Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Summary via Goodreads:

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.

Review after the jump

So, like, this book totally came out of left field. Bailey was like, insisting that we read it because I made her read Vampire Academy. I so didn't want to. But I will say that after reading it I'm glad that I did. There is little to no romance in this book, which normally I would hate, but I liked the characters so much that it didn't bother me. The few "romantic" moments were sweet but I think there were like 2 total. So the lack of romance brings down my heart score.

But I did like the characters! Shusterman does a good job of characterization. I have read complaints about the multi-POV in this book. That didn't bother me. I like getting in everyone's head. I think the whole thing told from one POV would have made this book monotone and boring. I like Connor a lot but I don't think I would have liked him so much if the whole story was from his POV.

Again, I love Connor. I love his whole arc. He's a "bad kid" that is trying to work on controlling his temper. He's trying to figure out who he is in this world because his parents don't want him. He has a good heart that he tries to disguise. He has natural leadership qualities that annoy him. He doesn't want to be a hero but people expect him to be. He's totally a reluctant hero. And I like that about him. I also like that he does manage to grow and control his temper a bit near the end.

I liked Risa a lot. She's one tough chick without being overly cliché. She can take care of herself but she has that natural instinct of taking care of others. She's a cool chick that didn't annoy the crap out of me. When I don't want to deck a girl character in the face the author has accomplished something special.

Lev was a punk. I wasn't sure whether I was going to like him or hate him at first. I felt a little sorry for him but near the end I was done with that kid. He doesn't live in grey areas, he's a black and white character. I tend to dislike them.

I also hated Roland. But I liked that I hated Roland. You should hate the bad guy. He was not sympathetic, which is on purpose. You're supposed to hate him. So, good job author. 

Yea, so, I kinda liked this book. Let's say I didn't hate this book. The characters saved it for me because the romance was next to non-existent. Three hearts for good characters.


I like a good sci-fi story. I do. That's why I picked this. The ratings on Amazon weren't terrible so I had Mia give it a try with me. I think, in the end, I liked it more than she did but that's because she likes fluffy, mushy, gushy stuff. Me, I like a good story, regardless if characters fall in love.

And Shusterman tells a good story here. It's fast paced, never really having "down" moments. He keeps the characters moving; they have to be since they are on the run. There's not a lot of flowery words bogging the story down. The only complaint I would have about the execution of the book was the present tense. At times it jarred me out of the story and I had to reread a few lines. After a while I was ok with it but I think I just prefer past tense because it's what I'm used to. I would knock of half a star if we did half stars around here.

The overall story was interesting. It's definitely going to ignite readers on all sides of the spectrum. It gets you thinking about abortion, Pro-life vs. Pro-choice but, in my opinion doesn't take a strong stance on either side. You have characters that think both ways about life. There's even a huge discussion about when life starts in the middle of the book- I thought for sure I'd get a sense of what the author's stance was there. But really you got four different point of views on the subject and no one was touted as being the "right" one. I think it was a good job of getting people to think about something without being too political about the whole thing.

The idea of "unwinding" is creepy. It just is. But I don't think it's so farfetched that it would never happen. I think the explanation of how it happened was unrealistic- I think the author could have thought that through a little more. There's a better story in there than the one he told. That explanation was lazy on his part. My thoughts on "unwinding" is that it is plausible that you guys, as humans, would try to do something like that. I don't think the way it is portrayed in the book is feasible, there's some playing around with science and physics, but the theory is something I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about in the future. 

Now this book isn't for everyone. A lot of people don't like the scene where the unwinding is done to a character. That didn't bother me. It was disturbing but in a way that makes me think about how sacred life is, not in a way that grosses me out. I also know it would never be done that way; it's for the drama of the story. Sometimes you have to give a little leeway for storytelling. That part was one of those moments.

The story was also, for me at least, predictable. I wasn't overly surprised by any one thing that happened. It's not that it wasn't a good story, there was just nothing super special about it. I was entertained, my thoughts were provoked, and liked following these characters around.

It was a good story. It was told well. I'm fine with the ending of this book. I don't think I feel the need to read the other books in the series. I was torn between three and four stars but I think, in the end, it was good, not great. If you like sci-fi YA books I would read it. If you're looking for something a little more romance-y I would skip it.

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