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Book Review: Unwind

If you're looking for a suspenseful dystopian fiction detailing one’s rights to their own body, then Unwind is the book for you. Unwind is a fantasy full of action, mystery, romance, and horror. This dystopian book written by Neal Shusterman starts with a boy attempting to run away from his parents for signing a contract to “unwind” him.

To “unwind” is essentially when the parents have the legal right to redistribute their child’s body parts before they’re 18. The parts keep their muscle memory but are transplanted onto strangers. The “unwind” law was passed after a civil war broke out over reproductive rights, an idea similar to present-day conflicts regarding abortion. The two sides made a compromise: you could “unwind” your child if you decided it was right for you or your family.

Connor, the protagonist, meets two others, Lev and Risa. Lev is a rich “tithe,” which is a person conceived and raised to be unwound. He is helpful at first but a bit problematic. On the other hand, Risa is a ward of the state, living in a “state home.”She is a talented pianist, but according to the shelter, not talented enough to be kept alive. Later on, these three characters run away from the police force to avoid being unwound.

The story starts with Connor running away after realizing he was going to be unwound. He wasn’t going to go alone, or so he thought. But after his best friend refuses to run away with him, he has no other choice and goes alone.

Meanwhile, Risa starts her piano recital and messes up a few times, which leads to her being sent to the headmaster's office to become unwound. As she’s being transported to the harvest camp, the bus swerves to the right to avoid two kids on the road. It lands in a ditch and Risa sprints at the door.

In the next chapter, Lev arrives at his own “tithing” party, which is an event dedicated to him being unwound. Lev is on his way to the harvest camp with his father, mother, and family friend Pastor Dan. Lev is pulled out of the car and is held hostage by Connor. The police are there too. Connor becomes distraught by the sight of Risa coming out of a bus and he follows her. Meanwhile, Lev is attempting to help Pastor Dan out.

The book is satirical as it seemed the author wanted to appear as if he was on both sides of this “civil war”. Throughout Unwind, Shusterman does not include any personal opinions about the issues of reproductive rights in real life or in the book. Also, the author appears to be mocking “The Bill Of Life” which is the law that made unwinding legal.

Overall, this book was enjoyable because of the way the author tells the story, and I recommend it to anyone who likes mystery or thriller books. Unwind is a book that will always leave you wondering what happens next.

[Source: Unwind by Neal Shusterman]

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