By Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Paperback, 9781416912057, 335pp.
Publication Date: June 2, 2009
List Price: $11.99*
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In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn't "technically" end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.
With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines complex moral issues that will keep readers turning the pages until the very end.
* "Gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller...The issues raised could not be more provocative--the sanctity of life, the meaning of being human--while the delivery could hardly be more engrossing or better aimed to teens."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A thought-provoking, well-paced read that will appeal widely."--School Library Journal, starred review
"Well-written, this draws the readers 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."--Kirkus Reviews
"Poignant, compelling, and ultimately terrifying, this book will enjoy popularity with a wide range of readers."--VOYA, 4Q4P
"Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Shusterman uncorks a Modest Proposal of his own to solve a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice dilemma...ingeniously developed cast and premise."--Booklist
"Nail-biting, character-driven thriller."--The Horn Book
"The shocking premise is unveiled immediately, and a nail-biting pace is sustained throughout, with the teens flung headlong into a true life-or-death struggle...these haunting debates will likely linger in the reader's mind even after the riveting plot fades...an ideal blend of philosophy and action set in a compelling futuristic landscape."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The power of the novel lies in what it doesn't do: come down explicitly on one side or the other."--The New York Times Book Review