“Unwind” Challenges and Entertains Writers

Author Neal Shusterman weaves real world issues with fiction in his young adult novel

Zach Busby, Guest Writer

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Zach Busby is an Honors English I student and a guest writer in this month’s issue of the Green and Gold.

In Neal Shusterman’s dystopian novel Unwind, After a Civil War fought over the matter of abortion all but destroys the country, laws are passed which abolishes abortion but allows parents or any legal guardian to have their child between the age of 13 and 18 unwound. Unwinding is a process that involves his or her body being entirely harvested to be donated to the sick or injured. Troublesome kids, wards of the states, and tithes, who believe their purpose in life is to sacrifice their body to benefit others, are among the list of people who get unwound.

The story follows three main characters all meant to be unwound on their thrilling journey of discovery and survival. These protagonist experience changes that keep the reader guessing. Connor is a hot-headed 16-year-old kid who runs away after finding he is going to be unwound. He runs into Risa, a ward of the state, who is also being unwound due to her being slightly less talented than her fellow peers. Thirteen-year-old Lev, a tithe about to unwound, is reluctantly swept into the chaos and finds himself stuck in the group. With each character having an impact on the other, they must find a way to come to an agreement and survive. Throughout this terrifyingly realistic novel, there are twists and turns in the plot that keep you on the edge of your seat. These twist and turns are accompanied by heart-stopping cliffhangers that make this a never-want-to-put-down-read-late-into-the-night kind of book.

Shusterman who is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books and is the author of Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award, does a good job of developing relatable characters. He also does a good job of posing questions that may challenge your original beliefs and thoughts. Overall, this book is just short of superb in every aspect and strongly deserves as much attention possible. I couldn’t help but review this piece of art after being immersed into that dystopian world falling into darkness.

This science fiction novel was published on November 6, 2007, by Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers. It has multiple awards and honors including the NYPL Best Books for Teens, Nevada Young Readers’ Award, and it was a nominated for the California Young Reader Medal.

The hardcover version of this book is 335 pages, and the recommended ages are 13 and up.


Rating: 4.5 stars