Book Review: Unwind
October 12, 2016
Filed under Arts & Entertainment
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You’re 17, and you have your whole life ahead of you. Mistakes are bound to happen, and you mess up. It happens, no big deal… right? Fast forward into a future where a second civil war has been fought over reproductive rights: The Pro-Life and Pro-Choice armies finally reach a solution when one scientist discovered a new way to transplant every inch of the human body, into new hosts. Abortion is outlawed, and Unwinding, the new transplanting process, becomes a common practice. With medical advancements, doctors can now use every part of the human body in transplants. Lose a finger to frostbite? No worries! You can get matched for a brand new fully-functional finger! Skin grafts are now a thing of the past. You can get a replacement without having to cut off your own!
Where are all the donor parts coming from? Obviously a teenager isn’t going to want an elderly persons arm or leg. Instead, the feral teenagers who are doing no other good for the country, provide these pieces. Since abortion is no longer legal, parents have the option of Unwinding their child if they are between the ages of 13 and 18. Since the body parts are still alive and fully-functional, the life is not completely terminated, just put to better use.
In Neal Shusterman’s novel Unwind, three teens are on the run for their lives -in the literal sense. Connor, a troubled teen living in Ohio, finds his Unwind order in his parents’ office along with plane tickets dated for after his unwinding. Risa, a ward of the state, is sent to be unwound when state homes face budget cuts. Lev is a tithe for the church, which means his only purpose is to be unwound, and is unfortunate enough to be in the same area with Connor. Connor, Risa, and Lev (reluctantly) break free from the Juvey Cops -officers who collect and hunt down AWOL teens bound for unwinding- and go on the run to try and make it to their 18th birthdays, when they legally cannot be unwound. Connor becomes famous across the nation, known as the Akron AWOL, and it becomes even more difficult to hide with his two new friends.
I first read this book in the eighth grade and fell in love. The characters drive the story to unbelievable highs and lows. When I picked the book up one evening, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late into the night until the book was finished. The world Shusterman created is one that captivated me. I needed more. Luckily, this is only the first book in a four-book series.
This book could be disturbing to some readers, depending on your level of comfort with violent and controversial material. The book itself has an age of 13+ for reading. Above I have linked a video created by Mainstay Productions on YouTube. This video is creepy, but in an enticing way. If you’re on a school computer you will not be able to open this link, but at home I suggest going to YouTube and searching “mainstaypro unwind short film” and watching the video before you rid your mind of this review and book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone in the school. This story is one that will keep you up late into the night, thinking about the book even after you’ve finished it. Even now, almost a year after I finished the whole series, I find myself asking questions about the world that this story takes place in. If you are like me, and love when a story completely takes over you for a day, a week, a month, or even a year, please read this book. If you decide to read it, then let me know what you think of it! I would love to hear your feedback.
Unwind short film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9snP4HuRsr4