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Unwind (Unwind Dystology) Paperback – June 2, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Unwind Dystology (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416912053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416912057
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (714 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up—Set in the future, the second civil war is fought over abortion. To end the war, a compromise is reached that ends the practice of abortion but creates an alternative called "unwinding." Between the ages of 13 and 17, parents or guardians can choose to have their children unwound, which involves having every part of their bodies harvested to be "donated" to another person so, technically, they don't really die. The complex and compelling plot follows three teens whose stories intertwine when they escape while on their way to the harvest camps. Fifteen-year-old Connor's parents can no longer control him. Lev, a tithe, was raised by religious parents for the sole purpose of being unwound. Risa, a ward of the state, is a victim of shrinking budgets since she is not a talented enough musician to be kept alive. Neal Shusterman's engrossing novel (S & S, 2007) is narrated in an even cadence and matter-of-fact tone that suits the author's straightforward narrative style. His wide array of voices makes the involved story line, which is left wide open for what is sure to be an interesting sequel, easy to follow. This gripping, thought-provoking novel is guaranteed to lead to interesting discussions about abortion, adoption, organ donation, religion, politics, and health care.—Karen T. Bilton, Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, Rocky Hill, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


* "Gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller...The issues raised could not be more provocative--the sanctity of life, the meaning of being human--while the delivery could hardly be more engrossing or better aimed to teens."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "A thought-provoking, well-paced read that will appeal widely."--School Library Journal, starred review

"Well-written, this draws the readers into a world that is both familiar and strangely foreign, and generates feelings of horror, disturbance, disgust and fear.  As with classics such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, one can only hope that this vision of the future never becomes reality."--Kirkus Reviews

"Poignant, compelling, and ultimately terrifying, this book will enjoy popularity with a wide range of readers."--VOYA, 4Q4P

"Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Shusterman uncorks a Modest Proposal of his own to solve a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice dilemma...ingeniously developed cast and premise."--Booklist

"Nail-biting, character-driven thriller."--The Horn Book

"The shocking premise is unveiled immediately, and a nail-biting pace is sustained throughout, with the teens flung headlong into a true life-or-death struggle...these haunting debates will likely linger in the reader's mind even after the riveting plot fades...an ideal blend of philosophy and action set in a compelling futuristic landscape."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The power of the novel lies in what it doesn't do: come down explicitly on one side or the other."--The New York Times Book Review
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Neal Shusterman is the author of many novels for young adults, including Unwind, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, Everlost, and Downsiders, which was nominated for twelve state reading awards. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows such as Animorphs and Goosebumps. The father of four children, Neal lives in southern California.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#79 in Books > Teens
#79 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

It was very well written and was a fascinating, but disturbing story.
Young adults should read this book, I recommended this book to my 15 yr. old grandson.
Ann Rendsland
The first time I read it, I finished it in one sitting, unable to put it down.
Amber Marie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Kim Baccellia, "YA Books Central reviewer" on February 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Imagine a society where a war was fought between Pro-live and Pro-choice. And the end result is more horrifying than either side could have thought.

Such is the premise of UNWIND by Neal Shusterman.

In the future being a troubled teen means something worse than being sent to a camp to get straighten out.

From The Bill of Life:

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.

However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively 'abort' a child...

...on condition that the child's life doesn't 'technically' end.

The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called 'unwinding.'

Three teens find out that they are to be unwound. Conner's parents want to get rid of him as he's a troublemaker. Risa is a ward of the state and is being unwound to cut state costs. Lev is a tithe as part of his parent's strict religion.

When Conner fights not to be unwound he ends up causing an accident in which he meets both Risa and Lev. Through their journey they meet others who are against the law and help them. Lev also finds out what really happens to those who end up getting the parts of those who were unwound.

They fight to make it till their eighteenth birthday. What they all learn on this terrifying journey will haunt readers long after the finish the last page.

This story both disturbed and fascinated me. The whole idea that a society would use rebellious teens to harvest body parts is beyond belief. I stopped more than once thinking what would happen if such a law existed? Would the desire to replace damaged body parts cause someone to become so numb to how the newer parts came into existence?

Chilling, this story will make you think about your ideas of life and what it means to be truly alive.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By R. Hendricks on August 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The idea behind this story is what intrigued me to buy it, and I am really glad that I did.

Shusterman has creates a world were a human being can be viewed simply as valuable parts. Unwinding is the outcome of a war based on the pro-life and pro-choice debate. Unfortunately, unwinding means different things to different people. For some it has become a huge money making business, to the kids it happens to, is a horror and for some parents and some parts of society, it is a nice convenience.

The story follows Conner, Risa, and Lev and how, for different reasons, they all have been selected to be unwound. Conner and Risa hate the idea of being unwound and have been selected against their wills. However, Lev has grown up knowing that this was his path in life, and he looks forward, with trepidation and conviction, for being offered up as a gift to God because of the unwinding. Due to an accident caused be Conner, Risa and Lev end up joining Conner as he tried to escape his unwinding. Together and apart, their fears and hopes are tested as they strive to stay alive in a world that believes they shouldn't be. The answer is, will they make it?

I would recommend this book to people for different reasons. First, I think that Shusterman did an excellent job in keeping the storyline going; there were no parts that I become bored or wanted to skip. Second, he makes the characters very realistic, and not without flaws. These are kids going through a horrific event and I fell that they acted true to real human nature. Third, the idea and premise behind the book is so intriguing and horrifying that you can't help but want to read the whole thing. All the way around it was an excellent book.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In his chilling new novel, Neal Shusterman paints a picture of a world where there aren't any cures and doctors, just surgeons and replacements.

Three unwanted teenagers face a fate worse that death -- unwinding. Their bodies will be cut up, and every part of them used, from their brains to their toes. But if they can stay out of the authorities' clutches until the age of eighteen, they just might survive....

The most frightening science fiction novels are always the ones that are most similar to our world. Shusterman doesn't fail to describe how a wrong solution to a modern issue can affect generations to come. Thought-provoking, terrifying, and almost inconceivable, UNWIND will keep you reading late into the night.

Reviewed by: The Compulsive Reader
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By MeganW on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is captivating and engaging. I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours, but part of the reason I was so eager to finish the book is that I was desperately searching for answers to my questions about this dystopia. Unfortunately, my questions were never adequately answered.

The world of unwind takes place after "The Heartland Wars" (civil war over the issue of abortion). In the book a character describes the war by saying, “On one side, people were murdering abortion doctors to protect the right to life, while on the other side people were getting pregnant just to sell their fetal tissue.”

This fundamental misunderstanding of the beliefs held by both pro-choice and pro-life advocates permeates the entire book and makes the entire plot completely illogical.

We are supposed to believe that both pro-life advocate and pro-choice advocates come to an agreement and sign into law a bill that makes it illegal to terminate a pregnancy, but perfectly legal to harvest the organs of teenagers against their will. In a negotiation both sides make concessions to reach their goal, correct? I can buy that pro-life advocates would make concessions in order to pass a bill that would make abortion illegal. In this scenario at least the pro-life goal is accomplished and abortion becomes illegal. But what do the pro-choice advocates gain? What was their goal in this scenario? The main goal of REAL LIFE pro-choice advocates is to make sure that people have the right to control their own bodies. They work to ensure that people's bodily autonomy is protected, meaning that they can't be forced to remain pregnant. The law passed in Unwind doesn't accomplish any pro-choice goals.
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