we're talking about. And this is exactly why abortion rights activists fight for teenagers to have access to safe, legal reproductive care without hovering, cloistering, occasionally deeply conservative parental consent.It would take years, perhaps even decades or centuries, of careful, subtle brainwashing to get everyone on board with this concept. And so there's the truth of it: Beyond its political agenda, Unwind also happens to be poorly written. The characters are stereotypical, the narrative is choppy, and the plot doesn't make sense within the context of Shusterman's own creation.Clashing with Today's ScienceAll lovers of speculative fiction know that the unbelievable can be made believable by a good writer. (Belief in this is one of the reasons I kept trying and wanting to like Unwind.) It just takes the proper balance of realism and "magic." Shusterman technically knows this. After all, a major inspiration for this story was a horrible, creepy 2006 report of a Ukrainian stem cell scandal. And he repeatedly tries to tie in other real-world examples that may be loosely—usually very loosely—related to his idea. Unfortunately, Shusterman's efforts to ground Unwind fall flat for reasons far beyond highly questionable foundations and plot holes. They fall flat because they go against the medical science that exists today in American society—yes, even with its broken healthcare system and shady insurers. If Unwind's premise isn't realistic for the next five years, you'll have trouble convincing me that this story's premise can be a reality any time soon. (Although, interestingly, Shusterman never specifically dates his story. For example, a war has passed, and there are "antique" plasma TVs and MP3 players, but the mobile phones aren't smartphones.)Unwind was published in 2007, when stem cell research was already widely portrayed in news articles as a revolutionary solution to numerous ailments. • In 2006, The Independent reported on seven successful bladder transplants, where the bladders were grown from the patients' own stem cells.• Since 2008, we've done amazing things with stem cell technology. We can grow windpipes and urethras using one's own stem cells. We can even "spray" new "skin" onto burn victims.Those are the stories we should tell teens: the stories that show, time and again, that human minds save the day when they methodically and logically work to solve problems. In reading Unwind, I get the impression Shusterman didn't research current advancements much, if at all. His projections for the future would be significantly different and more logical if he had. I think, instead, he looked for—and poorly based Unwind on—the horror stories, of which there most certainly are some if you go in search of them. (There always are and will be.) At the risk of making him guilty for his associations, I can't say I'm surprised a former Goosebumps and Animorphs writer would do such a thing.Is it any wonder the book takes a pseudoscientific, spiritualistic, paranormal approach to all this?Liberal/Moderate Parents and Teachers, BewareI am usually of the "different strokes for different folks" opinion when it comes to books I don't like, even if I think some are objectively bad. I feel that way about Unwind when it comes to adults reading it—many of whom, I should note, disagree with me about this book having an anti-abortion message. (I'm going to continue to say they're wrong about that, though. Not many mainstream YA series get sold at far-right/fundamentalist Christian bookstores, but this series does—see here and here—just a few clicks away from the purity rings.)Shusterman's novel, when considered for young readers, seems insidious to me. It feels a little too much like conservative propaganda. Add to this that many reviews on Goodreads, by teens and adults alike, proclaim Unwind's premise is something that "could really happen" in the near future, and Shusterman is a tiny part of a much larger scientific illiteracy in our culture that embraces straw men in arguments.Gift this one to teens with caution. The rest of the series will almost certainly be more, not less, political.

  • Wendy Darling
    2018-10-09 15:50

    THAT SCENE made me clutch my blankie. *sobs*

  • Candace Robinson
    2018-09-22 12:48

    This was super fast paced with likable characters! This dystopian world is one of the creepiest I have read! I received a copy of this book from a Quarterly Literary Box https://quarterly.co/products/literar... Full review on my blog https://literarydust.wordpress.com/20...

  • Beatriz
    2018-09-27 15:48

    Reto #5 Pop Sugar 2017: Un libro escrito por una persona de color¡Brutal! Una distopía con una premisa terrible: una sociedad futurista en que la ley protege la vida hasta los 13 años, castigando fuertemente el aborto, pero que permite que entre los 13 y 18 años los jóvenes puedan ser desconectados. A pesar de toda la propaganda del sistema, que enmascara esta desconexión como una nueva forma de existencia –con un propósito elevado para adolescentes conflictivos–, no es más que un “troceado” de personas para garantizar órganos para trasplantes. Por supuesto, detrás de todo, lo que prima son los intereses económicos.Más aberrante aún es que la desconexión no es una sentencia del sistema, sino que es decisión de los propios padres o tutores de los jóvenes, quienes tienen la autoridad de firmar la orden de desconexión, para lo que, además, no es necesario que haya algún motivo. (view spoiler)[Entre varios casos que se cuentan, está el de un chico que, al fallecer sus padres, quedó al cuidado de una tía que firmó la orden de desconexión para tener el dinero que le permitiera enviar a sus propios hijos a la universidad. (hide spoiler)]El libro me impactó mucho, no solo por su argumento, sino porque Neal Shusterman realmente escribe muy bien, es un placer desplazarse entre los párrafos. Todo lo que cuenta, hasta el detalle más nimio, tiene repercusiones en los capítulos siguientes. Los personajes son magníficos, así como también cómo van evolucionando durante la novela. Uno de los capítulos, en los que se describe el proceso de desconexión de uno de los personajes, es probablemente lo más perturbador que he leído en mucho tiempo.Muy, pero muy recomendable. Lecturas como ésta son las que me recuerdan por qué leer es uno de mis pasatiempos favoritos

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2018-09-18 14:55

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/“What does it take to unwind the unwanted? It takes twelve surgeons, in teams of two, rotating in and out as their medical specialty is needed. It takes nine surgical assistants and four nurses. It takes three hours.”If you are at all familiar with my reviews, you’re probably well aware that I’m a “big meany” when it comes to doling out 1 Stars and super stingy when it comes to granting 5s. I’m here to tell you that Unwind knocked my damn socks so clean off my feet I would easily grant it a 6th Star if it were allowed. You’re probably wondering what made this story so different from the other gazillion YA dystopian stories out there, huh? In a nutshell???? EVERYTHING.Connor has always been a troubled-child and his parents just can’t deal with him any longer. Risa is a ward of the state who no longer has a place in the system. And Lev is a “tithe” – the 1/10th that his family must give to their church. The fate of the three is to be “unwound” – a compromise the Pro-Life and Right-to-Lifers made into law wherein parents (or the state, as the case may be) can choose to have 99.44% of a child between the ages of 13 and 18 transplanted into the most deserving (and highest paying) recipients. Unwind is the story of how unfortunate coincidence leads to Connor, Risa and Lev meeting and their attempt to save themselves from certain fate. So not only is the “dystopian” subject matter fresh, but there is no awful “world building” to muck things up either. The “world” is the United States – the only difference is that the Second Civil War has been fought that created the “unwinding” law to begin with . . . “A conflict always begins with an issue – a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn’t matter anymore, because now it’s about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.”Another bonus? The characters aren’t sparkly sissies. They kick SERIOUS ass. Connor is a “bad boy” (not in an annoying stereotypical way – just in the way that it doesn’t need to be explained that if the poo hits the fan he will jump right in to the mix). Rissa is definitely no shrinking violet. In fact, “she’s a bit annoyed that she’s not included . . . It ought to be a Bonnie-and-Clyde kind of thing. The rumor mill is definitely sexist.” Lev goes through a total transformation. And, let’s just say there are plenty of other characters and surprising twists and turns along the way too . . . The best part of all about the characters? NO INSTALOVE!!!!! In fact, there are only THREE PARAGRAPHS – that’s right PARAGRAPHS – that are “romantic” at all. Unwind is all about surviving . . . these kids could give a flying fart about getting laid.As for the unwinding itself?“No one knows how it happens. No one knows how it’s done. The harvesting of Unwinds is a secret medical ritual that stays within the walls of each harvesting clinic in the nation. In this way it is not unlike death itself, for no one knows what mysteries lie beyond those secret doors, either.”Have no fear – you’ll find out everything you never wanted to know about unwinding.And the best part of it all (well, for me at least) – YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES!!!! Obviously you can if you want, but I hate when books are in a series and I was 100% A-Okay with the ending of Unwind and just pretending that it’s a stand-alone novel.Like I said, Unwind blew me away and gets all the stars. It gets the first 5 for the alllll of the aforementioned items and I’d give it another if I could because I can’t remember the last time I read a YA book that could spark actual conversation between kids and parents about some serious grown-up topics like when life begins and abortion and organ donation and stem cell research and on and on and on.“You can’t change laws without first changing human nature.”

  • Angela
    2018-09-21 11:04

    If you have read or follow me on anything then you know I have a terrible fear of having my organs harvested... THIS BOOK IS WHY!!! It has taken me a very long time to build up the nerve to talk about this book. It really freaked me out that much. The concept of Unwinding is truly terrifying. It's not like you went to the dmv and checked the organ donor box thinking "yeah Ill give my organs up, I'll be dead what do I care what happens to them"... No, this is about having them taken while you're still awake, alive, and having no say in it.Unwind,or as I like to call it "Why I'm not an organ donor" is just so different. I don't think there's any other way or word to use to describe it. I love controversial books or books with controversial topics and this is one. This book is about the battle between two groups the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. The two groups reach a compromise called "The Bill of Life" that states that nothing about a child can be decided until they reach the age of thirteen, and at which the child's parents can put the child up to be "unwound". People don't consider it dying because the child will still be "alive" just in divided state. (yeah you heard me right... DIVIDED STATE!!!)This book follows three kids. Two who decide they don't want to be sold in pieces and one who was raised to think that being a sacrificial lamb is okay. Their parents/state just decided they weren't worth the trouble or weren't good enough and they sign them up to go to a harvest camp.... (yes again you heard what I said, A HARVEST CAMP!) Connor and Risa decide to continue the plan of escaping and basically have to underground railroad themselves to find safety. Lev has plans of his own; aka wanting to return to the camp and fulfill the tasks he's been brought up to face. Their journey is neither predictable or easy.Connor’s situation was probably the hardest for me to read and had me so uncomfortable. He's parents basically just gave up on him. Instead of trying to help him out and do what parents are suppose to do they figure they'll cut their loses and just get rid of the problem. I could never do what they choose to do to him, and his story had my heartbreaking. Risa is so musically talented but since she's not top of the class the state has decided not to "waste" anymore time on her. Since she doesn't have any parents she has even less say in what happens to her. Lev was born to be unwound. His parents are basically obsessed with their imagine. He is one of several children in his family. Some of his brothers and sisters aren't even blood related they were just storked to the family. (I'll get to the whole stork thing in a minute.) As part of their image they have him just to "give back to the world". They even throw him a big, lets just call it a going away party, to say their goodbyes.Now to the stroking thing. You know how people can leave their babies at police and fire station and its not against the law, well in this world it is... What's not legally is leaving your baby on someone porch. Once you've been storked you have to keep that child. That just adds to the twisted and sickening plot of this book..The reason I didn't give this book a higher review despite the description I've given so far is because at some point in the middle the book the plot gets a little mucky. The characters tend to spend a good amount of time just talking, and not about anything relevant just things. Also the introduction of like a million characters wasn't to thrilling to me either. Then it like dips to this bizzaro kind of murder mystery thing.... Yeah I don't really know what to say about the thrown together mid-plot, BUT it does pick back up closer to the end. Once you get past the WTH did I just read section the story will have you returning to the edge of your seat.There are two scenes in this book that stand out above the rest. One is a scene were the kids write letters to their parents while in hiding. It had me a little teary. The other scene is what I've seen other people describe as the "WTF scene" or "that one scene"... It's the scene that will give you nightmares for months (speaking from personal experience). It's not only the craziest scene in the book it's also the hardest to explain. There was nothing explicit, nothing overly descriptive, but by the way it is narrated it's, it's just …horrifying. It made my skin crawl and my jaw drop. Just to give a little tease, someone in the story get unwound and the scene describes what happens to them and what their brain goings through while the procedure is happening. I will flat out say I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HORRIFIED. I still can't even wrap my brain around how well the author used so little words and made such an impact.It's those few chapters right there that hit you in the gut and turn this book from something was was so/so to something unbelievable. I had to release the breath I didn't realize I was holding after reading it (only ya fans will get that one).This book had me thinking about so many things I really do just push into the back of my mind.Was this book my favorite, no, it wasn't. But it did leave a lasting impression. Unwind is unforgettable, and thrilling. I don't know where Neal Shusterman came up with the idea for this book, and I'm not sure I want to. Even with it not being one of my favs it will definitely always be a book on my recommend list.(Btw You could probably make this review a drinking game. Every time I say horrified/terrifying feel free to take a shot.) Read this review and others on our blog:http://southernbredsouthernread.blogs...http://southernbredsouthernread.blogs...http://southernbredsouthernread.blogs...

  • Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
    2018-09-21 15:50

    Finished my re-read! It's been eight years since I read this book for the first time (damn, that makes me feel old). In my original review, I stated that this story would "haunt me forever," and I was definitely right about that. Even after all these years, there were a lot of scenes that I still remembered vividly. But there were also many details I'd forgotten. And there were also a lot of powerful themes that I think went over my head when I was younger, so I'm glad I decided to re-read it.Also, while I read and enjoyed the second book, I never got around to reading the third and fourth books in the series––so I'm hoping to do that once I re-read the first two books.New review coming soon! Old review under the cut. ----------(view spoiler)[Old review (6/11/08):To put it simply, I loved this book! I loved everything about it, from the distinctive characters to the compelling plot. I typically don't like these "futuristic society" books, but this one was different with its unique idea: a story about a future where unwanted teens are cut apart and their parts given to those who need them. The writing style is simple, but the concepts are really deep. Not only is it a good adventure story, but it really makes the reader think about what life means. Reading about all these kids going to such desperate measures to stay alive is heart-wrenching, and I found myself feeling emotionally attached to some of the characters as if I knew them. Thrilling, disturbing, and unforgettable, the story of Unwind will definitely haunt me forever. (hide spoiler)]

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2018-09-27 11:45

    This book is disturbing and just holy crow! These people think it's okay to unwind their children if they don't want them or if they are bad kids. And what is unwinding you ask? It's where they take all of your body parts, EVERY SINGLE ONE, and use them for other people. AND your body parts are still a part of you, but only your brain can still think inside of another body but the parts can still do things the other kid did, like playing an instrument etc. --->EXCERPT<---"See, brain bits work okay, but they don't work great," CyFi explains. "It's like puttin' spackle over a hole in a wall. No matter how well you do it, that wall ain't never gonna be as good. So my dads made sure I got an entire temporal lobe from a single donor. But that kid wasn't as smart as me. He wasn't no dummy, but he didn't have the 155. The last brain scan put me at 130. That's the top 5 percent of the population, and still considered genius. Just not with a capital G. What's your IQ?"AND... YES THERE IS ANOTHER AND... they only numb you while they are doing this! They don't put you all the way under, they want to make sure your still functioning. I had the wonderful time of reading a kid going through this. I didn't like the bully that this was happening to but still. There is a moral to this story, if your a bad kid and your parents sent you to boot camp, JUMP FOR DAMN JOY!The three main characters of the story are Connor, Risa and Lev. Connor's parents put in the order to unwind him because he was always getting into trouble. Risa was in the system and they needed to make room for more kids at the home. And Lev was a tithe to God. I still can't get over some of the stuff I read in this book. I loved the book though, don't get me wrong. Connor and Risa break free and are on the run. Connor grabs Lev and take him with them. Lev isn't happy about this because he thinks he's supposed to be a tithe, but when his pastor tells him to run he starts to understand. They all get split up for a bit and Lev runs into another kid called CyFi (nickname) and this kid isn't on the run because he's not an unwind. He's actually wanted by his father's and he's a stork kid. <--- Get to that in a minute. But CyFi is on a mission because he has part of the brain of another child and that child wants to get something done. I cried at this part because it's so horrific :-( At some point they all end up in a plane graveyard where an ex military man takes care of unwinds. They live here for a short period of time because some kids start some stuff and there is a riot and people are killed. Sigh, it was all stupid actually. I did like the Admiral, he did a lot to help these kids because he and his ex-wife made the mistake of unwinding their child. They changed their mind but they were too late so he dedicated his life to helping others. Oh yeah and the stork babies are babies that are left on your doorstep and you are allowed to keep them. Abortion is illegal but you can put a baby on a doorstep and they can keep the child forever or decide to Unwind it later. Needless to say this book was very disturbing and creepy but I really did enjoy it. I haven't read anything else like it! MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
    2018-10-01 17:42

    It’s impossible to understand other people. It’s impossible to understand ourselves most of the time.At the very beginning, I honestly wasn’t buying the story. I just couldn’t understand parents who would get rid of their child and celebrate by going on a cruise. I should have known better. Our belief systems, morals, cultural conventions, laws… they didn’t just pop out of nothing. They are so deeply ingrained into our society that we never doubt most of them. People, we're sheep! I wonder, at some point, when history looks back at us, will they consider us barbaric? Will they think we were cold and cruel and detached? It worries me sometimes, this lack of understanding, not just for the past or the future, but for any cultural difference whatsoever. And I’m not saying we should try to understand the society Shusterman created – I’m claiming the exact opposite. It is impossible for us to objectively look at any moment in time, including the present. We are too heavily influenced by our rules and beliefs. We are limited by our mentality. The constant changing of POV bothered me at first, but after a while it really started to create the effect I believe Shusterman was going for. I actually think so many POV’s were necessary – they allowed us to fully understand the numbness of the society. The next installment can’t come soon enough. I’ll be waiting. But for now, I’m going to hold my child tightly and be grateful for the choices I never have to make.

  • Jessica
    2018-10-09 13:01

    What a horrible, horrible dystopian vision Neal Shusterman presents us with in Unwind!A horrible vision which I found utterly unrealistic in the beginning. I just couldn’t imagine parents having their children "dismantled" because of bad behavior or better say, I couldn’t imagine a society accepting this gruesome procedure as common. After a while, though, I started thinking and considering our history and what people already did let happen, as well as the gruesome things that are still happening these days and how the world just stands by and watches, I had to ask myself, do I really believe that such a thing as using unwanted or troubled children as organ donors is something that couldn’t happen? Just look at all those child slaves working on coffee plantations in Africa or what happened during the Third Reich. In view of those facts, can I really put it past mankind to do such a horrible thing? The sad answer is, no, I can’t.However, I probably would have found the whole scenario more believable if Unwinding had in fact been more or less common, but still illegal.At one point Connor says that he always tried to make people believe that he was dangerous, which got me thinking, if it were common knowledge that troublemakers tend to be shipped off to harvest camp would kids really try to convince others that they’re dangerous? You could probably argue that Connor believed his parents would never ever do such a thing but still, I found this a tad bit unbelievable.The explanation for the unwinding was also something I found a little unsatisfactory.(view spoiler)[Then we proposed the idea of Unwinding, which would terminate unwanted without actually ending their lives. We thought it would shock both sides into seeing reason – that they would stare at each other across the table and someone would blink. But nobody blinked. The choice to terminate without ending life – it satisfied the needs of both sides. The Bill of Life was signed, the Unwind Accord went into effect, and the war was over.As well as:If more people had been organ donors, Unwinding never would have happened...but people like to keep what’s theirs, even after they’re dead.Hmm. (hide spoiler)]At first I was also a little irked by the multiple POVs but I quickly got used to it and I was relieved to find myself growing fond of all three main characters regardless of the constant switching between the different POVs. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to all the characters, because usually I tend to have one character I can’t really bring myself to care for and I tend to get bored when I have to read about this particular character’s story but luckily, this wasn’t the case here at all. We even got short chapters from the POV of random people like a teacher or a guard at a harvest camp and everybody who has read the book will agree with me when I say that at one point, I was immensely happy about that.Those were my only complaints, though, because except for what I’ve mentioned above, this book completely blew my mind! It was fast-paced, I was never bored, not even for a second, from beginning to end I’ve been glued to the pages because the plot was just so thrilling and captivating. At times the tension was so intense, I thought I might burst, I kept biting my nails and fidgeted nervously, then another horrific revelation would make me cover my mouth in shock or bring tears to my eyes, so by the end of this book I found myself being a nervous wreck. Amazing how Neal Shusterman made all those little bits and pieces fit together just perfectly, I was astonished by all those twist and turns, which took me completely by surprise Every.Single.Time. Unwind is a story that will linger with you for quite some time after you’ve finished the book, a story that hurts, a story that shocks but nevertheless, a story I recommend to everybody. In my opinion, Unwind is a true masterpiece.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Laz
    2018-09-25 14:58

    “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.” In a dystopian world where children after they reach the age of thirteen, they find themselves in the peril of getting unwound, Connor, Risa & Lev are coming face to face with that very same danger. The parents of every child decide whether one will get unwound or live. What unwinding is?Pro-lifers and pro-choicers. There was a war, to say the least, between the two opposing teams. It ended up with drawing a set of consitutional amendments, known as the Bill of Life. That legislation clearly states that abortions are no more and if a parent wishes to abort their child they have to wait until their unwanted child reaches the age of thirteen. That is until they are eighteen because after that then they have no control whatsoever over them. The process of aborting a child after they reach the age of thirteen is called unwinding. The unwanted child is used as a harvesting body for those in need of transplants. Every part of them is harvested. But every unwanted child gets to leave on through their organs. How is that possible? The organs retain a kind of muscle-memory. This book is a mix of young-adult yumminess and a bit of thriller-y awesomeness. It's really fast-paced and action-packed and it combines a wealth of a storyline with a multi-pov narrative and the outcome is outstanding. The pov chapters change fast, giving you a thrill and while it could be considered sloppy, this particular author makes it come out as intriguing and fascinating. I loved the darkness surrounding the storyline. It's a bleak theme for a young-adult book and it can definitely be characterized as raw and vulgar but that's the beauty of it. The author holds back nothing.What sort of disappointed me was the end. With all the tension building up and all the storyline we got, I expected something richer but that's just my personal opinion. I recommend this to every dystopia-lover out there, like me. You'll definitely love this.

  • Maureen
    2018-09-26 11:43

    3.5/5 starsI really enjoyed this book! I didn't LOVE it and I didn't really really like it - had some issues - but overall was pretty great.It raises some very important issues about human life and the importance of it, as well as many other things.A lot of the plot seemed all over the place to me, and the world building was not really great. I had some issues with how religion was presented (though those issues corrected themselves at the end so YAY GO UNWIND!)I really grew to like the characters a lot. Mostly Risa I just really love her. But Connor and Lev were really interesting characters.Overall really solid read. Would still recommend even though I didn't LOVE it!

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2018-09-18 11:59

    Because I can’t resist a buddy read, here we go again a reread for me starting April 17 with Danae, Liz, Alexa, Vicky, Katie, Brandi, Lea, Casey, Cathryn, Shelly, Tandie, Jaime, D.G., Kate, Athena (Shardbearer) and Ashley We are meeting on Buddies Books and BaublesReread April 2015This is my FAVORITE COMPLETED YA SERIES TO DATE:Unwind 5 stars Unwholly4.5 Stars Unsouled 4 StarsUndivided 5 OMG this My Favorite YA Series StarsThe thing I like about this book and this entire series really is how much it makes me think. I believe that some of the things that happened in this book could really happen given the right circumstances and time.Neal Shusterman (NS) took articles from papers and websites today and then twisted them into what they could become and so for me the story is freaky and crazy.Unwind and the entire series really hits me hard emotionally. The kids in this act like kids, they aren’t 30 somethings in teenage bodies and I really like how true to the characters (NS) stays and their personal struggles. This is a story of survival and parts of it are devastating and parts of it are extraordinarily beautiful but added together it is amazing.Every kid had a story of why they were given up to the state for Unwinding and EVERY single one of them seemed plausible and was equally as heartbreaking. Conner who had anger issues, Risa a ward of the state and a budget cut, Lev conditioned from birth to believe it was his duty to god, Emby because his parents died and his aunt wanted his inheritance, Hayden due to a hate filled divorce and so many others just as horrible. Things to love about this book:✔ - Great complicated characters you can connect with.✔- Fast paced storyline that grabs hold and will not let you go.✔ - Moral dilemmas that really make you think and no easy answers just given to you.✔ - The most emotional, heartbreaking and well written scene I’ve read in YA – Chapter 61. Which is only topped IMO by NS in Undivided.✔- Smart intelligent no cop out resolutions to story lines.✔ - A believable and slow budding romance beginning that feels real, without a single reference to eyes growing darker or letting out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. It is subdued and in the background as it should be for kids running for their lives.✔ - The Language of the books and the shifting PoVs really blend the story together so well and I give a full picture for all involved. I loved all the smart arguments presented throughout the story.If you are looking for something different, something that isn’t like every other YA book out there, with great tension, beautiful ideas, fantastic character development and a wonderful plot then I hope you give Unwind a try. I’m so glad I read it again and look forward to continuing through to reread the rest of the series.Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the series (some are spoilery enter at your own risk):(view spoiler)[“If there wasn’t unwinding, there’d be fewer surgeons, and more doctors. If there wasn’t unwinding, they’d go back to trying to cure diseases instead of just replacing stuff with someone else’s.” And suddenly the Mouth Breather’s voice rings out with a ferocity that catches Connor by surprise. “Wait till you’re the one who’s dying and see how you feel about it!”“I’d rather die than get a piece of an Unwind!”“That’s what law is: educated guesses at right and wrong.”“And what the law says is fine with me,” says Emby. “But if it weren’t for the law, would you still believe it?”He wants to tell her, but she’s always so busy in the medical jet—and you don’t just go to somebody and say, “I’m a better person because you’re in my head.”He hauls off and punches Lev in the eye. Not hard enough to knock him down, but hard enough to snap his head halfway around and give him a nasty shiner. Before Lev can react, Connor says, “That’s for what you did to us.” Then, before Lev can respond, he does something else sudden and unexpected. He pulls Lev toward him and hugs him tightly—the way he hugged his own little brother last year when he took first place in the district pentathlon. “I’m really, really glad you’re alive, Lev.”“You see, a conflict always begins with an issue—a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn’t matter anymore, because now it’s about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.”He darts his eyes back and forth, trying to find an escape from her gaze, but he can’t. Suddenly, he bridges the small distance between them and kisses her. She did not expect it, and when he breaks off the kiss she realizes from the look on his face that he hadn’t expected it either. “What was that for?” It takes a moment for him to get his brain functioning again. “That,” he says, “is in case something happens and I don’t see you again.”“Fine,” she says, and she pulls him into another kiss—this one longer than the first. When she breaks it off, she says, “That’s in case I do see you again.”On the existence of a soul, whether unwound or unborn, people are likely to debate for hours on end, but no one questions whether an unwinding facility has a soul.Just as the airplane graveyard was Heaven disguised as Hell, harvest camp is Hell masquerading as Heaven.The word “evil” was never used by these people—except to describe the evils of what the world had done to them. What they were asking Lev, Mai, and Blaine to do wasn’t evil—no, no, no, not at all. It was an expression of all the things they felt inside. It was the spirit, and the nature, and the manifestation of all they had become. They weren’t just messengers, they were the message. This is what they filled Lev’s mind with, and it was no different than the deadly stuff they filled his blood with. It was twisted. It was wrong. And yet it suited Lev just fine.They meet in the girls’ bathroom. The last time they were forced to meet in a place like this, they took separate, isolated stalls. Now they share one. They hold each other in the tight space, making no excuses for it. There’s no time left in their lives for games, or for awkwardness, or for pretending they don’t care about each other, and so they kiss as if they’ve done it forever. As if it is as crucial as the need for oxygen.The first step is the hardest, but from that moment on he decides that he will neither run nor dawdle. He will neither quiver nor fight. He will take this last walk of his life in steady strides—and in a few weeks from now, someone, somewhere, will hold in their mind the memory that this young man, whoever he was, faced his unwinding with dignity and pride.“I know this is your hand now,” she tells him. “Roland would never have touched me like that.” Connor smiles, and Risa takes a moment to look down at the shark on his wrist. It holds no fear for her now, because the shark has been tamed by the soul of a boy. No—the soul of a man.“You . . . you lost your faith?” “No,” he says, “just my convictions. I still very much believe in God—just not a god who condones human tithing.” Lev begins to feel himself choking up with an unexpected flood of feeling, all the emotions that had been building up throughout their talk—throughout the weeks—arriving all at once, like a sonic boom. “I never knew that was a choice.”Harlan Dunfee’s, just a bit older, “Dad?” The Admiral is so overwhelmed by emotion he cannot speak, and so his wife looks at the man before her, at the people beside her, at the crowd all around her, and she says: “Welcome home.” (hide spoiler)]Original Review July 2013What a surprise! When I read the premise of the book I was like o.k. interesting but I got it from the library and it sat waiting to be opened until the day before it was due. Once I started I was enthralled…omg why did I wait so long to start. One of the most original stories I have ever read.“Unwinds didn't go out with a bang-they didn't even go out with a whimper. they went out with the silence of a candle flame pinched between two fingers.”This is a creepy and at times disturbing book told mostly from the point of three teenagers that have been given to the government to Unwind and use for parts. Connor is a troubled youth that his parents decided to have unwound instead of dealing with him. Risa is a ward of the state with no parents and since they need to reduce the number of teenagers by 5% due to the budget is deemed unimportant and set to be unwound. Lev comes from a religion that tithes and has known his whole life that when he turns 13 he will be sent to a harvest camp to be unwound or pretty much cut up into parts and put in other people. This book has a mind blowingly fast pace. There is always something happening and told from all the different vantage points it is amazing the full picture that is presented. You can get a little caught up in the philosophy of the premise, hey you can’t abort a baby but you can wait until that baby is 13 and then decide to Unwind them which isn’t technically death since all the parts are used or drop it on someone else’s porch and then it is just there problem. Some of the ideas are so twisted and shown in the extreme but it is fascinating and I really loved how even the characters could see the good and the bad of most sides.“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.”It was a non-stop rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, who do you trust, what is really going on and hoping that our characters make it out in one piece. Definitely a must read you will not be disappointed.

  • Jim
    2018-09-22 11:55

    There are nearly 5,000 reviews of this book on GR, and the official synopsis explains clearly what is meant by the term ‘Unwind’. So, I am going to assume that those who read this are familiar with the basic premise. If not, that’s okay - some of the context will be evident here. But it is much easier to review this without major spoilers if I don’t try to tap-dance around the basics.This book certainly deserves its legion of fans, and could become a phenomenal movie. I strongly recommend it for those who can handle the grim central themes. It plays on your deepest emotions, and gives your logic analyzer a good workout at the same time. There is a group of big ideas that I will discuss in the second half of this review. And one gut-wrenching core concept - that some unspeakably awful things are in store for a lot of teenage kids. Basic human values are redefined, including the ‘sanctity’ of human life and the responsibilities of parents to their kids. The historic origin for all this is the intransigence of human attitudes on both sides of a tough issue. The outcome is a tide of events that sweeps young humans into institutional crimes, and these are cynically accepted - and mostly ignored - by adults. These are all big, in-your-face polarizing topics. They demand a firm grasp on one’s own values, and value judgments of events in the story. But Shusterman never preaches here, and never pushes any final judgments except one - that the ‘solution’ in this fight over reproductive rights was at least as heinous as any of the original crimes.I liked the story and concept a lot. With that said, it seemed obviously farfetched at first, and I was expecting a more thorough world-building treatment than the one that I got early on. I struggled with that, and it was somewhat distracting. Fortunately, the narrative and the three main characters were highly engaging for me from the beginning. I was especially impressed by Risa, the excellent female lead - strong, tough, smart and adaptable, just what I want to see in this era of clueless insta-love. Any author would be proud of her, in my opinion. In addition, most of my background issues were covered by the midway point, and the narrative really rocked from that point on. Overview and commentsThis section will be relatively spoiler-free, I think. The author does provide a brief intro/history of the events that led to the central scenario here. It is enough to get you grounded and provide some context for the opening scenes. But for me, there was still a feeling that the author jumped into the story very quickly, with introductions to three teenagers who are facing critical moments in their lives. At that point, I still didn’t understand the rationale at any deep level, and the experience was a little disorienting.Gradually, however, there were enough details filtering into the narrative that I was able to focus increasingly on the characters and events. For me, both the characters and story were very effective from the beginning, and their momentum continued to build as the events took center stage. I was sympathetic with all three of the major characters, but especially with Risa - the orphaned ward of the state. As I have said in other reviews, we don’t see enough of her strength, savvy, and intelligent action (my opinion) in recent top-selling fiction. I really liked Risa, and my admiration for her grew through the course of the book.Connor was a frustrating protagonist for me, but I can understand the author’s purpose in writing him that way. Deeply compassionate - but temperamental and prone to impulses of very poor judgment - he had to grow in all sorts of ways as the story moved along, and he did. I wanted to slap him around a few times, and my view was shared by others in the story. But I was impressed by the author’s development of this character in latter stages.Lev was perhaps the most interesting character, in his striking transformation from one set of bedrock principles - as his earliest memories - to a radically different manifesto by the end. Lev gives you a lot to think about, and so do Risa and Connor. Their life journey really carries the book, and I thought the author was extremely effective in his use of them as the main vehicle.So, characters and events are the main thrust of the page-turning narrative, and it reached a point for me that I really couldn’t put it down toward the end. I even forgot to highlight passages on my Kindle for later review, and I swear it was not encroaching senility that made me forget! The book had a major grip on me - a really suspenseful, grab-and-don’t-let-go read.Thoughts on the Big QuestionsThis section will implicitly involve spoilers, but I have tried to minimize plot reveals.I want to focus here on the big questions that are always looming in the subtext. In particular, I want to take this scenario of a possible future and trace it back a bit to where we are now.How precious is human life? When does it become precious? What restrictions should the state place on the “Right to Life”, especially among the unborn? The turmoil surrounding these questions is a daily debate in current society (and I am thinking especially of the USA in this regard, where the story occurs).Shusterman presents a series of documentary examples: news releases, tales of despicable acts, extreme positions on all sides of these questions. He very pointedly avoids telling the reader what to think. Instead, he lets the characters think and talk about the issues.“Unborn babies… they suck their thumbs sometimes, right? And they kick. Maybe before that they’re just like a bunch of cells or something, but once they kick and suck their thumbs— that’s when they’ve got a soul.” “Maybe it’s the best answer of all. If more people could admit they really don’t know, maybe there never would have been a Heartland War.” In Shusterman’s telling, the conflict develops along naturally incendiary lines. It reaches a point where the belief in “sanctity of human life” is a mockery in relation to the war that grows out of the dispute.What happens in that case? Well, Shusterman presents a truly bizarre outcome that is the core premise of the book - an agreement that would never occur under normal, peacetime conditions. In a one-page dialogue, he reveals how this agreement came to pass. If you have read the book, you will remember the dialogue. At some point, you most likely took a position on both the outcome and the rationale, and your impression of the book was driven in large part by the position you took. That was certainly true for me.On first reading, the dialogue seemed inadequate to me as an explanation for the agreement. But it started to make a lot of sense on second and third reading, and by that point I found it plausible, no matter how cynical and sickening the implications were. My reading of history is that many critical turning-point events seem impossible until they happen, but seem inevitable after that. But some highly respected friends had a very different take in this case, and I can certainly understand their reactions. It is good to be aware of this going in. In any case, one implication of the agreement came through very clearly. There was a lot of money to be made from it, and powerful forces took that idea and ran all the way to the bank.“People wanted parts.” “Demanded is more like it... And all those new parts had to come from somewhere.” ”It didn’t take long for ethics to be crushed by greed. Unwinding became big business, and people let it happen.”Can Transplants Think?Whether or not souls exist Connor doesn’t know. But consciousness does exist— that’s something he knows for sure. If every part of an Unwind is still alive, then that consciousness has to go somewhere, doesn’t it?My take on these issues (in the book) is that teens are left to work the answers out for themselves, while adults look the other way.“The unborn have souls. They have souls from the moment they get made— the law says.” “maybe an Unwind’s spirit stretches out, kind of like a giant balloon between all those parts of us in other places. Very poetic.” Context and point of view are critical here. The conversations are among teenagers on the ‘firing line’. These are not adults, making rules based on hardened ideologies. They are kids who deal with the consequences. He tries to imagine himself stretched so thin and so wide that he can reach around the world. He imagines his spirit like a web strung between the thousand recipients of his hands, his eyes, the fragments of his brain— none of it under his control anymore, all absorbed by the bodies and wills of others. Could consciousness exist like that?He thinks about the trucker who performed a card trick for him with an Unwind’s hand. Did the boy who once owned that hand still feel the satisfaction of performing the trick? As an adult, I read these passages and think, “Nah. It wouldn’t be like that at all.” From my neuroscientist perspective, I wouldn’t expect any vestige of consciousness in any ‘harvested’ organ that is not a brain. But my adult perspective is not the issue here. These are teenagers who are trapped in a system that was born in warfare, hardened by greed, and then marginalized in the collective adult consciousness. Their bitter reality is carefully ignored on the radar of the average adult in this society. They are the living victims, and no adult is taking responsibility for explaining whether and in what sense they will remain alive.ConclusionsThis book has a lot of power, and has forced many adult readers (me included) to think more carefully about the consequences of ideology run amok. The story won’t work for everybody. But I will be extremely interested in the sequel that is coming soon, and one thing I want to see is whether adults can ‘grow up’ in this world. Actions have consequences, and responsibility doesn’t end when you don’t want to deal with it any more. Can we do better? I believe that is a good thought for any day.Highly RecommendedThanks very much to Erika and many other GR friends who recommended this book to me. I depend so much on their judgments in choosing the books that I read, and I am deeply grateful to have them on my side.There are so many excellent and moving reviews of this book on GR, from my friends and many others. Too many to list here. My advice - look at what your friends had to say about it, or just start at the top and go from there.