Every so often a book crosses our path that changes our world forever. No matter how we obtain it; whether it is recommended by a friend or whether we pick it up ourselves in the store, it soon earns a spot of honor on our bookshelves. I have several books like this on my own shelves. Books that I have read over the years and no matter what they continue to hold a special place in my heart.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman is one very recent addition to this small list. I happened to purchase this book on a whim simply because the blurb on the back peaked my interest. Despite being an adult, I have often found great books in the Young Adult section. To be honest, while reading Unwind, I was surprised by the fact that this was in the YA section. Because while the characters in the book might be teenagers the subject matter is definitely one that affects adults today.
The blurb on the back reads as thus:
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.
Unwind is the first book in a series, of which there are three more novels. In it we are introduced to our three main characters, Connor, Risa, and Lev. Connor is a troubled young man and has become too difficult for his parents to control. Risa is a ward of the state and has been deemed not talented enough to be kept alive. Lev is a tithe, a child born and raised for the sole purpose of being unwound. When their paths cross they must rely on each other for a chance to escape being unwound.
Unwind is a very intense book dealing with a topic that continues to spark debate. The characters, even the more minor ones, are well written. We learn of their hopes and fears and see them make what must be the most difficult of decisions. Even in the slower, less action oriented sections, there is enough to keep the story going and to keep the reader turning the page. There are several passages that really stick with a person even after finishing the book. Even now as I type this, remembering certain scenes brings a whole plethora of emotion.
I really enjoyed this book and went back to purchase the second book Unwholly. I have high hopes that the second book will live up to the first.