Book Quibbles: Unwind

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen.

It’s been years since I read this book but I continued to follow the series for a few more sequels. The thought is scary that a human being from the age of 13-18 can be thrown out of their home, taken to a harvest camp, and torn apart all so pro-lifers can be happy thinking that that human being is still alive, supporting someone else’s body.

Okay I don’t want to get into a pro-life vs pro-choice debate. To be honest both sides are moronic in this story.

The story revolves around a world where both sides are happy because a child has to be born, but that child can be turned away once they reach a certain age and “unwound.”

We follow three teens all on their way to a harvest camp but for different reasons: Connor is a good example of a family not wanting to deal with a “troubled” teen anymore so they sign away any say he has in it and give him up. Risa is a ward of the state, with some musical talent that is probably the one big reason she’s still around, but because of money issues she’s sent away. Then there’s Lev, whose been raised since birth to believe that being unwound is a great honor.

You know how people say the Purge is unrealistic because in what world could that possibly happen? Yeah that’s how I feel about this book.

When I was younger I enjoyed it. Probably because I was between the ages of 13-18 and felt for these characters. Thinking about my parents giving me up because they didn’t want me anymore is a scary thought. Now that I’m beyond that age group…it just doesn’t make sense.

I can’t see this happening in any scenario and making everyone happy. Pro-choicer’s would be furious knowing they had to not only go through 9+ months of carrying a baby but raising it for 13 years before giving it up. In the end, they’re probably going to keep them after forming some kind of bond. Now there is this thing called storking that allows you give up the baby but it’s pretty risky doing it.

Then pro-lifer’s how could they sit back and let the potential young minds of the country be torn apart just to save someone’s life? Any disease/medical problem is rarely thought about because a new body part is just given to them.

What’s even crueler is we get a scene as a boy is unwound. They are aware of the whole process happening, up until their brain is messed with and even after that, any person who gets part of that brain basically has characteristics of that person’s personality. But it’s okay because they’re technically still alive.

With that rant over the actual story did keep me reading, obviously since I read the sequels. Even though the characters weren’t the most fleshed out, I still wanted to see them get away and find a safe haven where they could stay until they turned eighteen. And there are good people in the world who harbor these runaway teens, but the process is long and scary and you never know when something could happen that reveals the whole plan.

Of course we have a romance in the book that doesn’t need it but whatever, it’s not overly forced.

The story is just us following these three characters trying to survive and abolish the unwinding law. And you want to see them succeed. Not just because you care about the characters but because of how absurd the whole idea is.

I’ve read numerous books by this author, Neal Shusterman, one being the Skinjacker trilogy (that I should review sometime) and enjoyed that very much and still like the concept. Like I said I did enjoy reading this when I was younger, but haven’t even thought about reading the fourth one.

Once you get over the thought of this happening it becomes a story about survival and you end up rooting for any person being unwound. They didn’t ask to be born, given a life, and have it taken away in an instant. If you didn’t like the older generation before this book, well, it’s not going to help.


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