by Neal Shusterman
Received from paperbackswap.com
Holy crud this is a scary YA dystopia. Most dystopia’s are scary, it is part of the genre but this one really struck a nerve. I am actually extremely disturbed right now. So, there was a second civil war and for some reason, it doesn’t really matter why, the two sides decided that all people have a right to life until age 13. Between 13 and 18 a kid can be unwound, sold for parts (a sort of later in life abortion) if they are wards of the state, their parents decide they are too much work, or their guardian signs them away. There are tons of cops making sure these unwind kids don’t run away. It is big business for the government. But they aren’t technically killed, they are just disassembled and they live on in the people who need their body parts. Yay! I didn’t have my kid killed, he lives on in hundreds of different people, he is still alive and I don’t have to deal with him or feel guilty. Isn’t that wonderful? Shusterman makes sure you know if the kid is still “there” and it is a little bit horrifying.
The adults in this world live with their heads up their butts or in the sand or whatever allowing this to happen. The crazy thing is, they all feel guilty when they send a kid to be unwound, but they spout the same marketing BS to try to make the kid and themselves feel better about it. YA books usually have adults as clueless or evil or stupid and the kids know better, but wow, these adults can be quite harsh, though not all, because some are amazing. But society has deemed it acceptable, so there you go.
Read this book. It is horrible, it is tough and it is so well done. Some terrible decisions are made by all sorts of people young and old. I liked it from the first few pages. It grabs you and shakes you around and clonks you on the head a few times. I like pushy reading material I guess. So, think back on your life, when you were 13 or 15, not the best of years for many of us. You go through puberty, you fight with your folks, you feel sullen and removed…how many of us would have ticked off our folks and been unwound? Or had a sibling unwound? Seriously. There is this scene, well a couple of them actually that are so intense. I think some of them will haunt me for some time to come. Much like an after image of a bright light on my retinas.
I really think I need to read something romancy or cozy or something like that to feel better about life. This book is well-written, makes you think, has full, well-rounded primary and secondary characters and has a crazy idea but shows you how it could really happen. It also has dangling storylines that get woven together seemlessly. I loved that certain things were brought back up and answered or just came full circle. There will soon be another book and I imagine any open-ended storylines or remaining questions will be answered. Also, discord has been sown…I am hoping we will eventually see the fall of this unwinding business. This book scared me, was well written, had characters I cared about and made me think, I give this book 5 stars.