Unwind by Neal Shusterman (3/31/10)

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.

(from Amazon.com)

First off, this book is YA.  It’s not the usually adult Historical Romances I do.  It’s Young Adult.  That said, this book was awesome!  (Rika, I definitely recommend this be your first foray back into the YA genre!)

The premise is nothing short of amazing.  You can tell the author put a lot of thought into the whole plot and his acknowledgements at the beginning support that.  I’m excited about this book so my thoughts are going to be disjointed.

– It’s told in multiple perspectives.  But, each character is unique and alive (haha) that the shifts aren’t jarring.  Sometimes the point of view changes are needed because one perspective became intense.

– The main characters are Connor, the supposed bad-boy, Risa, unwanted ward of the state, and Levi, the tithe born and raised to be unwound.  The order I listed them?  It’s in favorite order.  Connor is nothing short of spectacular.  His three-dimensional; emotional, confused, hurt, determined to survive.  Risa is all that and more, but Connor holds a special place in my heart.  Levi, he’s a complicated character because you can tell he was written to be loved and hated. (I can’t say more or I’ll give away lots!!)

– “Change…that’s all.  The way ice becomes water, the way water becomes clouds.”  My arguments, being the nerd that I am, would be: yes, it’s change, but change in any form detracts from the original form.  It’s never exactly the same, some things are lost, lessening the integrity.  Hmm…you’ll have to read the book and tell me if you agree or not.

– The storyline moves.  Literally.  The characters are essentially on a journey (literally and figuratively) and the reader is taken along for the ride (trip, marathon, sprint) and it’s all done subtly.  They were a school and I could see the commotion, the disinterest, the excitement.

My issues with the book.  It was told in third person limited…but omniscient.  From a writer’s perspective and having taken a Fiction Writing course, the character knowing what’s going on around him when he’s unconscious bothers me a bit.

I’m not usually a fan of present tense writing and that threw me a little. (But, I built a bridge and got over it.)

But, enough about that.  Imagine living in a world where things like “I can’t wait to see these hands playing in Carnegie Hall someday” or “I brought you into this world; I can take you out of it”  are said and can be literal and legal?

It’s scary because if you read beyond the simple enjoyment of a book and look into a deep meaning we seem to be getting closer to a world of Unwinds, the Bill of Life, and technicalities that make murder legal.

The end is just…I…please read and come back so we can discuss this.  It was…bittersweet?  Is that the word?  I don’t even know.  I finished, but I’m still thinking about it.

By the way!  It’s being made into a movie and you can visit the site if you want to audition.  It’s being made by independent filmmakers so hopefully it won’t be corrupted by Hollywood glamour and will stay true to the plot.

4 ½ stars: Recommended.

Hope you try it!


10 thoughts on “Unwind by Neal Shusterman (3/31/10)

  1. Sounds interesting!!!…but I doubt I’ll get back into YA lit again. I’ll just watch the movie!

    • by the way, I read your message about 9 Rules, and it’s def a no-no for me. But, I think you might like The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I’m reading it now and it’s pretty good..it’s more of a dark romance

      • I lurvvv dark romances. I think that’s it. I can’t seem to find GOOD dark romances these days. The most recent one I gave up on was To Tempt the Devil by Anne Campbell. Anyway, I’ll give that book a try and tell you what I think of it 🙂 We should choose a romance novel (you, Rika, and I) and do an online book discussion and all.

        • Well, this one looks good so far. The male protagonist has Asperger’s Syndrome (but back then it wasn’t diagnosed). I like him, but not the female protagonist so much.

          We should!!! hmmm…well, I know she’s excited about the Johanna Lindsey book coming out, and I’m all for the Suzanne Enoch one. Any preferences for you?

  2. Really? Is it that good? I was actually scared to even read the summary. I read YA sometimes, but after going deep into UF these past months, YA is getting hard to read [sometimes.] After reading this review of yours I am actually intrigued! I still have a mountaing of almost 100 books waiting for me [for real,] but I will try to make time and space for this one then.

    You are a bad influence =P lol

    • Lol, I liked it. I think you would too…Come on guys…*whispers* give YA a try…give YA a try…give YA a try…

      haha, yeah, my pile’s pretty big too, but! I got one down 🙂

      I am NOT a bad influence, Missy. I’m a perfectly neutral influence 😛

      ^_^ Thanks! I was laughing because coloring them blue, and the blue background was purely coincidental.

      • I will give it a try… I still have some YA series that I follow– mostly because I have to know how is it going to end *grin*

        Oh, yesterday I read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Fantasy Lover.” Now, mind you, I do not like romance much… But this one made me cry! It was kindda repetitive, yet an enjoyable read. And now I am reading a book that just came out, “Angelology” and I read the first 50 pgs right away. I ‘is’ liking it! =)

        As for the bad influence– you are one of them! Part of the Dark Side that is making me want to buy even more books! LOL

        • haha 😛

          Sherrilyn Kenyon was recommended to me ..but I don’t have time! grr. I’m going to try a James Patterson (Maximum Ride) because I’ve never read any of his work. But, I also want to read North and South…and..a bunch of other books lol.

          I guess the Dark Side is just more fun 😛

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