Unwind by Neal Shusterman

I picked up Unwind because it was chosen as our monthly book read in one of my Goodreads groups. I think I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise because the premise is kind of creepy.

UnwindHere’s a description of what unwinding means from the movie website:

Twenty years from now, life and death in America have changed…

Genetic engineering has shattered the boundaries of science as we know it.

Life expectancy has increased dramatically.

Organ transplant is at an all time high.

But social, medical and welfare resources are stretched to breaking point.

So, the Government comes up with a solution…

It’s called UNWINDING.

Parents can now “Unwind” their troubled teens – a surgical process by which all of a teen’s body parts are harvested for organ donation. And, according to the law, these teens are not dead, they are just living in a “divided state”.

In this world gone mad, if you’re a teenager, you’re a target until your 18th birthday.

Yes, you’d better start running…

And here’s a summary of the book from Neal Shusterman’s website:

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 family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

Sorry for the long descriptions, just wanted to provide a clear background to the story because the concept of unwinding can be a little confusing. At first, I though it was a horror story but although the plot is a little creepy, it’s not scary at all. The discussion for this book has started in my Goodreads group and a lot of us found the premise pretty hard to swallow. Unwinding supposedly was the solution that the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps agreed upon to end their war against each other. I can’t believe how they can all think that unwinding and living in a divided state is not equal to killing. I suspended my disbelief and went on to read the story because it does tackle interesting and unusual concepts. I had high hopes for this too because the group members who’ve finished reading the book have given it excellent reviews. However, I was never really sucked in by story and I wasn’t into it. The narrative was sloppy and a little chaotic for me, not because of the multiple points-of-view but because I felt like there wasn’t enough explanations for a lot of situations. I felt like the author kept giving facts about the world he created and just expects you to grasp the concept and believe them. For example, there were several mob scenes during the climax of the book but I didn’t think they were properly motivated. I thought the mob was pretty crazy. I don’t know, I may not be doing a good job of describing how I felt about the book but suffice it to say that I was disappointed.

Again, I’d like to say that maybe this book just wasn’t for me and I can certainly see why other people think it’s great. I’m not really into dystopian books and the ones that I ended up liking were The Hunger Games books. If you’re into dystopian or if the premise looks interesting enough for you, I suggest that you give it a try. I’d love to hear what other people think of the book.

I hope the book for our June monthly reading is a lot better! So far, I’ve been disappointed in the past two books.

2 thoughts on “Unwind by Neal Shusterman

  1. Hi thanks for sharing this. I have been looking all over metro manila for this book but I can’t seem to find it. If you don’t mind me asking, where exactly did you get your copy? And is it in paperback. I appreciate any response. Thank you!

    • I think I bought my copy from Fully Booked but I’ve seen this in Powerbooks and National as well. Just ask customer service if they have it in their system and what branches have copies.

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