Book Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Book Review: Unwind by Neal ShustermanUnwind by Neal Shusterman
Series: Unwind #1
on June 2, 2009
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 335
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

An alternate cover edition can be found here.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Cover Review: I really like this cover-it’s creepy, just like the book itself.
Tagline: “What if your parents could unwind you?”
Main Character(s): Lev, Connor Lassiter, and Risa Ward

Connor lives in a world where parents can choose to “unwind” their children. What does that mean, exactly? It means that parents can send their children to a harvest camp where they are slowly taken apart. The child’s body parts are kept and stored for others who may need them later on. Do you have bad heart issues? Well, there’s a heart for you. Do you have a bad leg? It’s your lucky day because we have a leg in your skin tone. That’s how bad it is.

After Connor finds out that he is supposed to be unwound, he decides it’s time that he run away. He’s not sure if he’ll survive, but it’s definitely worth the risk. He ends up making it pretty far. He hitches a ride with a trucker until they’re stopped on the highway. Connor forgot about his cell phone, which his father can use to track him down. He is found by the cops and Connor is in big trouble. He ends up making a run for it and he causes a bus to go off the highway. He also opens the door of a car with a young boy in it.

Risa, a piano player, was on the bus that was run off the road. The bus driver died instantly, so Risa took this as her chance to make a run for it. She runs off the bus and heads for the woods.

The young boy inside the car that Connor opened was Lev. Lev is a tithe, otherwise known as a child raised by religion to become an unwind. He was basically raised for slaughter. He was raised to believe that this is his life purpose. Lev is not very happy when he is told to make a run for it by Pastor Dan. He definitely doesn’t want Connor’s help. Lev doesn’t want to escape his fate.

The stories of all three children intertwine as they go on their journeys. We learn a lot about the characters and they really change throughout the novel because of what they go through. I don’t know what I’d do if I lived in a world like they do. I’d probably cross my fingers and hope that I wouldn’t have to ever be unwound. Shusterman has created an outstanding world where your parents decide your fate. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loves thrillers or dystopians. I can’t wait to finally get my hands on a copy of Unwholly and I’ll definitely be reading more novels by Neal Shusterman.

Recommended for fans of:
Characters that really develop throughout the story
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

About Neal Shusterman

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal’s talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful “How to Host a Mystery” game for teens, as well as seven “How to Host a Murder” games.

As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the “Goosebumps” and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers — such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal’s novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.



  • Christina

    Glad you enjoyed. I liked this too, though not quite so much as you did. It has one of the creepiest scenes I've ever encountered in fiction. It haunts me!

    • Krystianna

      I can't wait to read more though. 🙂

  • Lulu Frances

    Woah this sounds interesting!
    You know what I really love your blog; so instead of reading my assigned book for school i am sitting here and browsing though your entire blog, and you are quite similar to me in many ways depending books!
    So, I also read your posts with future blogpost plans and there you also say that you might want to do interviews with other bloggers, I don't know if this sounds pushy or weird; but I'd love to do that *.* so in case you are still looking for a blog to interview…here I am 😉
    Because although I run a mainly fashion focused blog, I include a book review with all my look posts and also want to feature more bookish stuff in general. So an interview here might grab the attention of other book lovers who'd maybe like to check out my blog… Sorry that this sounds so begging like…of course you don't have to do an interview with me, but it would be cool if maybe it would happen 😉 okay, I'm done 😀 God bless xx

    • Krystianna
      Lulu Frances

      Thanks so much! I'll be sure to work on interview questions and I'd love to have you be my first interview on the blog. 🙂

  • Annette

    Our book club just read this one. It is one of the most "liked" books we've ever read. Even students who don't usually read dystopians, etc. liked it! Lots of food for thought. Great review.

  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Review - Volumes and Voyages

    […] been a while since I’ve read anything by Neal Shusterman. I read Unwind back when I first started blogging in 2012, and convinced one of my friends to read it. Yet, I haven’t gotten around to picking up […]

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