Review for Unwind by Neal Shusterman!
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Overall Rating: ****** (6/5)
Amazon Rating: **** (4.5/5)
One Sentence Review: A completely fictitious world that also fearlessly discusses moral issues completely pertinent to real life, Shusterman has used his genius storytelling abilities to craft another rare masterpiece.
(Explanation of unwinding from Amazon)
In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement. 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. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding". Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn't "technically" end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound without consequence.
Connor, Risa, and Lev are all runaway Unwinds. Connor was a troublemaker sent off to be unwound by his parents; Risa didn't make the cut at a state ward (or did she?); and Lev is a tithe, the 10th child in his family who was destined to be unwound since birth. The lives of these three runaways will clash in an adventure of epic proportions; the question is, will they be able to make a difference or change their society with so many powerful enemies chasing after them intent on their demise?
I honestly don't understand how this series isn't one of those that everybody has heard of and read, one of those you're ashamed you have yet to read if you haven't gotten to it. This series was that tremendous and impactful.
Shusterman beautifully created a world that was totally fictional (although it scares me that it could possibly come true sometime in the future), yet managed to flawlessly and fearlessly discuss complex moral issues that were completely pertinent to today's society. That's why Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite authors: he writes with a purpose beyond just telling a story; he ensures the reader gets something out of his writing, that the reader took away some message or was left with some important question always on the edges of his or her mind.
Well. Back to the book. Anyway, now that you know about Neal Shusterman's general genius and creativity, let's talk about the characters in Unwind.
My favorites had to be Risa and Lev. Risa was strong and independent, and wasn't going to let anyone stray her from what she wanted. Not only was she determined and fierce, but she was also selfless and humble, never wanting too much for herself; she's basically who I strive to be like. Lev definitely had his ups and downs, but I feel like experiencing these different chapters (see what I did there? ;)) of his life with him was what made him such a lovable character. Overall, he was perfectly flawed.
Connor was also a magnificent character, despite not being my favorite (even though I respected his faults, I didn't exactly love his thoughts sometimes... That's a totally personal thing though it has nothing to do with the book or writing itself). He represented the perfect imperfect protagonist; unlike the male protagonists of, say, James Dashner, Connor wasn't flawless; he was selfish and temperamental, but developed to recognize and deal with his faults throughout the books, something that was so realistic it made the book that much more powerful.
The writing. Of course it was just jaw-dropping and gorgeous. Beautiful descriptions and impeccable dialogue, Shusterman's writing was elegant and accurately managed to portray every personality and just general teenage life.
Overall, you really just can't go wrong with this series. I can't find a single flaw, and my applause goes to Neal Shusterman for creating a page-turner that you will want to savor and last.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!