By Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007. 335 pgs. Teen fiction
A couple generations in the future, a war has been fought over whether abortion is acceptable or not, and unexpected compromise has been reached: babies can't be aborted but when a child is between the ages of 13 and 18, parents can choose to have them unwound, which is the process of harvesting all of their parts and transplanting them to other humans in need of those parts. Connor's parents choose to have him unwound because of his behavior; Risa is an orphan who is deemed as not quite good enough to be allowed to continue existing, and Lev is a tithe, being unwound because of his family's religious beliefs. The three teens cross paths, and soon, they're trying to figure out how to survive in a world that says they don't deserve to live.
Ah! Why did I not read this book 4 years ago when it came out? I don't know, but I'm glad I finally got around to it! I really, really liked this book (which sounds funny to say...how can you like about about unwinding people, right?). It's thought-provoking, it's edgy, it's emotional, it has great characters (I loved Connor and Risa, and Lev is a good secondary character.), and it says a lot about how we value life. From the first page, I was hooked. I love the fact that this isn't just a book about an issue; it has real, well-developed characters and while it makes a statement, it also makes you care about the people in the story.
4.5 stars. Clean read (I think...maybe there's a little language...and there it's implied that two characters might like to go past kissing but they don't.)