Sunday, June 3, 2012

Book Review: Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1)

Release Date: November 6, 2007
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Length: 335 pages
Source: Purchased Book

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.



Characters: In a world where kids can be retroactively aborted from the age of thirteen to seventeen, the characters can be pretty interesting, and that's exactly what we are given. In addition to Connor, the kid whose parents chose to unwind him, Risa, the girl who is a ward of the state and is being unwound due to budget cuts, and Lev, the boy who due to his religion knew he was going to be unwound since he was a small child, this novel is beautifully interspersed with minor characters who help our protagonists on their journey to safety.

Point of View: This novel is filled with many changes in point of view, each told from the third person, and though it may get confusing at times these views are crucial to the format and plot of the story line. Each minor character whose head we can visit for a while plays some larger, unseen, role in the lives of our protagonists. Personally, some of my favorite parts were when I could see into the heads of the smaller one time views, such as "the teacher" or "the cop."

Romance: The level of romance in this novel was present but never took away from the main plot line, which is my favorite type of romance. I was greatly pleased that there was a romance in this novel because it gave the novel just that extra accent of depth.

The Controversial Issues: This novel debates two very controversial issues. When is the soul created? and Do we even have souls? These things are what gave this novel such a sense of depth to make it almost seem like a more adult novel without labeling itself as such. I was certainly surprised to find myself thinking over these two things, even though I am a Christian and believe that all humans receive souls at the moment of conception.

Predictability: This book had me on the edge of my seat practically the entire time when I first read it. There are definite clues and foreshadowing used, but even though you might have some speculation into a character or event, the reveal will shock you still. I was completely blown away.

Ending: The end of this novel is pretty intense. There's a lot that goes down in the final moments before things begin to settle and the final confrontation is pretty freaking epic..This novel, I believe, was originally meant to be a standalone. In a lot of ways it ends that way, there isn't too much left up for the reader to wonder about, and everything seems to be wrapped up pretty well.


This is one of the most original and amazing dystopian novels out there. It's definitely worth a buy, so be sure to go to your local bookstore and pick yourself up a copy. If you like it don't forget to buy Unwholly when it comes out at the end of August.


  1. I really loved this book. It was so different and, yes, very controversial. I must say the ending part was very spooky. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

  2. Thanks for the review. I haven't read it, but have been thinking about it. Now I'm going to!

  3. Thanks for the review, I ordered this one recently so I'm glad to hear positive comments on it :)

  4. Loved, loved loved this book! It was recommended by my 6th grade student last year and I had been waiting for the sequel, Wholly. Wow! Now waiting for book 3!

  5. This books sounds thrilling and also a bit freaky. The cover sure gives me the chills! Thanks for your lovely review.

  6. Great review! I really enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to book #3.

  7. This one looks really exciting... it's going on my TBR list!

  8. NocturnalReader: I love this book too. I read it last year and it's one of my favorite dystopia story so far. Have you read the other two books? The last book will be published this year.