By Neal Shusterman
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.
"What if your parents could unwind you?" with that one question I was hooked. I was intrigued by the idea of this book and figured I'd give it a shot and all I can say is "wow". I now know why Neal Shusterman has such a huge fan base; he is brilliant! I have since read a few other books by him and loved them all but Unwind will always be by far my favorite. The world Shusterman has created is a disturbing one where abortion has been made illegal but it is completely acceptable "to retroactively "abort " a child between the ages of 13 and 18 on the condition that the child's life doesn't "technically" end". Connor is a troubled teen whose parents decide to unwind him rather than deal with him but before the Juvie cops can collect him Connor runs away. Risa is a state ward and according to the state her body parts and organs are more important than she is as a whole. Lev is a tithe, told since birth that it is his privilege and religious duty to be unwound at the age of thirteen. Due to chance happenings Connor, Risa, and Lev's paths cross and lives are forever changed. I liked how events unfolded and seeing how they affected and changed the characters especially Lev; the character development was never rushed or over the top and always believable. This book is fast paced with so many twists that you will be glued to this book. However it does contain one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever read not because it was graphic or even remotely violent, more because the event taking place is left almost completely to the reader's imagination. This story is amazing but also disturbing and rather sad. With this book Shusterman questions abortion, organ donation, parental control and responsibilty, the power of propaganda and so much more.