Janina's Reviews > Unwind

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
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it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult-fiction, dystopian-apocalyptic

An astonishing and at the same time disturbing read. Took me some time to get into, but from then on I was hooked. The world Shusterman created feels so vivid and real, it almost scared me. Thought-provoking and highly original. I haven't read anything like this ever before.

Also, it contained one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever read - not on a graphic level, but more due to the fact that what exactly is happening is left almost completely to the reader's imagination (if you've read the book, you will most likely know what I'm referring to).

Set in the near future, the novel follows three teens about to be unwound – which is the thing to do with unwanted teens and basically means that they are to be scavenged for body parts to be transplanted to those in need of them (though the signification of 'need' can be stretched here: someone can also 'need' new eyes because his girlfriend doesn't like the old ones' colour).
Connor has always been trouble, sometimes unable to control his temper. When he finds out that his parents are about to have him unwound, he runs away and crosses paths with Risa and Lev. Risa is a state ward being sent away due to shortage of money and Lev is a tithe, sacrificed by his religious parents for a greater good.
Connor and Risa have only one goal: to be able to make it until their eighteenth birthday, when the law will protect them from being unwound after all. Lev, who has always believed in his special purpose, is deeply conflicted. Should he run with his two 'rescuers' or should he turn them in?

I not only found the three main characters, but also the friends and enemies they make on their journey drawn realistically and very relatable. Everyone has his own way of dealing with their situation and nothing is painted in black or white. Those characters have their faults – some more than the others – but in the end there was no one who deserved to be treated like he was nothing but human spare parts for those who could afford it.

The only thing that felt a bit off at times was the writing style. Sometimes the present tense sounded awkward to me, and the frequent switching between the different points of view made it hard for me to become fully attached to all the characters, but I loved Connor, Risa and Lev.

I will definitely be looking out for more of Shusterman's work.

Edit: I originally rated this book four stars, but I've decided to up my rating ;). I would recommend Unwind to everyone looking for a good YA book, I would label it a favourite, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. If a book makes me think about it even months after reading it, it definitely deserves five stars!
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Reading Progress

August 13, 2010 – Shelved
August 13, 2010 – Shelved as: young-adult-fiction
August 13, 2010 – Shelved as: dystopian-apocalyptic
September 30, 2010 – Started Reading
October 2, 2010 –
page 140
October 2, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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Alexa :o

message 2: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic I want this! Happy reading :)

message 3: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Yep. I really need to hurry up and get this. Great review!

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I've never seen this particular cover for this book before--I love it.

Jessica "Astonishing and disturbing." So true!

Katie Hoesel I started reading this book and I just wasn't sure of I could take all the points of view and everything. Did you get used to it eventually?

Samantha ahh, I know exactly what you're talking about regarding the disturbing scene. My heart was racing as I was imagining it all!

Adrianne Rosal I know actually what scene you are referring to because it had me in tears.

Everlaine (BookCaptain) Your review made me wanna read this book so bad, going to order it asap! Thank you.

Janina Hey, thank you! That's what I like most about reviewing the books I love :). Hope you enjoy reading it, let me know when you get to it.

Emily The scene with Roland, right? I literally had to stop and walk away for a bit in the middle of that scene. I just got dizzy.

Andrea they are making a movie of the book, I hope it is done well

Alejandro I read your review before reading the book, once i did i kept thinking, "what part was he talking about?" then towards the end of the book, when they took Roland into the Chop Chop and started with the operation, it was disturbing. My eyes filled with tears, my heart rate increased, my palms got sweaty and every time that they were talking about a certain Body part that there was "nothing to worry about" i could not help but have a tingling sensation in said body part. once it was over i realized that my hand was covering my mouth the entire time. it truly was one of the most vivid scenes i have ever read. i do not believe that even if i watched an operation live, it would feel the same way.

message 14: by Timothy (new) - added it

Timothy Nesbitt Good review. I'm looking forward to reading this one! Thanks.

message 15: by Love (new) - added it

Love This book is quite good.

Mtgrizz me too

message 17: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I wonder if Never Let Me Go has some similarities?

Minny I bawled my eyes out when I read that scene, even though I couldn't stand that particular character it was just so heartbreaking.

Jeanette All you need to do it change the definitions to/of each stage of life. As baby was changed to fetus. And have it become mores acceptable huge marketing as a "good". Hey, think of all the donors it would help get new organs.

Missy I usually don't get too freaked out by scenes in books. The one you are referring to, however, was so disturbing I almost puked. But I agree, this may be a favorite book of mine as well.

message 21: by Meagan (new)

Meagan Lauber This is one of my favorite series and I adore how it is equal parts realistic and absurd. The thought that parents would choose to have their own children destroyed is absurd but the desire to be rid of problem children is realistic.
The entire time I would think that there is no way that anyone could ever think that is a beneficial thing to do but then I would stop and ponder the extremes that societies have taken before and realize that this is not so far fetched.
what is most unnerving about Schusterman's world is that it is not so different from our and that we could possibly be looking into our own futures.

message 22: by Kira (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kira Great review!

message 23: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily Everest I absolutely love this book and I agree with you about that certain scene, it literally makes you shiver and be on the verge of tears.

Cristofer Flores I agree with you as well. This book has those high and low moments that makes you feel scared, like in the highway, and happy, when he ran into the forest and escaped.

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