Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Publication Date:
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0857079972, ISBN-13: 978-0857079978
Synopsis: Unwind is set in a future America where abortion and contraception are banned following a civil war. Unruly children from the ages of 13 to 18 can be “unwound” – divided into component parts for organ donation without being technically killed. Connor, Risa, and Lev are all marked for unwinding, and their paths cross in a way that has explosive consequences for all three.
Availability: This book is available from online retailers and in all major bookstores in hardback, paperback, and ebook format. It is the first book of a trilogy which also includes Unwholly and Unsouled.



Total Score

User Rating
1 total rating



The concept behind this book is great, and the characters are compelling.


There are moments of writing that seem poor to an adult reader, and there could be more description of the book’s world.

Bottom Line

Unwind is frightening, exciting, and compelling. If you can get past the occasional bumpy moment, you will find it is a great read.

Posted July 19, 2014 by

Full Review & Best Prices

Click here to Read the Full Review

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

The concept of Unwind is enough to draw in any fan of science fiction or dystopian literature. In the near future, following a civil war known as “The Heartland War”, American society has banned abortion and contraception. However, life is only sacred up until the age of 13. When children reach that age their parents can send them to be “unwound”. New technology means that those who are unwound will still technically be alive: just in a “divided state” with their minds and bodies scattered among hundreds of donors. On the bright side, no part goes to waste. On the negative side… well, all of it, really.

Unwind follows Connor, a rebellious teenager who is sentenced to unwinding by his parents, Risa, who grew up in a state home and is being unwound due to budget cuts, and Lev. Lev is a “tithe” – he is being unwound as he is his parents’ tenth child and their religion requires it. Unlike Connor and Risa, Lev is happy to be unwound, at least at first. The book tells the tale of their break from the law and fight for survival in a world that sees them as less than nothing.

There are great things about this book. Unlike many dystopian novels, Unwind explores details about the society that readers would wonder about. For example, Shusterman outlines how medicine has stagnated: why cure diseases when you can just replace the damaged organ with a part from an unwound teenager? He also goes into detail about the inevitable consequences of thousands of unwanted children being born every year, and explores the morality of the society in some depth through the eyes of his characters. You will feel true disgust for anyone who tries to defend unwinding, and empathy with the people suffering as a result of the practice.

Unwind has touches of genuine horror. The reader is teased with the possibility of finding out how unwinding actually happens for as long as possible, and the consequences of the process going wrong are horrifically demonstrated by the plight of one character. The thought of unwinding rapidly goes from a weird sci-fi notion to an authentic fate worse than death.

The book is well structured, maintaining a fast pace and consistent sense of danger. You can feel the oppressive nature of the world in which the book is set. The dialogue fits the age of the characters without becoming annoying or sounding unrealistically mature, and by the end of the novel you feel like they are real people.

Parts of Unwind could be better written. Some descriptions of adult behaviour in particular sound adolescent and jarring, and overall we get very little idea of what the characters look like. At times it feels like the novel could have done with being read once more by an editor. However, this doesn’t happen very often and you are quickly pulled back into the story.

Overall, Unwind is an engaging, suspenseful, and fascinating read. The writing pulls you along with the story and the characters feel organic and real. This novel is well worth reading, and you may even decide to proceed to the other books in the trilogy when you’re done.

Find the most competitive price for Unwind in the table below. If viewing from a mobile device please click on + to get more information.

[flatable product_name=’unwind by neal shusterman|unwind neal shusterman|unwind -cussons -calming -relax -candle -strip -series -diffuser -jar’ product_columns=’merchant_name|img|product_name|desc|price|more’ product_img_class=’imgResizeClass’ amazon_category=’Books’]

Did you enjoy this review? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to give it a rating so that we can tally the total user ratings. If you have spotted a factual error in the review, please let us know here.

Mary D

Mary D


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response


− 5 = zero