Saturday 20 April 2013

Unwind (Unwind, #1) by Neal Shusterman


In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed - but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life - not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

  • Genre: Horror, Dystopia, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, thriller, survival
  • Age: mature young adult
  • Source: owned ebook 
  • Read from June 10 to 11, 2012

FINAL RATING: ★★★★★★/★★★★★

Unwind by ~grayside

This book deserves more than just 6 stars. It deserves 10! This is my ultimate fav young adult and it was one of the most amazing and emotional reads. It's a roller coaster of emotions and don't read it if you don't wish for your heart to shatter, or if you don't wish for your heart to be cut out. Because that's how i felt while reading this.

But - in every darkness, there is light, and even if this book might seem quite grim, it was balanced. Because it's Neal Shusterman and his talent to write is amazing. It's fast page turner as well, and it's fabulous. If you have a faint heart, you have been warned!  

Special mention: this review is dedicated to my dear Yael, who wished to know what I thought about it :D


The story is pretty much really dark, morbid, sinister & twisted. It's told from Connor, Lisa and Lev point of view in third person and there were povs which were told by different people as well.

In the future, there is no need for medicines. There is no need for anything. You loose an arm, you will get one back. You loose your eyes/ears/whatever and you will get it back. Every sickness is cured by transplanting organs, body parts and everything else. People stay healthy and happy...but that's not all. For everything, there is a price.
“You see, a conflict always begins with an issue - a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.”

It all began when the second civil war was fought over abortion. It ended, but the compromise that was reached was called Unwinding. It stopped the practice of abortion by having one law - Every single parent on earth has a right to "abort" their children from ages of 13-17 by having them Unwound. To be unwounded means to be separated into parts - every single part of the body - and having it donated to other people. The evolved genes and cells of the humans in this era allows for the body parts to remember the instincts or even memories of the original owner. And - every single body part is alive. So it's not a murder - basically, the one who is unwound is still 99,94% alive. You don’t die – you just stop living.

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.” 

And then there is something called storking. Since abortion is no longer possible, unwanted babies can be put on someone’s doorstep and they must keep the baby as their own child. Storking a storked baby is a crime, but people do it anyway.

“The way I see it, it's got nothing to do with all of that. It has to do with love...A person don't got a soul until that person is loved. If a mother loves her baby--wants her baby--it's got a soul from the moment she knows it's there. The moment you're loved, that's when you got your soul.

This story follows three teenagers: Connor, Risa and Lev. They are all to be unwound, one of them went out of control, one has no other choice, and one was getting ready for it whole life. But when fates intervene and all of them meet up, which choices will they make?

There was a scene of unwinding, and I must say…it was really and utterly disturbing…. And sick… and it makes me think – how can they think that is right and how can they just ignore it? This world is so cruel, and it gives me shivers to even think about all those parents who gave their children up. If this didn't depress you so much let me add that this book had HEA ending.


Connor :

Fifteen-year-old Connor's parents can no longer control him. He is a typical, bad boy type, problematic, but in the end – his parents decided to get him unwound. When he accidentally found the signed contract for unwinding – he became as good as possible to try to make them see what they had done. But when the time comes, he is forced to escape. And, by doing so, caused an accident that killed a bus driver, left dozens of others injured. And then, he took a hostage AND shot a Juvey-cop with his own tranq gun. Fascinating.

“Most people have two emergency modes. Fight and Flight. But Conner always knew he had three. Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally.”

He is not a bad person at all...he is really really good soul and he is brave and reckless and you just can't help but feel for him the whole book. There was one part of the book with him which made me cry my eyes out.

Risa :

“Connor tries to hold her arm to give her support, but she shakes him off and throws him a nasty gaze. "If I want your help, I'll ask. Do I look feeble to you?"
"Actually, yes."
"Looks are deceiving." she says. " After all, when I saw you, I thought you looked reasonably intelligent."
"Very funny.”

Risa, a ward of the state, is a victim of shrinking budgets since she is not a talented enough musician to be kept alive. She plays piano - she is quite good actually, but it was not enough and she is forced to escape as well.

Lev :

"I never knew there was a choice.”

Lev, a tithe, was raised by religious parents for the sole purpose of being unwound. It became his religion - his faith - that God had chosen him to help other people. Tithes can choose when they wish to be unwound - and they all do it mindlessly. Lev is one of those and when Connor and Lisa kidnap him, he makes their lives living hell - until he understands what it's like to be normal.

Other characters :

There are many, many characters in this book: sarcastic, bullies, idiots, geniouses, brave ones, horrifying ones and so on... I wish to talk about all of them but it would take whole review so i'm skipping it :D


It’s one of the thought provoking books, and it makes you think a lot about abortion, of organ donation of politics and religion and of health. Is it really worth it all??? Are the lives of thousands of children worth of being unwound because they couldn’t be cared for or if there wasn’t enough money to keep them alive? The ending was amazing and fantastic – and the sequel is even better (having read it before). And another thing: it's going to be movie :D (it's going to be such horror :D)


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