By Neal Shusterman
Published November 2007
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
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.

I have read a lot of books with a lot of premises that had to be stretched for, but man does this one take a cake. Not the cake. Someone stole the actual cake a long time ago and I don't want to think about what happened to it. But a cake. Unwind, to put it simply was a chore. I was fine with it when it was only the three MCs who had POV chapters, but then every so often the author would throw in a random other person to have a POV chapter and things got...odd. I mean, I can understand why "The Mob" should get its own POV paragraphs, but they would've been just as easily served through the established POV person who was present. But no, of course not. And this happens every so often in the book. It's a plot device that would've been better used within the existing structure of the book instead of just as a means for things to be told that apparently the MCs couldn't be present for? I'm still confused.

The whole book felt contrived. Beyond that? None of the MCs were all that well developed or sympathetic (oh hey look, rape as a plot point again, yeah that's real cool, thanks sir,) and so much stuff was just handwaved over that the path of at least one character stopped making sense after a while. What happened to this kid between point C and D to change them so drastically? Nobody knows!

There's a standard Love Interest thing going on which uh- Look this book came out in 2007, I'm just going to get spoiler happy right now. I don't care if it was part of the Bigger Plan, you do not just decide to date the guy who leaves you to get raped. It shouldn't matter that his gamble with your body proved to be correct and you didn't get raped, that's not the point. The point is that the girl in this situation was already terrified and compromised so since when does the natural course of action follow that you're going to go have secret makeouts with the guy who abandoned you to that fate? No. I'm sorry, but no. And beyond that, there wasn't anything really distinctive about these characters' voices in the first place. Risa could've been Connor could've been Lev. There was more than once that I had to check to see whose chapter I was on because I couldn't tell through context clues. They're all interchangable in their own ways and it doesn't matter.

I have the other three books in this series, but I can honestly say that I've got no intention of reading them. I just...what is this and why did I waste my time on it? Beyond that, book one doesn't feel like the beginning of a series. It feels like a self-contained universe and for all I know the rest of this series was just tacked on afterwards for whatever reason. I'm sorry, folks. I just. I can't with this book. It's not even that it's the most poorly written thing I've read. It's just...bleh.

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