author : neal shusterman
pages : [hardcover] 335
memorable quote : I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.
favorite character : connor & risa
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.
I’m writing this review after rereading Unwind and realizing that I’d never reviewed it the first time I picked up this novel! Let me tell you first off that this book is very disturbing. Just imagine being afraid that one day your parents think you’re too much trouble to raise and they could easily sign an order that will have you shipped off and taken apart . . . An unwilling organ donor who’s saving lives at the expense of their own because society has deemed them worthless.
Two concepts I found highly intriguing in the book were tithing and storking. A tithe is brought up from birth knowing that they will be unwound when they reach thirteen. Whether because of religious convictions or not, these children are taught that their higher purpose will only be served once they reach a ‘divided state of living’. Storking is when new mothers can leave babies on any doorstep they choose, so long as they are not caught in that act. It’s like a terrible game of finders-keepers because whether or not that family wants the baby, they’re stuck with it when they open the door and find it there. Children are growing up knowing their families didn’t really want them, only to be unwound when they reach the age limit because their families no longer want to look after them.
It’s heartbreaking to hear the different stories the runaways have and why their parents justified what is essentially killing them, only worded differently so that the families feel better about it. Some parents couldn’t decide who should have custody of the child so they decided to have him unwound instead. There were kids with anger management issues or ones with criminal problems, but for every child like that there were several more who had parents who were the problem. Unwind makes you question and wonder whether this process could be justified in any case.
Also spoken about in this book is a past, second Civil War fought over rights to life. Because this is such a big issue in today’s society, it’s not so hard to think that people could go to extremes to protect and project their beliefs. That’s what makes this ultimately a frightening warning.
I’d recommend this book to anyone and I can’t wait to continue this series. It’s horrifying and captivating all at once. On top of that, it’s well-written.