Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Shusterman takes modern day events such as the right to life/ right to choice controversy, suicide bombers, controversial medical breakthroughs and religious fundamentalism, cuts them up into little pieces then stitches them back together into a patchwork quilt of an adventure story. It is a powerful and gripping book that made me feel frequently uncomfortable yet determined to know how the characters could survive this unimaginable future.

Picture our country torn apart by a second civil war fought over reproductive rights. The final solution to this problem is a compromise that allows for the sacredness of life from conception to age thirteen and from eighteen on up. During those in-between years, children can be sent to a facility to be unwound; their entire body can be used as parts for others needing transplants or just cosmetic replacement parts. This story follows three teens who are sent to be unwound and what ultimately happens to them along the way.
If this story makes you feel uncomfortable, that is its intention. This is dystopian fiction and its purpose is to make us question behavior that occurs every day.

Shusterman takes modern day events to some pretty far fetched extremes but in doing so he forces us to slow down and rethink how we respond to these events. Perhaps by taking the time to actively listen to others and then formulate our responses we might discover better alternatives than what occurs in this novel.

Intended Audience: Teens through adults.

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