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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Module 8: Unwind

Module 8: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Author: Neal Shusterman

Book Summary:
     In the society after the “Heartland War”, families live with the option to “unwind” their children when they are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. According the “The Bill of Life” human life may not touched from the moment of conception until the child is thirteen. After the unwinding process, all parts of the child, from their toes to their ears, are used to help others. Unwind follows three children with different backgrounds who are brought together by their desire to escape their unwind orders. They find an underground railroad of sorts, and various people help them to stay away from the unwind facilities/harvest camps and the juvey-cops out to take them there.

APA Book Reference:
Shusterman, N. (2007). Unwind. New York, NY: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers.
     I enjoyed the different perspectives from which the story was told. Connor, Risa, and Lev have different stories to tell, especially when they are separated, so the format of the book allows the reader to follow all of the characters. Also having chapters from different perspectives seems to be a device used in many young adult books.
     I was unsure at first if I would like this book, because I thought it might be more political considering the subject matter, but it’s really about the lives of these three teens in a dystopian society. I did end up enjoying the book, and I did not realize this book is only the first in a trilogy. When I have time, I will have to read the two books that continue to follow Connor, Risa, and Lev.
The thing that most surprised me about this book was the chapter that follows Roland’s unwinding. I thought the unwinding process would remain a mystery considering that no one in the society knew exactly how the process worked. The chapter still leaves much up to argument however because Roland seems to cease to exist. However, the reader learns from the Admiral’s party at the end that memories and feelings still exist in the pieces.

Professional Review:
Peters, J. (2007). Unwind [Review of the book Unwind]. Booklist Online. Retrieved from: http://booklistonline.com/Unwind-Neal-Shusterman/pid=2120692
“Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Shusterman uncorks a Modest Proposal of his own to solve a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice dilemma. Set in a future in which abortions are outlawed but parents have the option of signing over their 13- to 17-year-olds to be used as organ donors, the tale focuses on 16-year-old Connor, who falls in with other prospective Unwinds and finds a temporary refuge (thanks to a clandestine organization with its own peculiar agenda) before being captured and sent to Happy Jack Harvest Camp. Though laced with intrigue, betrayals, and narrow squeaks, the story is propelled less by the plot (which is largely a series of long set pieces) than by an ingeniously developed cast and premise. But even readers who gravitate more to plot-driven fiction will find this present-tense page-turner thrilling, though it’s guaranteed to leave some feeling decidedly queasy—despite the (improbable) happy ending.”

Library Uses:
     Unwind could be used in a book talk that focuses on fantasy series. It could also be used to start a debate about dystopian future society’s and if they could someday truly exist.


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