Unwind is a book that has a kind of light idea for a story. Have you gotten these weird letters in the mail asking for organ donation? Like, if you die but something in your body still works so you give permission for it to be of use? I mean, it's creepy and a little uncomfortable to me, but sadly there are people in this world that really need these sort of things and there's a shortage. So, in the fictional world of Neal Schusterman, there became a practise where kids between the ages of 13 and 18 could get "unwound", meaning their body parts will be removed and donated. Is this murder? The government doesn't put it that way because the parts are still functioning. But somehow overtime, society got used to the idea, and Unwind follows these kids who have been chosen to get unwound. Two of them, Connor and Risa, flee against their will, and another named Lev was going to go with open arms but then a hostage situation and a strange request by his most trusted friend whirls things around. And now Lev has to find out what he wants while Connor and Risa have to survive till they're 18.
Now, I found Unwind to be a book that has kind of an overly instant partnership, one where Connor and Risa trust ach other too quickly to work together on a plan to evade, even if they both have to think quick if they don't want to both get unwound. And there are times where these side characters just out of the blue feel like they have to do the right thing. But that's something kind of hard to complain about. Unwind was published way back in 2007, when Harry Potter was finished up and Twilight was still in anticipation, so the fact that this book seems at times familiar doesn't seem like very fair judgment. The first few chapters are rollercoasters, with a feel of simply unfairness, especially with Risa, who's living in a world where apparently making mistakes is the equivalent of knifing a child.
I really enjoyed Lev's point of view. I've kind of always been interested in religion in society, whether I knew it as a kid or not, and the idea of being unwound as part of a ritual seems realistic for this sort of world. I mean, I'd say pretty much every terrorist in this world does what they do because they believe they will be honoured in heaven. That's what the pilots of the 9/11 planes believed. So the fact that Lev has to question himself was a nice treat and addition.
I then found it a little bit strange the way you are automatically released from your unwind contract by the time you're 18, and there is a character death that was kind of extra sad even though we don't actually know this character and the book kind of shrugs this death off too much, but by the third act of this book when there is an unwind scene that gave me shivers and made me even emotional the way it made me feel like a life was being taken away forever, slowly and slowly, and this big "Lord of the Flies" esque part that had me pumping, I was completely invested.
Unwind is a book that's sort of like a cheese pizza from the best pizza place you can think of: it looks plain at first, but then you realize there are ingredients underneath that don't make it an eye roller. Apparently this series of 4 is very critically acclaimed and the first one's not perfect but my door's staying open.