Thursday, February 2, 2012


by Neal Shusterman

Years before Connor, Risa, or Lev were born, a war raged in America between those who were pro-choice, and those who were pro-life.  In the end a compromise is reached: abortion is ruled illegal but instead a new practice is put into place. A practice which allows parents to choose to retroactively terminate teens between the ages of 13 and 17 though a process called unwinding.  This solution meant that the child itself would not be killed because all of their body parts would be used for transplants, ensuring that they live on just in different forms.  Now it's been in place for years, and few question it, but for these 3 teens the death sentence put upon them might just cause the spark that causes people to see reason.

Unwind is an incredibly interesting, though disturbing, book which grabbed me from page one.  More than once I wondered how something like this could happen, and then realized how easily it possibly could.  The solution that was reached at the end of the war was supposed to be so ludicrous that it would shock the opposing ideological factions into realizing that their needed to be compromise.  Instead it became a death sentence for many teens, and resulted in babies being born and abandoned to the state until they were of age to be harvested themselves.  At first you think that everyone will see reason, but instead the demand for healthy body parts overshadows where these parts came from.  In one scene the unwinding process happens to one teen, who is conscious throughout the entire procedure.  It was deeply disturbing, and as a result I hesitate to recommend this book to any younger teen.  The book raises a lot of flags about the danger of being too ideologically wedded to a cause, about the necessity of compromise and reason, and discusses the courage needed to finally stand up to injustice.

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 10th Grade

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