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UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

UNWIND

From the Unwind Dystology series

By Neal Shusterman

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1204-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Shusterman’s Everlost (2006) dealt with death and children with a sense of innocence, redemption and even humor. None of that is present here. In a time not far distant, life is deemed to be sacrosanct from the instant of conception until the age of 13. From 13 to 18, however, parents and guardians have the opportunity to have children “unwound.” Technically, life doesn’t end, but every part of the child is “harvested” to be parceled out and passed on to the highest bidder. In this gruesome age of organ harvest, readers meet Connor (doomed to be unwound by his parents), Risa (doomed as a ward of the state due to overcrowding) and Lev, a tithe, conceived for the express purpose of being unwound and “donated” to society. Their story of escape and struggle to survive in a society that lauds itself on the protection of life, but which has reduced human body parts to market commodities, unrolls against a bleak background of indifference, avarice, guilt, regret, loss, pain and rebellion. Well-written, this draws the reader into a world that is both familiar and strangely foreign, and generates feelings of horror, disturbance, disgust and fear. As with classics such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, one can only hope that this vision of the future never becomes reality. (Science fiction. YA)