Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Read from November 4 to
November 5 2010
Book: Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: November 6, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Number of Pages: 335
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopia, Adventure

Connor is being Unwound. And he was left with only one choice: to kick-AWOL. AWOL as in absence without leave. The catch is if he could actually pull it off. He talked about this with his only ally, his girlfriend and she promised she’d go with him but she turned her back at the last moment and now Connor has to do it alone. Without anything to lose, he went on with his plan. He met Risa, a former StaHo kid (short for State Home) who similar to him had escaped. He kidnapped Lev, a tithe, along the way too. And now they’re three happy campers embarking on a very dangerous and grim journey and if they fail, they might as well never run away in the first place because one thing’s for sure, they’ll end up on the very place they’re running away from: The Harvest Camp.  

Excerpt: "Of course, if more people had been organ donors, unwinding never would have happened...but people like to keep what's theirs, even after they're dead. It didn't take long for ethics to be crushed by greed. Unwinding became big business, and people let it happen."

Thinking about this made my head hurt in a way it has never hurt before. Like book-induced headache except that it’s a good thing. I wanted to close the book and just get on reading City of Ashes. But if I do that I might as well give myself another whack on the head and surely, that will give my brain cells permission to start a full-fledged rebellion and that won’t do me any good. 

Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad in fact it’s very good in its own way. If you want something new and adventurous and a little unsettling kind of story, well, Unwind fits the bill. But if you want to get that warm, fuzzy feeling then definitely this is not the book you may want to read. But I know every once in a while, and by that I mean people anywhere, everywhere wants to read something original and fresh and see the world in a different angle.

It was my first time to read a dystopian fiction novel. I never got to finish The Forest of Hands and Teeth and now I’m planning to, after I read this book. It was very different. It’s my first time to need to go out of my room and breathe fresh air before I continue flipping the pages but at the same time I can’t put it down. No matter how dreadful and bleak the world Shusterman created, I still want to hear about it and know if there would be a happy ending even if it’s next to impossible. And I think that’s what kept me engrossed in this book. I admit I find it hard to get into the book at first but as I read on I was hooked. Shusterman created a world so real, I might believe him if he says he had actually lived on it and that he actually experienced those things. Or that he was an Unwind himself after all. He made Unwinding sounds so frightening even without describing it yet, and when he did, it was so disturbing and creepy that I had goosebumps. It was like running a freak show depicting live murder only it is legal and acceptable. And I hate that stupid nurse, and I would never ever apply as a nurse on the Harvest Camp even if it’s the last place hiring.

The story is just so gripping, the characters were, I can’t even describe them in words. All I can say is one won’t exist without the other. That proves how well-written this novel was. There were so many twists and turns that at one time you’d be wincing and saying Oh no! And then smiling and shouting Oh yes! And then Oh no! again. It’s maddening. 

Shusterman also made you feel what it’s like for both sides. The side of those who were being Unwound and the side of those who signed those Unwinding orders which is most likely their parents. Even though that didn’t made me feel any sorry for those who tolerate this despicable act, it made me understand even in the smallest way why somehow this act is considered right. I would kill to read what Connor wrote in that long letter of his but I suppose that’s one of the few thing Shusterman wants us, readers, to ponder about. And those storked babies and that twisted thinking that being in the divided state is better than being useless at all? Oh don’t even make me start coz’ I could go on forever. It’s funny how it made me feel somewhat delighted in the world I live in because at least there’d be no chance for me to be Unwind.

I love the ride I was in and I greatly recommend this book to those who want to experience the ride, too and to those who want to read something unique. Or to those who want to take a break to feel-good novel, I'll vouch for this book. It’s creepy and all but it won’t disappoint. I think my long review quite hinted that right? 

Cupid's Verdict:


  1. I love this book, and it is kind of headache inducing, mostly in a good way. I haven't been able to get into any of his other books though. The dystopian genre as a whole is probably my favorite! If you haven't checked out Divergent by Veronica Roth or Delirium by Lauren Oliver I highly recommend those!!
    Carole @

  2. Hi Carole! Did you know there would be a sequel to this? When I found out, I jumped up and down, I was so excited. And I love dystopian genre too. I would recommend Feed and Deadline by Mira Grant to you if you dig zombie apocalypse stories. I have yet to read Divergent but I will soon because so many people are recommending it and I've read Delirium and didn't like it as much as I'd want to.

  3. +JMJ+

    Neal Shusterman is one of my favourite authors. He is so original! Of all his books, I like Downsiders the best. It's much more optimistic than this one. The there's Full Tilt, which is much closer to Horror and which I also like for its cleverness. (I find that it has less heart than the former book, though.) Have you read either of them?

    Just wondering: did Unwind change your mind at all about organ donation?

    1. You've read his other books? That's cool! I really want to try his other works as well but unfortunately Shusterman's books are hard to come by here. The only thing I've read from his was this, Unwind, and I have to order it online just to be able to do so.

      Well about your question, it didn't. In Unwind, the tides are incredibly different from what we have now. Organ donations are bound by rules and ethics; there are consents to be signed, families to be informed. People clearly have a choice if they want to do it or not but in Unwind they have no choice but to surrender themselves. It's all a matter of choice, I think. As long as we have it then I'm fine with it.

  4. Great review! I'm gonna look into this. Thanks! :)


Thank you for the comments. I really appreciate and lovelovelove them and will try to reply as fast as I can. Have a blog? Post your blog URL along with your comments below. I would love to visit.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...