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Unwind [Paperback]

Neal Shusterman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Aug 2008
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 through desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing all the while that their lives are hanging in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthdays, 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...

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (4 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847382312
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847382313
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The shocking premise is unveiled immediately, and a nail-biting pace is sustained throughout, with the teens flung headlong into a true life-or-death struggle...these haunting debates will likely linger in the reader's mind even after the riveting plot fades...an ideal blend of philosophy and action set in a compelling futuristic landscape."--"The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Neal Shusterman is a New York Times bestselling author and has written numerous award-winning books for children and young adults. His books include, The Skinjacker Trilogy (Everlost, Everwild and Everfound), Full Tilt, Unwind and Unwholly. He also writes screenplays and several of his books are now in development as films. Neal lives in Southern California when he's not travelling the globe, and can be found online at Storyman.com. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant 26 Sep 2009
Set in a not too distant future where unwanted children may be unwound; live in an altered state where 97% of them have been used as donor organs. No one searches for cures anymore, if a body part stops working and you can afford it, you just buy another one. This story is about three young people, who for different reasons are about to be unwound and how fate brings them together.
This story is brilliantly original and well written. Far more chilling than many other books set in the future and an absolute gem of a book.

Have already recommended it to everyone I know. READ IT.
It's also available as an ebook, but not at amazon!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying, sad, and thought-provoking. 4 July 2012
Every now and again when abortion is being discussed, someone brings up the old sick joke that maybe abortion should be legal until the fetus is eighteen years of age. This book takes that to its literal, terrible conclusion: that sick joke, spoken over the negotiating table in a bitter civil war between pro-life and pro-choice factions, becomes law. Fetuses and children up to the age of thirteen are protected, but teenagers are fair game - their parents, or the state in the case of wards, can sign them away to be 'unwound', their bodies disassembled and (nearly) every part used for transplants. Because all those parts will live on, technically they're not seen as dead - just 'in a divided state' (a nice metaphor for the original war, and the present-day conflict over this issue in the US).

The story follows three teens who've fallen victim to this law in different ways. Connor is a 'troubled' kid who accidentally finds that his parents have signed the Unwind order - and are going on vacation to the Bahamas the following day to get over it. Risa is a government ward, a talented (but not talented enough) pianist, who's told that the State Home can no longer afford to keep her. Lev is the tenth child of a religious family, who's known all his life that he's to be sacrificed as a tithe, an offering to God - and is happy and ready to take that step. Thrown together by circumstances, the three of them (or rather, Connor and Risa with the unwilling Lev in tow) make a run for it. They find themselves caught up in an underground network of rebellion, where nothing is as it seems and it's uncertain who is on whose side.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing - I could not put it down! 26 May 2012
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition
(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
16-year-old Connor is destined to be unwound. What's that? Well following a pro-life/pro-choice war, the government passed a new law - abortions are illegal, children are protected `til age 13, but between the ages of 13 and 18 a child can be `unwound' - taken to pieces and re-used in other people. This means that no child actually dies - their constituent parts live on. Yeah right! Tell that to the poor kids being unwound!

Connor messed up a bit when he was younger, Risa was a ward of the state - and there were budget cuts, and Lev was a tithe (his parents were unwinding him as a way to give back to god/ humanity!).
Irrespective of their reasons for being unwound, all three find themselves on the run, and thrown together through circumstance. Finding themselves in unusual circumstances and strange places along the way, they grow in ways they never would have otherwise, and question what being alive or having a soul is really about. But when it comes to the chop, which is worse; to die, or to be unwound?

Wow! That is one of the first things that comes to mind with this book. I absolutely could not put it down, and when I did put it down I couldn't stop thinking about it!

The book has an eerie dystopian setting, which is unsettling in the way that the reasons for the changes in society are ultimately understandable! Which is very scary! The idea of unwinding is sickening, whilst at the same time makes a disgusting sort of sense. Why abort a child that you can allow to grow up, and then harvest for parts? Parts that are desperately needed! And what an interesting argument - if all the parts live on, then has the child really died?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Relax and unwind... 7 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So, you've read the blurb on the back of the book and one or two other reviews and you're asking yourself, `Should I buy this book?'
Well I suppose the answer is `Yes! Yes, you should'.
But before you rush off, money in hand, there ARE a couple of things that you need to know:-
Firstly, this book is written in the present tense. For those of you who have had a bad experience with Vernon God Little I could understand if you're more than a little put off by reading another such style of book. But to discard Unwind for that reason is to do yourself a disservice as there's little of Vernon's attitude here.
Sure the author has to do some grammatical gymnastics in order to try and pull it off and yes, it's fair to say that he struggles to make it work. Frankly, whoever advised him to write in the present tense should be sacked as although it doesn't ruin the whole experience, it does relegate an outstanding read down to `just-a-good-book'.

What's good is that although the current events in the book may seem a little implausible for us in our time, the author weaves a brief but very believable explanation into the story. The kids are equally believable if not a little cooler and less desperate than I would have been in their shoes.

Sometimes funny and often disturbing, Unwind is an original story that also throws up some philosophical questions i.e. if you had an horrific injury, would you accept body parts from a healthy living person who was taken apart in order to rebuild you? And also as the person being unwound, how does your soul live on? - Despite your body existing on or in thirty or so different people (brain parts included).
A fortnight after reading this book, not a day goes by without me thinking about it. Although a settled family man now, I probably would have been unwound aged 16 were I living in Connor's and Risa's time.

.......How about you?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
it's a really good book
Published 5 days ago by Alina
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, Thought Provoking & Hard To Put Down
This book was a great read but a very disturbing, thought provoking story that you will still be thinking about long after you put the book down. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Jennie240575
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book
Published 23 days ago by Nichola
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair
This was an okay book, I did enjoy it and towards the end of the book, it began to get more excited and it was only then I became really really interested. Read more
Published 1 month ago by megan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
This book is a very entertaining and I not one of those books that waste your time. It sometimes loses its interesting story line theme but returns soon
Published 1 month ago by lucy
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This book absorbed me. Excellent read. I can't wait to read the next one and the next. Feeling sleepy now.
Published 2 months ago by A. L. Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read.
By far the best book I have ever read, it's gripping from the first page and I just couldn't put it down, would definitely recommend to everyone
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars best book
i cant put it down !!!,its dytopian its great ...makes you think so much..this world not so bad after all
Published 3 months ago by annika
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Admittedly when I first started reading this book I found it difficult to get into. The idea that a civil war broke out in America between Pro-life and Pro-choice, and that the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Draicast
4.0 out of 5 stars "Yes" but not "wow!"
There are books that are sustained by their plot, books that are sustained by their characters and books that are sustained by the quality of their writing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Matt
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