Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Stand alone 
Source: Personal Copy
Format: Paperback
Genre: Science Fiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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 by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, 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.

What if you live in a period where your parents own the right to “terminate” your life? Period where someone else has a say on what is going to happen to you, your future more than your own self? Period where your life means absolutely nothing just because you’re incompetent, an excess or a tithe chosen at birth? These are the facts that bring three names – Conner, Risa and Lev – together. Their paths cross each others’ because they are “The Unwinds” and they have to fight really hard to remain alive, to remain whole as themselves and not just as “the remaining” of themselves as a part of somebody else. During this time, when humans themselves have become the monsters, how can all these youngsters fight for their own survival?

I rarely read a book that truly horrifies me but it seems like Unwind managed to do just that. Concisely and vividly written, Shusterman creates a world close to our own, completes with realistic, complicated and well-developed characters. It doesn’t take long for one to start feeling for these young kids, understand their suffering, thinking about how those they love and trust can betray them in such unthinkable way. This book definitely horrifies me in a very different aspect since it doesn’t really filled with any gory details about some of these chilling events stated in it. Though the parts that have been left unsaid by the author are the portions that frighten me most since they make my mind wanders, imagining the most daunting things that could possibly be happening to these kids. There is not many books that can give such effect to me and this signify how excellent this book really is.

Unwind is a book that touches numerous critical issues - from abortion to organ transplantation, legal issues to religion aspects – but Shusterman fiddles with these issues with such implicit manners till one might not notice how heavy this book really is until they take time to think deeply about it. Saying that this book is an “enjoyable” read would definitely be a lie but the messages and knowledge that was cramped into these 352 pages really make everything worthwhile. Written by an author with such a deviant imagination, Unwind is definitely a phenomenal, thought-provoking book that should not be missed.

Memorable Quote: I was never going to amount to much anyway... but now, statistically speaking, there's a better chance that some part of me will go on to greatness somewhere in the world. I'd rather be partly great than entirely useless - Samson (One of the Unwinds)


  1. I think you've hit on the things that make this book great: it's horribleness (because it is just harrowing in parts, isn't it?), it's ability to make people think about intense and important issues, and the author's imagination. Great review!

  2. Wonderful review! I've read THE SHADOW CLUB by this same author and it was horrifyingly touching as well...seems like an oxymoron but really...it perfectly fits. This author seems to take on bigger issues in an interesting manner that will both bring to light the "evil" of the acts as well as show a way out or away from them. Thanks for sharing more about this title....and happy reading!

  3. Shusterman has a vivid imagination, that's for sure! I've only read one of his books, but now I really want to pick this one up. Wonderful review!

  4. I don't know if I have the gut to read this. It sounds pretty intense that is a very nice review Shy!

  5. @Celi.a: You're definitely right about that. The book is disturbing in many ways though it is TOO hard for me to find way to detach myself from it. There is too many good points being highlighted in the book that surely give a huge impact to those who read it. Unforgettable, that's all I've got to say about this book.

    @GMR: I've never really read The Shadow Club. Really have to check on this one. I've to agree with your points there. Shusterman is indeed a master story teller.

    @Emidy & Darlyn: Both of you really have to give this one a shot. Thoroughly worth it.

  6. Great review! I definitely agree on the whole unique, horrifying premise. Technically, it was amazing. I don't know why I just couldn't get into it that much... hm. I'll have to try another of his books somtime!

  7. fantastic review!! i felt completely the same i was both horrified and blown away by the book. i think one of the most daunting things is the thought could society turn on us youngster simply because they have had enough? its a very scary thought thanks for sharing i need to review it to!

  8. Whoa this sounds SO interesting/horrifying! Definitely sounds like a book that would make a big impact. Thanks for the amazing review!

    Btw here from The Saturday Network! :D

  9. Great review! I saw this book online but didn't click on it for more details. Think I need to read this one, as it sounds amazing! Love books that make you think.

  10. I haven't read anything by this author before although I have seen his books around. It seems like a horrifying, but very interesting, premise for a book! I'll be adding this one to my TBR list I think :)

  11. Wonderful review! I enjoyed Unwind too, and I agree that is a story that will haunt your thoughts long after reading it. The reasoning behind Unwinding was believable enough to be genuinely disturbing.