Unwind by Neal Shusterman
2007, Simon & Schuster
My Rating: 4/5
Description: (from Goodreads.com)
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 was a really interesting story. It is about these kids that are deemed unworthy of a normal life, so they are due to be “unwound” – a process that is basically about donating organs in the perspective that instead of death, the person lives on forever. A war between Prolifers and Prochoicers resulted in this Bill of Life that says abortions are against the law. So everyone has to live. The story is about these kids that are scheduled to be “unwound” but refuse their fate and are on the run.
First of all, the world building was perfect. The descriptions of the war and the laws were concise, clear, and interesting. They are concepts that are relevant in today’s society.
The variety of characters was appreciated, too. Connor has a temper problem, Risa is musically gifted but is unable to be supported by governmental financial aid, and Lev is a Bible thumper. Three radically different perspectives are intersected and challenged among each other. The minor characters are also well defined enough to the point of being able to develop a strong emotion for almost everyone.
The plot was really good, but had some issues. Everyone is on the run, trying to avoid being caught and unwound. I would have liked to see more focus on the actual skills of survival instead of a few minor examples. There were some great moments that showed their intelligence, but I was hoping for more. I liked the group dynamics vs individual selfishness dichotomies, because they felt like they really reflected human nature. I will admit, I would have gone lone wolf immediately so a part of me was hoping for more individual tips.
The ideas in this book are worth thinking about like organ donation, ethics, prochoice, prolife, free will, slavery, extremists, & many more. How you define “life” is central to how you will react to this book.
Overall, I think this is a great book to read for anyone. My only issues were in the details of survival and individual thought.