Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Rating: ✪✪✪✪


November 6th 2007


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.

First Thoughts:

How can a parent decide to get his child to be unwound? How is abortion a worse evil than abandon a child to her faith, or decide 13 years later that the child life will continue another way? As soon as I lay my eyes on the book concept I felt the usual aversion/curiosity battle explode on my brain. Curiosity won.


This book struck me as fascinating as disturbing.

The whole concept is something that not only I can’t comprehend, I refuse to even try. The Bill of Life is something despicable in the worst way possible. I won’t take sides in the Pro Life and Pro Choice war. Both are right and wrong depending on morals, education, cultural and political beliefs, but, in the end, they are a personal matter, particular to a personal point of view.

Now, retroactive abortion? That is inhuman. That is disturbing. That is murder. And that was my main problem with the book. The way that they face the whole unwind process. Is not murder because technically life doesn’t end. If the teenager doesn’t work whole, let’s divide it to tiny pieces so he can function properly. Why fixed the problem with a bad heart when we can just replace it? I would probably be more comfortable if they used unwind as an alternative to the death penalty, but between ages 13 and 18? As a solution to problematic children? As a solution for the state wards bills? As a way to pray for God?

Hell NO!

That been said, I did liked the book. A LOT. It has structure. The way that it changes from POV allows us to see the story evolving and the characters feelings, struggles and reasons to act the way they do. Neil Shusterman did an excellent job in exploring the consequences and dark side effects of the unwind process. The urban legends and secret groups are a nice touch.

Connor, Risa and Lev are solid characters with flaws and qualities, and their journey and evolution really kept me going page through page.

I’ll be continuing with the series.

Book Series:
Unwind Trilogy #1


“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.”
― Neal ShustermanUnwind 

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”
― Neal ShustermanUnwind

 “You can’t change laws without first changing human nature.’

-Nurse Greta

You can’t change human nature without first changing the law.’
-Nurse Yvonne”
― Neal ShustermanUnwind

“Would you rather die, or be unwound? Now he finally knows the answer. Maybe this is what he wanted. Maybe it’s why he stood there and taunted Roland. Because he’d rather be killed with a furious hand than dismembered with cool indifference.”
― Neal ShustermanUnwind

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