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 Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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PostSubject: Unwind by Neal Shusterman    Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:02 am

I found Unwind while I was looking for darker YA fiction. It seems that the new 'vampire' is dystopia for YA, starting with the Hunger Games and continuing. Unwind, however, is not (as far as I know) a rip-off of Battle Royale or any other lesser-known book. The concept is original, intriguing, and scary as hell.

In Unwind, we begin in a world where the Second Civil War, (AKA The Heartland War) was fought between the Pro-life and the Pro-choice political sides. To satisfy both sides and end the war, a set of constitutional amendments were passed that both parties accepted.
The amendments, known as the Bill of Life, asserts that human life "may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen." After that, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a child may be 'unwound', in effect, terminated and given up for organ donation. This will not 'technically' end the child's life, as the body parts will all go on to 'live' in other people.
In this dystopian society, we have those who have been given up by state homes (since anyone can leave their child on a doorstep and the welfare house will be forced to take them in) those given up by parents who have too-large families, parents who see their child as a serial lawbreaker, or religious fanatic parents who raise and donate their children to be unwound as a "tithe"

The story starts with Connor Lassiter, a sixteen year old boy who has, through some snooping, found out that his parents have signed him off to a "harvest camp" to be unwound. Furious and scared, he runs away, in the process picking up two other teenagers scheduled for unwinding: Risa - a ward of the state, and Lev, a tithe who strongly believes in his destiny of being unwound. Together and sometimes separately, they evade the law and head towards the mythic-sounding 'graveyard', a supposed haven for AWOL Unwinds. And yet even the graveyard is not all that it seems.

This book interested me for several reasons - first, while I doubt the abortion issue will ever go to war, the concept still is a hot one and the prospect intriguing. It sounds outlandish at first, but then I look back and remember that this is the earth that used to think slavery was sanctioned by God. Dystopian is dystopian for a reason. Second, the plot moves along fairly quickly and does not dawdle. Third, the point-of-view shifts provide good insights into how the Bill of Life has effected society as a whole while still staying on the story belonging to the runaways. Connor and Lev are developed quite well, and although Risa sags in some areas, no one ever develops into a flat character.

Unwind is the first book in a series. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys a dystopian read. While you might wish it addressed some issues more strongly or took a harder look at some factors, keep in mind that it is a YA novel at heart.
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PostSubject: Re: Unwind by Neal Shusterman    Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:56 am

This sounds like a very dark novel, Lillian. I like it! Smile I have wanted to read something from YA and this is right up my street. Just downloaded it to my Kindle.

Thanks for the review.

Very Happy
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