The third book of Shusterman’s best-selling series finds legendary “Akron AWOL” Connor and former tithe Lev making their way across the country to Ohio to find a woman who may be able to help them stop the Unwinding forever.
Their journey is first derailed by a car crash, and then Connor gets hijacked along the way by a local yokel in Heartsdale, Kan., who holds him hostage. He escapes, but a second car crash dozens of pages later lands Lev in the infirmary of a Native American reservation. Meanwhile, clappers—human bombs—destroy gyms; Cam, the Rewind, charms a senator’s daughter; Risa escapes a band of hungry coyotes; and several other characters from the previous two novels enter and exit the stage. At first, it’s hard to tell where Shusterman is leading readers. He spends so much time with side stories that the novel has trouble finding the momentum of the first two. Readers won’t really understand the lead plot arc until they’re at least halfway through; this installment reads like multiple subplots cobbled together. They do eventually connect, and readers will enjoy the temporary distraction of each one, but they’ll still be wanting Shusterman to get the heck on with the story.
A meandering, stop-and-start continuation of the Unwind Dystology. (Science fiction. 13 & up)