Monday, January 21, 2013

{Review} Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Format: Library Hardcover
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Release date: November 6, 2007
Date Read: January 9, 2013 - January 12, 2013
Rating: ✭✭✭✭
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.

This cover reminds me of the HUMAN CENTIPEDE poster, which really isn't the best comparison. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

UNWIND is pretty awesome.

Amidst the horrified comments from my reviewer friends (“HOW HAVE YOU NOT READ THIS ALREADY, OCEANA?”) I finished reading UNWIND with my jaw slack. Unbelievably creative, with interesting main characters and unique writing, UNWIND is also littered with interesting historical
and political facts - not our government and history, but those of the world Connor, Risa, and Lev live in.

Unwinding has been accepted as a common process to get rid of teenagers for a long time now... see, they’re soul isn’t dead, but their body parts are donated to those in need. From the age of
thirteen to seventeen, teenagers are eligible for Unwinding. Rebellious teenagers, useless teenagers, religious teenagers - those are the categories that Connor, Risa, and Lev fall into.

Naturally, wanting your body chopped into tiny pieces isn’t what Connor really wants, deep inside. Escaping his certain death, Connor meets unwanted ward of state Risa, who accompanies him on his quest to NOT GET SPLIT INTO TINY PIECES AND LOOSE YOUR BODY. Lev, a thirteen-year old religious tithe, is also swept up into this mess - but unlike Risa and Connor, he goes on his own journey to make up his mind and discover himself.

So, like I said. Awesome. Awesome plot.

I haven’t encountered characters I liked so much in a while. Granted, I’m not talking about ZOMFG-MARRY-ME characters (Jem Carstairs, anyone?) or GIRL CRUSH ASDJKLLLDFJIHFUE;; (Nastaya Crowe for sure), but just... relatable characters that you didn’t want to grab by the hair and scream at. Characters that make decisions that’d make sense to you, too - even if they turned out to be some of the stupidest ones ever.

I had a slight issue with the writing, because, well, it’s weird. It’s kind of tell rather than show sometimes, but at others it’s fine. UNWIND is written in present tense, omniscient; something I’ve never read before and it works... most of the time.

And this book is INTENSE. I was practically balling my firsts while reading it, because the suspense was killing me. UNWIND was disturbing, though not in a completely gory way... disturbing and
dark, because it makes you think.

And think.
And think.
And think.

The ending literally killed me. I almost wanted to cry inside, because it just shows how dedicated and loyal teenagers people can be.


UNWIND was really, really great and I totally regret not reading it years ago. 

I’m so stooooooopid.

Oceana is a French-blooded teenager who enjoys stalking British boys and asking them to marry her. She was diagnosed with severe fangirl disorder in 2011. Able to curse like a sailor with an angelic voice.


  1. Glad to hear you liked it! ^_^ Unwholly is just as good (I need to finish my review of that when I'm not bogged down with essays...), but Unstrung - the in-between novella - was kind of meh.

    1. It was really good, Vanessa! Thanks for bugging me to read it. <3

      I'm looking forward to UnWholly and I might read Unstrung... maybe...

  2. Unwind is the only book I have given a 5-star so far, so yes, I thought it was that awesome. I thought Unwind didn't need a second, or a third book, and so when I read UnWholly... Eh. To say that I was disappointed was quite an understatement.

    New follower! (The snark is quite refreshing and amusing.)

    1. I've heard that it was a huge letdown. :/ Eurgh. I'm sure I'll read it, but I'll probably be as disappointed as the rest of you.

      Thank you! <3