In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called “unwinding.” Unwinding ensures that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child’s body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breath-taking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

The cover of this book drew me in — it’s like it was trying to tell me this was going to be a scary ride. I had no idea what I was in for!

The topic itself is an amazing concept —- a mistake I can almost see our society making somewhere down the road. Abortion makes people uncomfortable because it is taking life away from someone, but massive teenage organ donation isn’t really killing anyone, right? Being unwound is simply the state of being alive but permanently divided.  The really scary thing is that Shusterman writes so well that you can almost understand the rationalization while at the same time feeling such sympathy for the characters that are literally running for their lives.

The book follows three teenagers on the run, each being unwound for a different reason: Connor is your normal rebellious teen whose parents have had enough — Risa is a ward of the state and, thanks to unwinding, she can also be seen as a budget cut — Lev is a child from a religious home and his parents believe tithing extends to every aspect of life. Although Unwind is a story of their struggle to survive, there is so much more to it. As more of the story unfolds, Shusterman really brings us all to question the morality behind every action taken, both in the world he has created and in the one around us.

Would I add it to the library?

I am intrigued to see where the series goes from here. It is on my list to go out and get the next book, Unwholly.


Genre: Fiction – sci-fi, future
ISBN: 9781416912057
Rating:  good

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