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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
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Unwind (2007)

by Neal Shusterman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Unwind (1)

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2,9242761,966 (4.28)200
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» See also 200 mentions

English (275)  Italian (1)  All languages (276)
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
In a futuristic United States, it has become legal that parents can allow their children to be "unwound" with their physical parts given to more useful members of society. This legal decision was passed after the US entered into a civil war regarding the issue of abortion. While abortion was made illegal, parents of unruly or unwanted teenagers were thereby permitted to allow their teens to be unwound, with the idea that their parts would live on and life would continue in another form.

Conner is a desperate teenager who runs away from home after he learns that his parents have signed a legal order for his "unwinding". As he attempts to escape from a world of juvie cops who hunt down AWOL Unwinds, he runs into several other teens also seeking refuge. Along the way, they are assisted by a few adults who help them escape from their imminent death via an underground railroad. A fast paced adventure, the story gradually picks up speed as the danger in the story increases for Conner and his new allies.

Although this book was clearly written for juveniles, I found the topic interesting and the story engaging. The writing was a little too simplistic and the characters were shallow but I was racing to the end due to the high level of suspense in the storyline. An interesting twist on the slippery slope of the abortion vs. life debate, which will be fun to discuss with my book club as we decide which of our own children we would give up for unwinding (just kidding). ( )
  voracious | Dec 15, 2014 |
(3.5 stars) Like many dystopian novels, this one begs for discussion. Somewhere in the not-too-distant future, the population of the U.S. has gone to war over pro-life and pro-choice. The result is a compromise: if you're deemed unwanted once you reach your teenage years, you can become unwound. In other words, you can go under the knife where surgeons will divide all of your body parts and redistribute them to those who need them -- the theory being that unwounds never actually die, but live on in the bodies of others.

Obviously, yes -- this is a story that brings up all sorts of controversial subject matter. It should be a good book for my upcoming book club discussion. However. This book could've been so much better, I think. The writing was just mediocre, and that really killed it for me. Had it been better-written, this had the potential to be a 5-star novel. It should've been longer, the characters should've had more depth, etc., etc. I realize it was written for a younger audience, so I probably need to take that into account. But then I think about how others of the genre (not mentioning any specific names) were also written for a teen audience and not as poorly written. So ultimately I am torn. I liked the book for the controversial subject matter. The writing could've been much better. ( )
  indygo88 | Dec 5, 2014 |
I think this book shows a terrifying possibility of the future! A future where children can be retroactively aborted by "unwinding" them is a somewhat disturbing future. That element alone elevates this book to a dystopian story.

This book is another in the line of books that are teen fiction of a dystopian world where the teens are the ones fighting for survival because the Dark Ages mindset of the adults has put them at risk.

We follow the path of 3 teenagers set to be unwound, or literally taken apart to be used as spare parts. Connor, our anti-hero, is a troublesome young man with anger issues, who always does the right thing, although he acts impulsively. Risa, the love interest, is a ward of the state, and although completely well behaved and musically talented, her talent isn't good enough to keep her alive in lieu of the ever increasing budget cuts. Lev is a tithe, a child born and bred specifically to be unwound, and thus views himself to be holy. These three are set on a journey of self-discovery, redemption, and chaos because of the actions taken by Connor to survive.

Interestingly enough, all the adults they interact with either don't like the idea of the unwinding, or view it as a necessity, usually because the unwinding process is somehow a part of their job (the Juvey cops that have to collect AWOL Unwinds, or the surgeons who do the unwinding, for example). I always find it interesting when the people living in the world are completely displeased with the way things are. I'm sure there are others who believe in the concept of unwinding, but we really didn't get to see them.

This book tackles some pretty heady issues: Do we have a soul? What happens to the soul if the body is not kept intact? Are we inherently good or bad? And it gives some views into the battle of reproductive rights. While showing how dangerous advocates on both sides of the abortion line may be, the book never quite takes a stand on the issue.

For me, this book has a good balance of action, suspense, and "real issues". I enjoyed that it followed the different characters and that each character had their own quest that was interrelated but not the same. They weren't subplots, but parallel plots that helped each character to achieve their individual self-realization, while simultaneously moving the story forward for all three main characters.

It was an enjoyable, but thought-provoking read, and I would highly recommend it! ( )
  LadyLiz | Nov 25, 2014 |
An interesting idea for a book, maybe not the best storytelling, but the ideas make up for it. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
read this a while ago, all I can remember is that it was a really weird book, but very interesting nonetheless. ( )
  Ber239 | Sep 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 275 (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."
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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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