Book Review: Unwind

More stories from Victoria Ruffino

What if your parents viewed you as the lesser of your sibling(s)? What if you were a trouble maker and there was one punishment that had a permanent consequence?

Unwinding is the answer. Unwinding is not a way of dying, it is a way to continue to live in a “divided state” among society.

In the future, after The Heartland War, the war fought over abortion, there was an agreement reached that stated any child between the ages of 13 and 17 may be taken apart piece by piece with the consent of their parents and their body parts may be given to those deemed more deserving of them; such as the sick, the handicapped, those who have suffered the loss of a limb, or those that are elderly and need new, healthier parts.

The concept of unwinding was to create the ideal world. A world filled with responsible, respectful, and sensible people and of course, a world without abortion. As a result of parents signing their child’s unwind orders, inevitably, those children went AWOL doing their best to avoid the Juvenile Authority or “Juvey Cops” who would then take them to their decided fate.

Cover of Simon & Schuster's Unwind, written by Neal Shusterman.
Cover of Simon & Schuster’s Unwind, written by Neal Shuster.

Three unwind AWOL’s: Conner Lassiter, a 16 year old troublesome teen, Risa Ward, a ward of the state and a  “StaHo” kid (orphan) at 15 years old, is sent to be unwound due to budget cuts at her State Home. Levi “Lev” Calder,is the last addition to the group, a 13 year old “tithe”, raised to believe that his unwinding is the best way he can serve God, becomes AWOL against his will, after Connor uses him as a human shield to escape his own unwinding.

Connor, upon finding the signed unwind order on his father’s desk, evades the juvey cops that come to retrieve him. Upon a night of running and later being discovered after accidentally causing a wreck, he grabs a young blond boy (Lev) out of a car who is apparently on his way to his own unwinding.

Lev, taken from his car by a stranger not much older than he, is now being used as a human shield from the tranqu guns (guns loaded w/tranquilizers) the Juevy Cops are firing at the boy who holds him and he is dragged with the boy who then retreats into the woods.

Author of Unwind, Neal Shusterman.  (courtesy of free images)
Author of Unwind, Neal Shusterman. (courtesy of free images)

Risa, on her way to a Harvest Camp (a place where unwinds are sent to prepare for unwinding) is able to escape into the woods as well, after the bus she is on becomes involved in a wreck, creating the perfect distraction for her to avoid being noticed whilst escaping.

The book continues to outline the story and obstacles of these three AWOLs that come together from the same, yet different circumstances. It is both a thriller, a slight romance, and an action packed book with three amazing sequels that follow.