Monday, 18 February 2013

Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman


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.


First off, big thanks to Sherre of Beckoned by Books for recommending this book to me. I am speechless after reading this book. All words seem inadequate to describe how I feel so I'm just going to have to muddle through and hope that it all comes together as a coherent review in the end.

The Belief Suspension:
One thing I've noticed when reading dystopians is that I have a really difficult time suspending belief when the premise of a series hinges on the generalization of the entire human population. Notions like love being a disease and all women becoming walking wombs just doesn't cut it with me. Likewise, if I really let myself think about it, I can't seem to dispel the nagging voice in my head that keeps trying to remind me that there is no way the entire world would agree to unwinding. It seems a very implausible solution for both pro-choice and pro-life campers to agree that killing a child at sixteen is somehow okay just because their parts will be reused. And storking, where unwanted children are left on other people's doorsteps and if you don't get caught the family has to take care of the baby, is just downright idiotic. I could go on for a while about all the medically impossible parts of this book but what I'm really driving at is that despite it all, I was somehow able to suspend belief and just read the book for it's sheer entertainment value. Which is saying a lot considering I am usually the first one to call bullshit on a  lot of stuff in  books.

The Multiple POVs
I'm usually a complete multiple POV hater. I can't stand getting invested in a character and situation only to have it shift when the story is building momentum. Unwind is one of the few books I've read where the multiple POVs was a huge advantage. Especially during a particular scene close to the end where I believe being able to switch into secondary character's POV made the whole book all the more powerful. Shusterman is able to do something I don't believe many authors can boast and that is to create layered characters who you can despise one minute and then feel sorry for the next. No one is truly evil and that makes everybody's actions so much greyer.

The Romance
Some might say that there isn't enough romance in this book but I thought it was perfect. There was no angst, no misunderstood conversations masked as plot advances.  It was blissfully simple. A boy and girl like each other. There are is no confusion about it. I found this refreshing after trolling through so many DNF books. 

All The Other Stuff
Despite the fact that my rant paragraph is much bigger than my other paragraphs, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the non stop action and the fact that everything that could possibly go wrong did.I know there's a sequel to the series but Unwind ended so perfectly for me and had me thinking so long after I finished it that  I don't know if I could put myself through it again.



  1. Yay! I'm glad you found a book you really enjoyed. I definitely haven't been in the mood for dystopians lately, but if I ever get back in the mood, I'll have to check this one out!

  2. I'm glad you were able to overlook the implausible stuff and just enjoy the book. I agree that getting into all of the characters heads worked for this book. The unwinding scene...shivers!

  3. Like you, I'm not a fan of multiple POVs, but this one sounds like it's done right. This sounds like it's got a bit of a creepy factor to it. I'll have to see if my library caries it. Nice review :)

  4. I'm interested in checking this one out from the library and giving it a read through. Since it impressed you so much, albeit imperfect, it looks like something to try out. And, considering that you liked this so much while DNFing sooo many books lately, that really says something! ;)

  5. I always thought this one sounded good. Like you, though, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief. I can go with a lot of things, but harvesting children for their bodyparts??? Yeah, pretty jacked up. But I guess that's the point of dystopias, right? Anyway, I've heard a lot of good things about Unwind and enjoyed your review. I'll have to pick it up and read first pages next time I'm at the store :)
    Ninja Girl

  6. Wow, this sounds like a really good book! I like the premise. I haven't been into dystopias lately for some reason, but I'll be sure to keep this on the TBR list.

  7. Yayyyy!!!! I'm so glad you liked it!!! We sometimes happen to be on opposie wavelengths when it comes to book choices that I was wondering if we'd ever agree on liking a book. I'll admit that the whole idea of storking is too ridiculous. Likewise the whole fact that people would be unwound without their consent is pretty horrible too and I doubt that would ever actually happen, but this book just made me so excited because it still made me think and really enjoy it. Like you, I'm not sure if I will be reading the next book in the series, because like you, I dont think I can put myself through it again.

  8. By the way, I like your book cover a lot better than mine.


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