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Unwind (Unwind Dystology) Paperback – June 2, 2009

968 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Unwind Dystology Series

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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.


"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 ideal blend of philosophy and action set in a compelling futuristic landscape."--"The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (968 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 141 people found the following review helpful By kbaccellia 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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52 of 56 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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48 of 55 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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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By ZombiKitty on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Unwind by by Neal Shusterman is based on the premise that there is a war in the U.S. between the pro-choice advocates and the pro-life advocates. The outcome of the war leads to a crazy compromise: retroactive abortions, which means that a child is protected until he or she is 13, at which point the parents can choose to have the child "unwound." Being unwound means that the child harvested for all of the parts and organs, which will then "live on" in other people. The children who are to be unwound are called "unwinds," and if they try to escapse they are hunted down mercilessly by the "juvie cops" because the unwinds' harvested parts are big business. There are three main types of unwinds. Some are unwinds because their parents can't cope with their behavior any more, some are unwinds because they are orphans and the state can't afford to support them any more, and some are unwinds because they are "tithes" to the church or religion. Of course, there are exceptions, such as the boy whose parents got divorced and couldn't come to a custody decision, so they decided to have him unwound so that neither would have to deal with the other getting custody of him. One of each of thes main types of unwinds is, of course, a main character in this book: Connor the troublemaker, Risa the orphan, and Lev the tithe. They all meet when both Connor and Risa, escape, coincidentally, at the same time, knowing that if they can survive until their 18th birthday they will be safe because they will be adults. When they escape, however, Connnor unintentionally drags brainwashed Lev along with them. Their escape is a harrowing one with many close, and even closer, calls as they try to find somewhere to hide until their 18th birthdays.

I liked the book, but it was very disturbing - especially for a teen book, but fairly original. And disturbing.
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