Unwind, Neal Shusterman’s newest novel, is the story of three teenagers in a futuristic society. Mankind now believes in the sanctity of life – or do they?
Because abortions have been outlawed, many unwanted children are now raised in state homes. Other unwanted children are left on the doorsteps of unsuspecting families, who, by law, must take them in and raise them. Then there are those children who are born into families who love them and who live a fairly normal life.
However, once a child turns 13, a family can chose to have the child “unwound.” (The decision does not have to be made immediately – the adults are given a five year window in which to make it, but once the child turns 18, he or she cannot be unwound.) The child becomes known as an Unwind and is taken to a harvest camp where he or she will spend his or her last days living life as they have known it. When their time comes, the children are unwound – their organs and tissues are removed and used for transplants. The child does not cease to live, but lives in an altered state.
How humane. How generous of the adults who have raised these children who become Unwinds.
This is the story of three of those Unwinds: Conner, Risa, and Lev. Each is being unwound for a different reason, but of course, the end result will be the same: Conner will cease being Conner, Risa will cease being Risa, and Lev will cease being Lev.
However, things do not go as the adults planned. Conner, Risa, and Lev escape from their captors as they are being transported to the harvest camp and must run for their very lives. How do they survive? Are they able to escape the fate that adults chose for them?
This is one of the best and most thought provoking YA books I have read in a long while. I laughed out loud, cried, and became angry at characters. I kept wanting to question the adults – “Why haven’t you learned from history?”
Run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy!