Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children’s
The Second Civil War, also known as “The Heartland War,” was a long and bloody conflict fought over a single issue. To end the war, a set of constitutional amendments known as “The Bill of Life” was passed. It satisfied both the Pro-life and the Pro-choice armies. The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively “abort” a child . . . on the condition that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end. The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called “unwinding.” Unwinding is now a common, and accepted practice in society.
Connor, Risa and Lev are three unwinds on the run, all three from different backgrounds. Connor is ‘troubled,’ and his parents chose to have him unwound. Risa is a ward of the state, and she has used up all the time they are willing to give her. Lev is the last of ten children, and his parents are tithing him.
Unwind is an amazing novel. There are many dimensions to the world Neal Shusterman created. It is all very well thought out, in my opinion. This was my second reading – my copy of the second book is in the post and I wanted to refresh my memory – and it was just as great the second time.
To be more graphic, unwinding is a surgical process where every part of your body is harvested. You are kept alive during the process, for legal purposes. Because you don’t technically die during this procedure, and all your parts get transplanted into other people, it’s believed that you are still alive, but in a different way.
Because there are so many extra organs and other body parts due to unwinding, medical ailments aren’t fixed anymore, you just have that body part replaced. Had a heart attack? Here’s a new heart. Gone bald? Have this luscious hair. Missing a limb? No problem, we have plenty of those lying around. This is the blasé attitude that surgeons (they’re pretty much all surgeons now) have.
It’s a terrifying, unbelievable concept. But this is a dystopia. And these people have been fed the ‘you will still be technically alive’ line so often, they truly believe it. Having teens unwound is actually an okay thing to do in this world. But then, what about the soul? And your conscious? Unwind really gets you thinking.
There’s so much other stuff in here too: Juvey-cops, uploading, Humpty Dunfee, clappers, storking, betrayal, murder, love, sacrifice, hope. Go and grab a copy of Unwind right away to find out what it all means!