Friday, May 25, 2012

Book review: Unwind

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

I really, really liked this book.

It made me think a lot about real things -- about judging other people and whether you can deserve or not deserve the life you have. 

"Unwind" switches perspectives. This can be an awful tactic because you may not get to know anyone well if you're constantly jumping from one POV to another, but Unwind uses it well. 

When I told people (my mom, my doctor, friends...) what "Unwind" is about, they'd ask "but who would ever unwind their kids?"

The switching perspectives allow us to see who exactly would unwind their kid. See, first of all, it comes with no stigma. So in our mindset, you think "who would throw their kid away like that?" But in the mindset of many of the people in "Unwind," it's just as everyday as adoption. recycling. garage sales. It's something that some people do. And often, it's seen as a contribution to society.

The three main characters are Conner, Risa and Lev.

Conner comes from a normal family, but he's a hot head. He got into a lot of fights at school and didn't get great grades and his parents decide to unwind him.

Risa comes from a state home that just doesn't have the budget to keep all the kids until they'e 18.

And Lev--Lev was the most interesting to me. He's a tithe, in the religious sense of the word. His parents had ten kids, and so he's the ten percent they have to give up.

(All this is in the first 30 or so pages, so I'm not spoiling anything.)

I think I liked this book because it made you think about real things without shoving them down your throat. I know there are religious and political subtexts about abortion and human rights, but I can't say with any certainty which way the author leans.

"Unwind" is fast-paced and full of surprises. There are so many nuances about the unwinding process and many we don't learn until the end of the book. The characters were very real to me; I rooted for them and liked them. It was the kind of book that I read 90 pages without really noticing I'd read it.

Some people might feel like it pushes the issues too much. You do have to go in with an open mind. But I highly recommend "Unwind." 


Joslin said...

Unwind sounds like a book I could get into. Thanks for the share!

Lacey said...

I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy! Have to add it to my reading list! Thanks for sharing!

jennie said...

Whoa - what an interesting idea! Sounds like a great read!

Shoshanah said...

I have seen this book around, but really had no idea what it was about till now. And after knowing, it does sound like a book I would really love.

Katrin said...

Sounds very interesting! II have never heard about it but I will definitely put in on my list!

Anonymous said...

I need to unwind.

Sarah E. said...

Ahh! I like hearing good reviews of books I want to read - I haven't heard of too many people reading this one, so I'm glad you did! :) Great review


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