Blew me away: A Review of UNWIND by Neil Shusterman

Neil Shusterman
335 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: November 6th, 2007
Source: Paperback Gift
Rating: LOVED

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

First things first, I delved into Unwind thinking Neal Shusterman was a beast. And I came back for air after finishing Unwind knowing he was a uber-beast. The actual reason I read the book was because I had heard of it being banned. But ban or no ban, I know I would have read this book sooner if it wasn’t so old. And as they say old is gold and now I can read the whole series and enjoy it fully. Because after reading this somewhat-thick book of amazingness I’m without a doubt, going to read the next book and the next and the next.

Truth be told, all books are just pretty much retellings of each other, with a few minor tweaks here and other. Like dystopian novels, they’re all the same, one girl (or guy) goes against the government and somehow changes everything. Told once, it’s great, but recycled over and over and over and over and over…… yeah, you get my point. But what Neal Shusterman did with Unwind, is something I have never read or seen in a book before. I mean, the whole process of unwinding your kids after thirteen or a Second Civil War? That is a wholly and completely unique thought, one that could be only written by a master writer such as Neil Shusterman.

The plot: Like I described above, the plot was wholly unique, something that has never been written before. And usually something like that would be enough to keep you enthralled, but Shusterman took it to the next level, adding more twists and turns, that keep you crying and laughing the whole time. I couldn’t place a finger on the genre, since the whole book is a mix of dystopia, sci-fi, and historical fiction, but that should be the least of your worries, as this book will leave you practically breathless.

The characters: Wow, I don’t think anyone has managed to do what Shusterman did with his characters in this book. Not only did he manage to do it successfully, he absolutely blows everyone away with it. He manages to tell the story from so many different perspectives, while being the all knowing narrator, while having amazing dialogue, while keeping you interested, while keeping the main character your favorite and most important, all while making you feel sorry for the bad guys. I know that’s a lot of “while’s”, but that’s really what he manages to do in just one book. And the sum of all that? You never know which character might die or be seriously injured, which leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time, because you care for EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

The setting: Usually I don’t need a very descriptive setting in a book, since I’m very imaginative myself and can do the rest with a pretty mediocre setting. But Shusterman stuck it to my imagination and blew my stumbling little head out of the water with his incredible setting of a United States that exists post a Second Civil War. Because the book doesn’t take place in the future but actually in the present time frame, and Shusterman adapts perfectly, taking you to a world where rebelling as a teen doesn’t just mean being grounded—it means being Unwound.

The cover is officially one of the creepiest I’ve seen, but fits the title and contents perfectly: 5 stars. And I don’t really need to say this if you read the above, but for the sake of being official the book gets 5 stars, and deserves MUCH more.

This review was written by my 15 year old brother

Add UNWIND to Goodreads | Buy UNWIND on Amazon
Find Neil on Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Asma is a cat-loving co-blogger at IceyBooks. She’s a 17 year old homeschooler who spends her time blogging (obviously), reading, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She’s also a huge fangirl of Assassin’s Creed, Marvel, and Six of Crows.



  1. Reply

    Kate- Midnightbookgirl

    January 14, 2014

    Well, you have me completely sold on this book! I might see if it’s on audible now.

  2. Reply


    January 14, 2014

    I agree with your brother, I love this book, it is one of my favorite books, I wish that more people knew that’s great.

  3. Reply

    Amber @bookishwonders

    January 14, 2014

    YAY! So glad you enjoyed it! I loved Neil’s book Brusier. So amazing. I really want to read more of his work :D

  4. Reply


    January 14, 2014

    Huh this is one I just bought thinking I would get around to it… guess I need to move it up on the list.

  5. Reply

    Kasey Giard

    January 15, 2014

    This book is on my to-read list already, so I had to read your post about it. I can’t wait to read the book now! :)

  6. Reply

    Jessica L. Brooks

    January 27, 2014

    I am continually singing the praises over Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND dystology. I love love love it. (And seriously if this book or Neal comes up I cannot shut up.) Totally agree with everything you said, “15 year-old brother” ;D You have GREAT taste. :P

  7. Reply


    January 28, 2014

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!