Book Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

unwind-9781416912040_hrConnor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Book Review:

Shockingly good. Unwind by Neal Shusterman is my first book from this author and it left me hanging, gasping, and thrilled between the pages. I’ve never read a book like this before. It daunts me that this book is so good and yet petrifying if their concept of life would be merged with reality.

How does a society label a person and decided a child to unwind? That’s some scary shit out there. Sacrificing yourself or your family deciding you to unwound without you knowing? This book gave me a lot of mixed feelings – emotions that I’m not even aware of. There’s a mixture of amazement and shock and fear and guilt. Why do I think so? Because some aspects of the book depict the reality today, it feels like you have no power nor words or authority over yourself when the society says so and in this book, when the government says so.

May the concept of this book is cruel as it is, I think Neal Shusterman write this book amazingly. He slowly introduced to us the premise of the book, how a system could inevitably fail or how a person could change in a span of painful experiences and became a darker version of himself.

To be honest, I don’t know how would I describe or express my feelings when I was reading this book. I feel like my feelings are being stirred up and Neal Shusterman keeps on betraying and betraying me on his book. But I would like to commend him for writing such strong characters and compelling plots with such intricate fast-paced writing style. I was hooked all the way and I couldn’t put the book down.

Neal Shusterman derives his novels through some potential futuristic possibilities within the realm of reality that could happen in any minute now. Unwind may be written on the sole problem of overpopulation and retaining the moral aspect of a society but how could a person judge a morality of one another where their judgment has been clouded in the beginning? How could a person so kindly become so evil at the end – to the point, in another roundup of events, that this person has been worshipped and skyrocketed to fame in one act that could change his life? And how an individual can think, precisely, what move would they do beforehand? Unwind is not a simple book. It is a mix of scientific research, moral criticism, societal philosophy, personal values, beliefs, strategy and tactics that will dwell on its readers.

And this is just the first book. Unwind just started. There are more to come and I know I’m not yet ready to face the things that they will offer. Because I know for a fact that it would be the real shit.


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19564Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal’s talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful “How to Host a Mystery” game for teens, as well as seven “How to Host a Murder” games.

As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the “Goosebumps” and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers — such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal’s novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.

Of Everlost, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman has reimagined what happens after death and questions power and the meaning of charity. While all this is going on, he has also managed to write a rip-roaring adventure…”

Of What Daddy Did, Voice of Youth Advocates wrote; “This is a compelling, spell-binding story… A stunning novel, impossible to put down once begun.

Of The Schwa Was Here, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman’s characters–reminiscent of those crafted by E. L. Konigsburg and Jerry Spinelli–are infused with the kind of controlled, precocious improbability that magically vivifies the finest children’s classics.

Of Scorpion Shards, Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “Shusterman takes an outlandish comic-book concept, and, through the sheer audacity and breadth of his imagination makes it stunningly believable. A spellbinder.”

And of The Eyes of Kid Midas, The Midwest Book Review wrote “This wins our vote as one of the best young-adult titles of the year” and was called “Inspired and hypnotically readable” by School Library Journal.

Neal Shusterman lives in Southern California with his children Brendan, Jarrod, Joelle, and Erin, who are a constant source of inspiration!


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