Shopping Cart

Taking Apart Unwind by Neal Shusterman


“Unwind” by Neal Shusterman is a gripping dystopian novel that explores the moral complexities of a society where unwanted teenagers are harvested for their body parts. Shusterman skillfully weaves together suspenseful storytelling with thought-provoking themes, prompting readers to reflect on the consequences of dehumanizing practices. The characters’ journeys and the ethical dilemmas they face make “Unwind” a compelling and unsettling read, raising questions about the value of life and the lengths society might go to maintain order. Shusterman’s unique concept and well-crafted narrative make this book a standout in the dystopian genre.

The best thing:

Unwind is possibly the best book I have read in a long time. There were other great titles, especially in the young adult section, such as Maze Runner and Hunger Gamers, but the Shusterman weaves the complexity of black and white morality into shades of grey.

The concept of unwinding is exprienced through the actions of three characters from three very different walks of life. First, there is Connor. He is a troubled teen who’s parents chose to unwind him without telling him. Second, there was Risa Ward. Just as her name implies, she was a fifteen-year-old piano playing ward, but STAHO (State Home) chose to unwind her to cut orphange cost. Finally, there was Levi, a former tithe. He was a thirteen years old boy that was being unwound as a tithe to God, because he is the 10th child. The paths of these individuals led to a great awaken within their society that caused all sorts trouble for unwinds, politicians and society alike.

Shusterman masterfully tells the tale of these individuals while putting each within a moral quandry that makes the reader also experience the thoughts, feelings and decisions made for each characters. “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman is filled with intense and thought-provoking scenes. Some notable ones include:

1. The Harvest Camp Escape: The escape from the Harvest Camp is a tense and thrilling moment as the characters navigate danger to reclaim control of their destinies.

2. The Graveyard Scene: The interactions at the Graveyard, where unwound teens find refuge, showcase the depth of relationships and the resilience of the human spirit amidst the harsh realities of their world.

3. The Unwinding Process: Scenes depicting the actual unwinding process are haunting and emotionally charged, providing a stark portrayal of the consequences of a society that views human lives as disposable.

4. The Grave Robber’s Tale: The chapter that delves into the perspective of a character involved in harvesting body parts adds complexity and raises moral questions, making readers question the ethics of the society depicted.

5. The Clapper Attack: The Clappers, individuals who detonate explosives attached to themselves, create a sense of constant tension and unpredictability, with each Clapper attack leaving a lasting impact on the characters and the narrative.

These scenes contribute to the overall impact of “Unwind,” creating a story that is both gripping and thought-provoking.


Unwind is possibly one of the first reviews where the subject of the review has received five stars. It is filled with suspense, hijinks and morality questions. Although this book is written for young adults, it has many ideas that will need to be discussed thoroughly. Shusterman does a great job presenting both sides and making the characters choose, but for someone who may not have the context or historical reference, will need that extra points of view to explain the complexity of the second civil war, complexity of conception and choice.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

You May Also Like