Book Review: UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

Posted January 19, 2015 by Briana in book review / 2 Comments

Tray of Surgical Instruments
Photo Credit: phalinn on Flickr

I first heard about UNWIND several years ago. I can’t remember where. All I know for certain is that it intrigued me. So, I had to read it.

“Have you heard of Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND?” someone asked me. “It’s really disturbing.” Right away, I was hooked. “It has to do with abortion. It’s so controversial. You like that stuff, don’t you?” Of course I do. I couldn’t wait to read that book.

I waited anyway. I’m not sure why.

A few days ago, I decided I was tired of waiting. I picked up UNWIND and dove right in. And once I started reading, it was almost impossible for me to stop. This book made me lose sleep. I just couldn’t put it down. Keep reading to hear more of my thoughts on this controversial and compelling literary work.

Plot Summary

In the world of UNWIND, all pro-life and pro-choice advocates have reached an uneasy truce: there will be no more abortions, but when a child turns thirteen, the parents can decide whether or not to have them retroactively terminated, or unwound.

Without giving too much away, unwinding is a shocking process that involves redistributing every part of someone’s body without killing them. I told you it was shocking.

UNWIND tells the story of three different teenagers scheduled for unwinding. Connor is a rebel and a natural leader whose reckless behavior has gotten out of hand. Risa is a ward of the state who is too expensive to keep around. And Lev is something called a tithe, destined for unwinding as part of his family’s religious beliefs. When their paths collide, they figure out a way to escape their fates. The question is, though, how long can they keep running?

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel is simultaneously engrossing and revolting. Reading it was like driving by a car accident–I knew I should look away, but I couldn’t help staring. Without spoiling anything, the scene with Roland toward the end of the book is one of the most horrifying passages I’ve ever read. Thanks for that, Neal Shusterman.

In spite of my nightmares, I have to admit that this book is incredible. I didn’t want to put it down. If you have a strong stomach and want to read something that will make your skin crawl, pick up UNWIND by Neal Shusterman.

What do you think of UNWIND? What’s the most disturbing book you’ve ever read?

Tweet tweet:

“The premise of this novel is simultaneously engrossing and revolting,” says @brianawrites. (Click to tweet)

Check out @brianawrites’ review of UNWIND – the most chilling book she’s ever read. (Click to tweet)

Leave a Reply

2 responses to “Book Review: UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

  1. I’m so glad you liked this book! It’s one of my all-time favorite novels, although I think Warm Bodies is a strong contender for the top spot. Unwind is one of those unforgettably shocking books, but it never needed to go over-the-top to be powerful or meaningful.

    Also, very apt cover photo. That final scene with Roland…*shivers*