Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

UnWholly (Unwind) by Neal Shusterman

UnWholly (Unwind) (edition 2012)

by Neal Shusterman

Series: Unwind (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5035320,248 (4.1)26
Title:UnWholly (Unwind)
Authors:Neal Shusterman
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 416 pages
Tags:YA, Lexile 800s, (860), dystopian

Work details

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
I picked this up right after finishing the first on audiobook, because finding a fast-paced story with a good narrator can be harder than it sounds. So once I found that with the first book in the series and I saw the rest of it had the same narrator, I figured I may as well continue along with it. While I found the first book engaging and thought-provoking, I found myself periodically bored with the plot in this one, and also found it more difficult to suspend my disbelief than before.

The basic premise is that Connor is all torn up over having the arm of his once-rival (who also just so happened to threaten to rape his girlfriend, Risa). He thus holds Risa at arm’s-length (pun intended) because he’s afraid of what his own arm will do. While I appreciate the fact that it must be truly atrocious for your boyfriend to now have your attempted rapist’s arm, I think the fact that Connor lends the arm so much agency is a symptom of one particular idea in this world-building that just doesn’t work for me. The idea that body parts have their own spark of soul or agency or thought. It’s rife in this entry in the series, and it’s just plain weird to me. I can understand a character not bonding with a transplant that was forced upon him. I can understand it being weird for loved ones. I don’t, however, find myself able to suspend my disbelief enough to believe that someone’s arm has their personality in it so much that the person who it was transplanted onto would be afraid of it. It’s an arm, not a piece of brain or even a heart. The author does provide links to sources about transplant recipients feeling connected to the person whose body part they received or having memories or what have you. I appreciate that. But for me personally this plot point just does not work. Other readers may be able to suspend their disbelief better than I was able to. I for once can’t imagine not going near my own girlfriend because I was afraid of my arm. I also just disliked how much agency Connor removes from himself for his own temper. If he hits the wall when he’s angry it’s not him hitting the wall, it’s the arm hitting the wall. The arm got mad. The arm got out of control. There’s just a ridiculous lack of agency there, and I’m not super comfortable with that level of lack of agency being in a book marketed toward teenagers, who are at the best point in life for learning agency and responsibility.

I similarly have a hard time believing, from a neurological perspective, that the rewind boy, Cam, could exist. His brain is dozens’ of peoples all wound together. I could believe replacing a brain piece here or there with transplant technology, I couldn’t believe mish-mashing many together and having them actually function. Let alone with the only issue being that Cam struggles to learn to speak in words instead of metaphors. While Cam did strike me as grotesque, he mostly just struck me as an impossibility that I was then supposed to have sympathy for because he’s a person with his own feelings…but are they really? The whole thing was just a bit too bizarre for me.

On a related note, I found the scenes where Cam wakes up and learns to talk and slowly realizes what he is to be very tedious to read. They move slowly, and there is an attempt at building of suspense, but it is clear nearly immediately that Cam is a Frankenstein’s creature like experiment, even without Cam himself knowing it right away.

The other big new character is Starkey, a boy who was storked who is brought into the Graveyard. He’s basically exactly the same as Connor (he’s even still a white boy), the only difference being that was a stork and that he has no Risa to ease down his temper. I found his characterization to be uncreative, even if the building up of strife between the storks and the rest of the unwinds was a good plot point. It would have been better if the leader of the storks was more creative. Similarly, Starkey’s two main assistants are a black girl and an Indian-American boy. Just as with the first book, non-white people exist, but only as seconds to the white people. Why couldn’t either of them have been the leader of the storks?

All of these things said, there was still a lot of plot to keep the interest. I’ve barely touched on a couple of them. The world is still engaging, even if it’s hard to suspend the disbelief for it. I doubt I’d keep reading if I was reading this in print, but the audiobook narration makes it feel like listening to a movie, and it’s the perfect match for my commutes and doing dishes and such. Plus, now I’m curious as to where else the plot will go. I’m betting it will end up going in a direction I find it even harder to suspend my disbelief for, but it’ll be a fun ride seeing where that is.

Overall, fans of the first book may be disappointed by the slightly more meandering plot in this one. The addition of two new characters to follow will be distracting to some readers while others will find it adds to the interest and suspense. Some readers may be turned off by the continued lack of diversity in such a large cast of protagonists. The plot is engaging and the world is unique, though, so fans of YA dystopian scifi will probably still enjoy it.

Check out my full review. (Link will be live October 21, 2015). ( )
  gaialover | Oct 20, 2015 |
4.5 stars

*****SPOILERS if you haven't read Unwind*****
Conner is running The Graveyard, where hundreds of kids who were supposed to be unwound have escaped to. Risa is there with him. Lev is under house arrest.
*****END SPOILERS*****
Starkey is a new AWOL unwind who has arrived at The Graveyard and is chomping at the bit to climb high and run the place. Cam has just woken up and is trying to figure out who he is and what's happening, while a woman, Roberta, tries to guide him through. Miracolina is a tithe who's parents decide at the last minute not to send her to be unwound, but she's believed all her life that this is her purpose and insists on going, anyway.

Starkey will meet up with Conner, Risa with Cam and Miracolina with Lev when things take a turn for the dangerous.

Wow! Another roller coaster ride, this one! I listened to the first book on audio, and it was amazing, but it was really one particular part in the audio (a very creepy thing to listen to, actually: the process of someone being unwound, from their point of view!) that made me want to find this one on audio, as well. However, after a few years, I gave up and read the hardcover. I'm actually glad I did, as there were so many different points of view to follow, I think the print did make it much easier to follow than the audio would have been. I was at a solid 4 star rating for this one, until the last quarter of the book or so, when everything hit the fan! Very exciting at that point. That upped my rating, in the end. ( )
  LibraryCin | Oct 12, 2015 |
Review later! ( )
  KillerCorp | Jul 27, 2015 |
This book is about a company called Proactive Citizenry. They were a group designed to keep unwinding under control. They turned into a group that supported unwinding, and made it worst. A new creation is created, and his name is Cam. He is a creation of unwind parts thrown together. Connor, Lev, and Risa are running towards answers this time instead of running away. Risa is seperated and meets Cam, and is scammed into supporting Proactive Citenzry. The Juvenile Authority comes and destroys the Graveyard.

This book was less exciting than the first book, but it was still good. My favorite person was Nelson the cop. My least favorite person was Cam. My favorite part was when Risa dissed on Proactive Citenzry. My least favorite part was when the Graveyard was destroyed. I can't wait to read the third and fourth book. They will probably be better than the first and second book combined. ( )
  RyanT.B3 | May 28, 2015 |
This book made me late to work. Books don't usually make me cry, but this one managed it. Well done, Mr. Shusterman. Well done. ( )
  reneenmeland | Apr 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Charlotte Ruth Shusterman
Love you, Mom
First words
He's fighting a nightmare when they come for him.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa, and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp, people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens and, in the same stroke, providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but expand, allowing the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished. Cam is a teen who does not exist. He is made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds. Cam, a 21st century Frankenstein, struggles with a search for identity and meaning, as well as the concept of his own soul, if indeed a rewound being can have one. When a sadistic bounty hunter who takes "trophies" from the unwinds he captures starts to pursue Connor, Risa and Lev, Cam finds his fate inextricably bound with theirs"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
258 wanted3 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.1)
1 1
2 4
2.5 1
3 19
3.5 5
4 55
4.5 4
5 45


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,865,024 books! | Top bar: Always visible