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Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind (2007)

by Neal Shusterman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Unwind (1)

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» See also 192 mentions

English (242)  Italian (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
Unwind is one of the most incredible dystopian novels I have ever read. I literally had to sit and think about what I had just read once I reached the end, and believe me, I had not put the book down for a second until I did reach the end. I would describe Unwind as an intense and insightful journey into the darker side of human nature.

It seems that our society is so willing to put a price tag on anything, marketing, buying an selling, determining value based on monetary worth. Shusterman just takes that next step and has us imagine if society were to decide to buy and sell life itself. Society, of course, put a pretty face on it, calling it Unwinding, or living in a "divided state" and justifying it by saying that the kids will technically still be alive since every single body part is harvested and used. It may seem, at first, that this is a farfetched concept but I don't think that it is. I think that people might be surprised at just how many parents would be willing to sell out their own kids in this way. Shusterman presented these parents so very realistically, so self righteous and judgmental, so willing to lie to their kids and to themselves to convince them that what they were doing was justified since it was socially acceptable. Then the first time they were confronted with the results of the horror they perpetuated on their own children, they would be offended as if they were the victims.

Shusterman did an incredible job building the tension and suspense. As I got further and further into the book, it became progressively more difficult to read, almost uncomfortable. It was so amazingly perceptive, I could really feel what these characters must have been going through as they struggled to survive, on the run from those who wanted to harvest their body parts because, according to society, their lives were not worth enough to allow them to continue to live. I was so impressed that the author took a volatile controversial subject like pro life vs. pro choice and based the premise around this debate but did not in any way come off as preachy. After reading the book, I still don't have an inking where he stands on the issue. That in itself is impressive.

The actual act of "Unwinding" is horrific, terrifying, and I found myself still thinking about it as I fell asleep that night. This is definitely the kind of book that sticks with you. One reason I believe dystopians like this are so scary yet so compelling is because they are so utterly plausible. So many things are treated as a commodity to be bought and sold, its not a far leap of the imagination to think that one day even life could be treated that way too. If you think I'm wrong, watch an episode of Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. Thats not exactly harvesting body parts, but its still life being exploited as a commodity, for others entertainment and enjoyment. Like I said, its not that far a stretch of the imagination to go from that to Shusterman's futuristic society.

Shusterman shifted effortlessly from one point of view to the next. Normally, this style of writing would have driven me nuts, but in Unwind, it wasn't a problem. I can't imagine the book being as effective without the alternating POVs. It definitely worked in this instance without being the distraction one would think it would be. The actual famous quotes he added throughout the book added to the plausibility of the plot.

Each character brought something different and important to the story. Even the secondary characters played such an integral part of the story, there wasn't any introduced that wasn't absolutely essential and each one had their own story, their own depth. Troubled teenagers making stupid, impulsive decisions but were still so endearing because of their genuine fear and confusion about what was happening to them. Some of their stories were heart wrenching and more than once I found myself teary eyed.

There were a few flaws of course. The notion that harvested body part can retain any level of consciousness goes too far past believable for me, but I guess this is ultimately a fantasy novel so some things do not need to be in the realm of scientific possibility. That was just one small aspect of the book that didn't work for me. Everything else was perfection.

I simply cannot recommend this book enough. I know that there is no way my jumbled review did this book the justice it deserved but beleive me when I say this is one you don't want to miss. Especially if, like me, you are a fan of dystopian themed fantasy. ( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
I'm still digesting this one. I went through several emotions while reading this book - anger, disbelief, sadness, etc. At times, I felt that it got a little preachy on the pro-life side (which didn't sit well with me), but then it would switch and feel like the author was making a case for pro-choice. Perhaps I am over-thinking what was simply meant to be a good YA book, but I have a feeling I'll be thinking about it for a while. ( )
  joyhclark | Mar 13, 2014 |
This was really good. It dealt with the harsh reality of these kids situations so elegantly. It was practically poetically philosophical. I'm am very interested to read more in this series. ( )
  bethie-paige | Jan 29, 2014 |

I think everyone who has read the description on Amazon or some other site, will have thought 'Eghh'. It sounds awful, the idea, not the premise of the book. Unwinding itself is almost evil itself. And even worse, it is presented as something for the better ( it reminded me a bit of Never Let Me Go)

I got this book as a Christmas present, and was very curious about it. There were parts I thought were really interesting, some parts that were quite boring, and some that were truly disgusting/shocking. Overall, it was a nice Dystopian read and I'm planning on reading the next book as well. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 23, 2014 |
4.5 stars

In this dystopian novel, teenagers can be "unwound" once they hit 16 years old; that is, taken apart piece by piece, so that each part of them can be used to help heal other people. This book focuses on three "unwinds", as they are called, kids who are supposed to be unwound, each becoming an unwind via a different route. When Conner escapes with Risa, and they "kidnap" Lev along with them, they are on the run for their own survival.

This was a very exciting book, I thought. I was drawn in from the start, and although a few places here and there slowed down a little bit, I wanted to keep reading (or listening to the audio in my case). The book just got more and more exciting and tense and suspenseful as it drew towards the ending. Be warned, though, that there is an absolutely horrifying description of one kid being unwound - at least I found it incredibly horrifying (but it made the book so much more suspenseful and exciting for it, I thought). I wonder if it was more horrifying, as it was being read to me and I was listening to it happen vs. reading the words on the page. Anyway, it was a very very good book and will make my favourites list this year. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
Let me start off by by saying that this is a really good book. I am having a really tough time getting through the first half of this book. Not because it's boring but because of how sickening it is. The idea of taking someone apart (willingly or other) is a really hard thing for me to stomach. That and the fact that the way this story is portrayed, unwinding is an actually feasible possibility in the real world. what's unwinding? Unwinding is when you take someone (they're always a minor), take their bodies apart, and send the parts off so that another person can have them. I bet you just reread that sentence, thinking: "what the hell?" but yeah, that's what it is.See, when they do this, it technically isn't murder, so to them that makes it okay. This is an interesting book that I am actively forcing myself to get through because I enjoy it just about as much as I am nauseated by it.
added by morgan434 | editepub

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neal Shustermanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to the memory of Barbara Seranella
First words
"There are places you can go," Ariana tells him, "and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen."
What he and Risa have isn't a relationship; it's just two people clinging to the same ledge hoping not to fall.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In this futuristic society teenagers can be “unwound” for any number of reasons, including being a state ward or juvenile delinquency. When Connor finds out his parents have signed to order to have him unwound, he becomes a fugitive and accidentally frees a busload of other potential unwinds. He and his friend Risa must stay on the run until their 18th birthdays. With the help of some adults they find themselves in a colony of fugitives. But all is not well here, either, and it’s hard to tell who’s friend or foe.
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In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to survive until they turn eighteen.

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