Sunday, September 26, 2010

Book Review - Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwind 
Author: Neal Shusterman
Year: 2009
Page: 335
Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? YES!
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
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.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

First Sentence:
"There are places you can go," Ariana tells him, "and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen."
Why did I pick this book?
I heard about this book from Reading On a Rainy Day's Friday Find. Even though I'd been trying NOT to add more books to my TBR list, for some reasons I just felt like I needed to read this NOW. I must've gotten the dystopian bug!

My thoughts:
  • WOW. I am so glad I read this! If you are into dystopian - read this next!
  • While, I still like the Hunger Games series better (okay, I just started reading Mockingjay today...), probably because Suzanne Collins' writing is a bit more engaging and less choppy, this book has one of the most intriguing concept! It takes "Safe Haven Law" to a new extreme... and yet, you can't help but think that it is realistic... 
  • "Tithing", the Storking Initiative, "Unwinding" 13-17 years old... all for the common good... was very interesting - it got my brain spinning. Now, I am not saying I am supportive of these rules, but it definitely made you think what if... [POTENTIAL SPOILER] if you're a parent, would you unwind your child, is unwinding still living or dying, is it better to sacrifice someone for the better goods of multiple people? Do orphans deserve to be unwinded just because no one loves them? Do you still have a soul if you're unwinded? Would you give up your baby for storking? What if you were forced to adopt? And the power of rumor... can start a riot! [/spoiler ended]
  • I like the names of the characters ("names" is one of my personal interests) - Dalton, Cyrus, Finch, Emby, Blaine, Lev, Jedediah, Risa, Josias, Roland, CyFi, Cy/Ty
  • I like Connor and Risa and CyFi. Lev - I don't know how I feel about him but I can see how he turns out to be the way he is. I thought CyFi would have a bigger role - but he was definitely a memorable character and my favorite
  • Part of the concept is similar to The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist but yet the two books are so different. Perhaps one deal with children, and one with older adults?
  • I think the reason why I like dystopian, is so I can tap into the author's creativity, things I could never imagine it myself and wish I could. Yes they can sometimes be depressing but the threat that it could become a reality, and that these are all very realistic scenario... made me glad that I can't live forever :) I guess I am typically not a very imaginative person, so I love reading about others' creativity. Very interesting that I typically like realistic fiction (like Still Alice) and this is as far away from that genre as possible
  •  Found a study guide online! It has some interesting questions and activities - great for schools or book clubs!
  •  There is a rumor that this will become a series... so who knows? It does have an ending, but it also leaves room for a Book 2 if the author wanted to. Would definitely read it if there is a 2nd book. Yet at the same time, it doesn't feel unfinished... would a Book 2 ruin it?

    "So everything we talked about was just a lie."
    "No," says Ariana. "It was a dream. Reality got in the way, that's all." (p9)

    "I ain't no runaway -- I'm a run-to," (p122)

    "Picasso had to prove to the world he can paint the right way, before he goes putting both eyes on one side of a face, and nose stickin' outta kneecaps and stuff. See, if you paint wrong because that's the best you can do, you just a chump. But if you do it because you want to? Then you're an artist." (p125)

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading
    Young Adult


    1. I've seen this book but didn't know what it was about, so thanks for the post.

    2. I read this during last fall's read-a-thon and it was perfect for it! It is fairly reminiscent of The Unit, isn't it? You're right though-- it is still so different from it as well. I remember the ending with the final reaping to be particularly emotional.

    3. I'm so glad my post inspired you. :D I so want to read this one. I love dystopia and this book sounds SOO awesome! Since you read it and loved it, I'm going to buy it soon. :D
      Thanks for reinspiring me. :)