bookblogging · Books · Dystopia · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Unwind – Neal Shusterman


I have recently begun watching a lot of Booktube and one of the Booktubers (I don’t remember which one) claimed this book to have one of the creepiest and chilling premise for a book. Naturally, I looked into it.  I liked what I read on Goodreads and I got a copy for my Kindle. My expectations weren’t high, despite the great rating on Goodreads, and more so because YA, in general, is something I do not enjoy reading.

It surprised me on so many counts. This was unlike any YA book I’ve read before and it was an absolutely fantastic read. Unwind is a fast, action packed tale with a great many surprising things happening. There are plenty of characters but each of them has been well done and developed in small, meaningful ways and each of them manages to hit a chord as they represent the different situations and circumstances that life brings us.

The plot itself was expertly crafted and the story took unexpected turns many, many times and each time it delighted me. I really liked how different events created different impacts for each of the characters and how that changed them in unique ways. And such events were in plenitude in this book. A lot of the concepts – including the way the society works – like clappers, the consciousness and memories retained in the replaced organs, etc were really interesting. It’s chilling even more how acceptable everyone else is. It is unthinkable that parents would have their own flesh and blood unwound in this manner, that a child would be required to be on his best behavior lest he be unwound and yet as the book progresses, the struggle becomes more and more believable.

The main characters go through a lot of ups and downs and the great part is you get to see how clearly they’ve grown and matured due to their experiences. I loved Connor and Lev and I think I’ve got them figured out. About Risa, I am less certain. To me, she appears a bit too good to be true, somewhat intimidating. Always cool and calm, always thinking rationally before acting. Always has an answer to get them out of messes. I’ve seen Connor, Lev and even Roland make mistakes and then learn the hard way, and because of that I can relate to them better. But with Risa I fear I would never be able to be so composed at all times, especially in the face of such adversities.

Another thing that bothered me some was Lev’s transformation. Since the book doesn’t delve into – at least not in the first book – that period between his escape from Joplin and arrival at the Graveyard, I find it slightly unbelievable and immeasurably sad to see the transformation that takes place in the thirteen year old.

Despite of these minor complaints,however, I thought this was an absolutely brilliant read. Technically, this falls in the Young Adult wing, a wing I usually steer clear off. But books that make you overlook your preferences are the best possible books; they surprise you with their ingenuity and drive you to acknowledge that there are gems to be found even in piles you’ve resolved never to delve into.

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