Wind-Up Kids

Unwind by Neal Shusterman


First Look:

I like the creepiness of the hand reaching toward you.  The fingerprint is cool, too, and hints at some information that is not revealed till much later.

Jacket Copy:

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. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.


Yes, it’s the first volume in the Unwind Dystology, whatever the heck a “dystology” is.  There’s two novels and a novella out so far.

Worth Reading?


Suspend your disbelief, and you’ll be fine!

Notable Things:


Group of misfits who become allies!  They’re thrown together and end up caring about each other, mostly.


Real questions!  Shusterman brings up some heavy questions, without really trying to answer them, once and for all.  All that’s certain is that unwinding is not the awesome solution that everyone in their world thinks it is.  The section that is a first-person account of an unwinding in process is the strongest and scariest in the book.


Flawed foundation.  Scroll back up and reread the “Bill of Life” summary.  Can you honestly imagine that agreement making either side of the abortion debate happy?  I can’t.  Furthermore, the tithe system makes no sense, theologically.  If this is a government-run program (and it is), then church people would not see any reason to “tithe” their kids.  You tithe to the church/to God, not to the government.  No, they would have big bio-families, and a lot of them would take in Unwinds who were on the run, very few would ever unwind their own kids.  And why are the tithes treated better at harvest camp?  I get that they’re “volunteer”, but it seems like the camp spent a lot of money on treating them so well.  The last thing that didn’t make much sense is the storking system, although this is acknowledged in the text.


It’s an entertaining, thought-provoking read, and I think that a lot of the teens who read it might not think as critically about the world-building.  I might not have when I was a teen, or even a few years ago.  I’ve seen several book bloggers express that they have become more critical readers as a result of blogging, and I have to agree.  You have to write something, so you keep track of your thoughts better, for starters.  I may also have a harder time suspending disbelief than some readers, and that’s okay.  (I come from a family of chronic analyzers.)  So, can I recommend Unwind unreservedly?  No.  But can I say that it was fast-paced and brought up some good talking points without sounding preachy?  Absolutely yes.


Borrowed from work.

One thought on “Wind-Up Kids

  1. Pingback: Unwind, Unwholly….Neal Shusterman is my hero | Sharing Stories


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s