Unwind

Unwind is one of Neal Shusterman's amazing novels that is a favorite among Cav readers.

Book Cover

Unwind is one of Neal Shusterman's amazing novels that is a favorite among Cav readers.

Jake Paz, Staff Writer

Our Rating: A

This heart-stopping fiction novel written by Neal Shusterman only urges readers to keep turning the page, as it cleverly depicts a peculiar dystopian society. It takes place in future America long after the Heartland War, a bloody and destructive civil war that turned fathers, sons and brothers against one another. The most surprising thing about this war was that it was fought over a single issue: abortion. The topic of abortion is so controversial that it divided the country into distinct pro-choice and pro-life groups.

After several years of gruesome fighting, leaders from both sides decided to devise a compromise that would make it so that parents could get rid of their unwanted and troublesome children while also persevering the life of that child. This process was called unwinding. Another part of the compromise was that human life could not be touched from conception to age 12. However, when a child is between the ages of 13 and 17, the parents have the right to have their children unwound with one simple signature.

Upon being unwound, the child never passes away; instead their body is disassembled and almost 100% of it is reused as transplants for those in need. This means that the child continues to live, but in a “divided” state.

A policy like this changes the life of one of our protagonists named Connor Lassiter. This sixteen-year-old “bad boy” always managed to get into trouble wherever he went. His parents decided that they have had just about enough of his antics, so they signed him up to be unwound the day before the yearly family vacation. Fortunately for Connor, he finds out about this, packs his bags and flees home, hoping not to be found until he turns eighteen and can avoid being unwound.

The next person we encounter is fifteen-year-old Risa Ward, a resident from the state-home orphanage in Ohio. After budget cuts, the orphanage is unable to keep all of their “wards” and since Risa was not the next Einstein, they decided it was best to have her unwound. Through a series of fortunate events, Risa manages to join up with Connor in his journey to keep living as a whole person.

Last but certainly not least, there is Levi Calder. Levi came from a very large and wealthy family that donated 10% of everything they owned to the church; that 10% also included their children. Levi’s parents always planned on donating their tenth child, who just so happened to be Levi, even before he was born. In a dramatic change of events, Levi joins our crew of runaway unwinds, not voluntarily, and has a major impact on the story. 

Many fans of Unwind, and the other books in the series, love the novel for its well-developed characters that just about everyone can relate to.

“I love Unwind because the main characters are wonderful and really inspiring. I [also] love how the author writes in the perspective of many characters instead of just one,” sophomore Christina Romero said.

Here at Gables, we were lucky enough to receive a visit from Neil Shusterman, where he answered questions from fans and shared his intentions in making such an amazing book dealing with such a controversial topic.

Unwind is a neutral story [which means] it does not take a side on these controversial issues and removes the controversy from them so that we may look at them in a very different way,” author Neil Shusterman said.

Unwind has become Neil Shusterman’s most successful book by selling more than a million copies. It is currently being made into a movie that will hopefully be released sooner rather than later.