Friday, November 11, 2011

A book review: Unwind

You may not know this about me, but I am a bibliophile and always have been.  My mom taught me to read very young because I was bugging everyone in my family to read to me multiple times a day.  When it was past my bedtime my mom would tell me to put my book down, turn on my tv, and go to sleep.  During the summer, my mom would have to make me stop reading and go outside and play with my friends.  I've always had a love for books and reading, and connect to characters and stories in a way that my moods, feelings, and perceptions change along with the book I'm reading.

In recent years, my pleasure reading has slowed.  Life has gotten in the way and there are just so many distractions, but I'm trying to change that.  I'm part of a book club with an awesome group of ladies, and we have different tastes in books, so I've been broadening my horizons and reading (and enjoying!) books that normally I wouldn't pick up.  This book, however, I was excited to read from the start.  It's right up my alley; young adult, future utilitarian society, suspense, rebellion, and something I can read quickly.

The book is Unwind by Neil Shusterman (title is a link to the Amazon page).  **No Spoilers below**

It's set in the future, where in order to resolve a civil war over abortion, lawmakers came up with the concept of "unwinding" as a compromise between the pro-life and pro-choice parties.  Under the new law, abortion was illegal, but you could send your teenager (starting at 13, ending at 18 when they were a legal adult) to be unwound.  Technically they aren't dying because every piece of their body is being used through donation.  All of them is alive, just split up among different people.

Medical science has advanced to the point where transplants for literally everything in your body are the most common way to heal.  Bad heart?  You get a new one.  Blind?  You get new eyes.  Brain injury?  They replace the injured part of your brain with bits and pieces of someone else's.  Instead of trying to fix or heal something that was broken, it was just replaced.  

While most of society saw this as a blessing and an easy fix, nobody really stops to consider that these parts have to come from somewhere.  From someone.  Unwinds, as they are called, are seen as troublemakers or criminals, people who had their chance and deserved their fate, so it was easy to dismiss the idea that they had to lose their life for another person to continue with theirs.  Further solace was found in the fact that technically, they weren't dead, they were just serving a greater purpose.

The book follows three teens who are destined to be unwound.  One is a troublemaker whose parents can't handle him anymore and sign the order, the second is a ward of the state who has fallen victim to budget cuts, and the third is a tithe; a sacrifice made to society by his parents, who are following the strict rules of their religion.  

It's a quick, easy read (I finished it in one day) but the characters are easy to relate to and easy to care about and the plot really makes you think.  It was an amazing story that kept me turning pages (well, clicking forward on my Kindle) and I was enthralled from the very beginning to the very end.  Read it.  Then come back and talk to me about it :)

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Thank you for reading!! I'd love to hear what you have to say.