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Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1)
Unwind - Unwind, Bk 1
Author: 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 ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9781416912057
ISBN-10: 1416912053
Publication Date: 6/2/2009
Pages: 352
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 94 ratings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

GeniusJen avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader for TeensReadToo.com

In his chilling new novel, Neal Shusterman paints a picture of a world where there aren't any cures and doctors, just surgeons and replacements.

Three unwanted teenagers face a fate worse that death -- unwinding. Their bodies will be cut up, and every part of them used, from their brains to their toes. But if they can stay out of the authorities' clutches until the age of eighteen, they just might survive....

The most frightening science fiction novels are always the ones that are most similar to our world. Shusterman doesn't fail to describe how a wrong solution to a modern issue can affect generations to come. Thought-provoking, terrifying, and almost inconceivable, UNWIND will keep you reading late into the night.
writer-renegade avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Very rarely do I finish a book... especially a very full book... and want to keep reading it. All I could really say when I was done was "wow," or laugh like a moron while uttering "oh my gosh" over and over again.

The point I'm getting at here is that if you haven't read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, I strongly recommend you get yourself a copy and read it as soon as possible.

It's years into the future. Years after the second civil war -- the Heartland War -- the war that pitted Pro-Life and Pro-Choice against each other. In the turmoil, a solution was formed. No longer can a child be aborted, but it can be unwound once it turns thirteen. Every piece of this child is still alive, but it is in a divided state -- unwound.

Connor is sixteen, and got into one too many fights at school. Risa is fifteen, and is taking too much space in the state home. Lev is thirteen, and he's a tithe. All three have been marked to be unwound. The three find themselves together as they run from the Juvy-cops. And it isn't easy, especially since Lev sees himself being an Unwind - a tithe - as a good thing.

Throughout the pages we get to know Connor, Risa, Lev, and a few other people along the way. The story goes deep into it's own history, and into ethics and morality, and even makes the reader question if there is a God. At times this book is almost scary, and it creeps into you. At times I thought about how I was lucky I'm 19 and too old be an Unwind.

The writing is spectacular. And even though it takes place in the future, it doesn't focus on that fact. But the book does include interesting ideas, like how there is not "black" or "white" skin colors, but "umber" and "sienna."

It was a little hard to get through, but the more I read, the more I wanted to know what was going to happen, and my only disappointment is that it's over.

Oh, and this book earns another point because I'm pretty sure that there was a reference to Back to the Future when it says "an old movie plays on an antique plasma-screen TV. The movie shows a crazy vision of a future that never came, with flying cars and white-haired scientist." Tell me that's not Back to the Future II.

Unwind... go read it... now.
reader446 avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 3
Stayed up until 5 am reading it. I couldn't put it down. Read it and find out for yourself. It's worth it.
Chocoholic avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I don't remember where I heard about this book, but it is an amazing and quick read. Author Neal Shusterman imagines a future America where abortion has been outlawed once and for all, but in exchange, teens from ages thirteen until their 18th birthday can be "unwound" by their parents. Unwinding is essentially taking the body apart and donating all of the parts to needy patients. The idea is that the teenager doesn't actually die but lives on through his or her "donation." This is a vividly told young adult novel that is part sci-fi, part horror, told through the alternating points of view of three teenagers who have been sent to be unwound and decide that they want a different future for themselves. I read this book in less than a day and found it immensely compelling. A young adult book that really makes you think about the pro-life and pro-choice decisions that are constantly in the news.
ophelia99 avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have had this book to read for a long time. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. The book is fairly engaging and decently written but I had trouble getting around the main premise of the story which just seemed ridiculous to me.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was okay. The narrator was a bit too intense for the story and I though some of the character voices sounded similar. It was an okay audiobook but not great.

The second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights and the outcome was insane. All life must be preserved at all costs; children from birth to thirteen must be cared for. However between the ages of thirteen and eighteen parents can choose to have their children Unwound into parts. These kids are not killed but every piece of them is used for parts to replace failing parts in other people.

The book follows three main kids who are slated to be Unwound. The first is Connor whose parents just can't control him, the second is Risa who is a ward of the state, and the third is Lev who was born as a tithe (he was born to be Unwound).

If you can get past the premise that parents are all good with reducing their children into parts than you will enjoy this story more than I did. I found the whole main premise to be a bit underdeveloped. Basically if you haven't proven that you are worth something to society by age thirteen then you are Unwound. However, it wasn't ever clear to me what the motivation for parents to Unwind their kids was. Do they get kickbacks from the government? Or are there just a lot of parents out there that get so frustrated parenting teenagers that they want them killed?

Additionally the fact that the majority of human society would be okay with this is crazy. I mean really, are people going to buy the fact that even though these kids are reduced to body parts they live on?

Assuming that you can swallow the main premise there are some interesting issues in here. Unfortunately none of them were fully explored. For example the idea of Storking is discussed some in the story and explored for the first third of so of the book and then dropped. Also the idea that some people who get parts from Unwound kids find they retain muscle memory or other memories is brought up a few times but never really expanded on.

So while there are some interesting ideas in here I felt like the story tying those ideas together fell a bit short. The book is more like a string of cool (if far fetched) ideas than an engaging story.

The book is action packed read and pretty well paced (there were only a couple parts that were slow). However I never really engaged with the characters and I had a hard time swallowing the main premise of the story, I just couldn't get past that.

Overall this book was okay; there are some interesting ideas here but the main premise of the story was too far fetched for me. I had some trouble engaging with the characters as well and thought the story was a bit disjointed. Honestly the whole story seems a bit immature. I enjoyed Shusterman's Skinjackers series a lot more. I wouldn't recommend this series and won't be reading any more books in it.
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reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 41 more book reviews
This dystology is fascinating and a great read. Heavy material to write about and extremely thought provoking. I selected the book for my book club and six years later, this book still comes up in conversation; not only was it liked by everyone (first shocker), but the subject matter still invokes some rich conversation (yes, a book we continue to talk about years later).

The first book can easily be read on it's own. I did not read the second book until several years later and then I was hooked.

It is not often that you read a fiction book that really makes you think of your personal ethics and politics, but in a way that is not judgmental, but just for your own thoughts and perspective.

I highly recommend the book, the whole series, if you like the first book!
reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 289 more book reviews
Often mentioned in connection to abortion, Unwind features a fascinating and morally complex dystopia that comes alive through its three central characters. As a compromise to end the second American civil war over reproductive rights, teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age can be "unwound" by parental choice and their organs transplanted into other individuals. So reconfigured, life does not really end, but tell that to Conner, whose parents found his behavior too troubling; Risa, a Ward of the state; and Lev, a human tithe raised to be unwound. As their unwindings draw near, an action-packed adventure starts when their paths collide. Although classified as a Young Adult novel, Neal Shusterman raises some very profound, adult philosophical questions in this book beyond pro-life vs. pro-choice. One can relate to the characters who develop as the action-pack plot progresses, and one gets the sense that things are happening offscreen as well. This was a YA book that kept my attention and interested me in its sequels.
BetsyP avatar reviewed Unwind (Unwind, Bk 1) on + 566 more book reviews
Futuristic/Dystopian teen fiction by Neal Shusterman. In this very screwed up future, parents have the option of authorizing their children under the age of 18, to be "unwound." Essentially, this allows the kid to be taken apart, piece by piece, for body part donation.

Troubled teen Connor is sent to be unwound, but escapes. Along the way, he meets Risa, a ward of the State who is also to be unwound, simply because she isn't talented enough, and the state must make room for other orphans. And then there is Levi, who is the tenth child of wealthy parents, and was conceived for the express purpose of being unwound.

This is an incredible story. I started it, and couldn't put it down. Now I wish I'd bought the sequel at the same time.

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