Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Plot Summary:
The uprising at Happy Jack Harvest Camp was only the beginning. Not only are Unwinds rebelling, but the public now knows what it means to be unwound. Although Unwinds believe that Connor the Akron AWOL is nothing but a legend, many of them believe in his legacy and are fighting their way to sanctuary where they cannot be touched or harvested. For Mason Starkey (aka. Starkey) his luck has run out. After being dragged from his bed, in the middle of the night, Starkey reflects on his past and the injustice. Starkey was storked, which means his biological mother abandoned him on the front porch of his adopted family, and has been conflicted about it his whole life. Could this be the reason why he acted out so much? Unfortunately, his actions have forced his parents to sign the "UnWind" order and, although he acts like he doesn't care, he is terrified about the Harvest camp. However, he recalls the Akron AWOL and decides to take his fate in his own hands. When he asks his Juvy's to stop and get him something to eat, he decides to run, but what happens next is utter disaster. After living on the run, Starkey earns a reputation that earns him a lot of respect just like Akron AWOL, but for different reasons. Connor is known for his kindness and fairness; whereas, Starkey is the cunning and strong. When Starkey arrives at the Graveyard, he learns that the Akron AWOL is not dead, but very much alive. However, Connor is not what Starkey thought he was and that creates a lot of disappointment, which leaves Starkey no other choice: challenge Connor as leader. For Miracolina, she has accepted her fate as a Tithe and that her place is to return to God after saving her brother's life with a bone marrow transplant. Although her parents are starting to regret the fact that she must be harvested, she decides that she is at peace with this decision while they live in regret. After picking up another Tithe, Timothy, Miracolina is on her way to the Harvest Camp scared and anxious. What was supposed to be a journey to the end is changed when the van caring her and her friend is hijacked and they are taken to a secret location where they meet Lev--the Tithe who rebelled. For Cam, he doesn't know who or what he is. When he finally awakens, his thoughts are jumbled and his memories are blurred. Who is Cam? What was he created for? And what Starkey? What is he trying to accomplish? All of these questions will be answered, but the peace that the Graveyard knows will be threatened and, although the war on "Unwinding" was won, the battle for survival has only just begun.

Critical Evaluation:
O-M-G!!! I had not idea that Neal Shusterman would Unwind into a series! I will admit that I had one heck of a time reading this book not only because it's about a very, very controversial subject, but the very idea "Unwinding" just scares me. Without getting into the politicking, readers are faced with a very real and disturbing alternative between two very different ideologies. In this sequel, as Connor, Lev, and Risa as take on more AWOL Unwinds, things are getting more dangerous where AWOL's are being snatched and harvested by pirates (who make a lot of money) and there organ/body aprt donations are low. Although the order to reduce the age of "Unwinding" (where teens the ages of 17 & older can no longer be unwound) have brought this reviled practice into the light, things have gotten worse. In fact, Connor is struggling with the massive waves of escapees and he has no idea how he will house, clothe and feed everyone. Connor has grown up so much and, despite the fact that he is the leader, its obvious that its taking its toll on him. As for Lev, he is now a legend among the Tithes, which has been a good and a bad thing. With Risa, she feels the strain in her relationship with Connor and it worries her. Although the gang is faced with these hardships, nothing could prepare them for Cam. Cam, as we learn, is an enigma. Although we think he is a human, what we learn is much more complicated and scary. Granted that "unwinding" is a very unethical practice, it's even scarier to think that this process is now being used create a better human race. I don't know about you, dear readers, but I don't want my body parts, and yours as well, to be used in a giant human "Build-a-Bear" workshop to make a new, and improved, version of Lindsay Lohan. Along with Cam, another character is introduced and his name is Starkey. Starkey is the typical bad boy who was supposed to be sent to the harvest camps only to escape by committing the ultimate crime. Starkey is very unpredictable and, as readers get further and further into the story,  he is not to be trusted because he has his own set of plans that could help or destroy the sanctuary that was made by the Admiral. This is the latest plot twist in the "Unwind" trilogy and it will seriously leave readers wanting more, which is coming soon!

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.
In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal's talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently played in several major cities. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful "How to Host a Mystery" game for teens, as well as seven "How to Host a Murder" games.

Teen Dystopian Thriller

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 10 & up

Books Similar to UnWholly:

Awards & Recognition:

"A breathless, unsettling read."--Kirkus Reviews

"Shusterman continues to develop and expertly twist plotlines begun in the first book, picking up the pace with short chapters and a present tense narrative while interspersing for verisimilitude actual recent news items about real organ harvesting and abandoned and “feral” teens. Perfectly poised to catch the Hunger Games wave and based on an even more plausible dystopian scenario...Fans will want to get their hands on this the second it’s released." (Booklist )

"Smart, intense, and thought provoking, this series will stick with readers."--VOYA, 5Q

“Shusterman elegantly balances the strikingly different perspectives of the three main protagonists effectively, and these dissimilar approaches to life highlight the ways in which the larger world grapples with unwinding. …The high quality of UnWholly will inspire readers to go back to see what was missed as well as stoke anticipation for the final book.” (The Horn Book )

Thematically rich and packed with action, commentary, and consequences, this is a strong pick for dystopia fans that will also appeal to reluctant readers. (BCCB )

"This sequel to Unwind is well worth the wait...the characters, action, and drama make it easy for readers to be drawn into the story and the weighty issues, such as what it means to be human and what it means to sacrifice for others. Several plot twists at the end not only make for a satisfying conclusion, but also expertly set the stage for the final installment of the trilogy." (School Library Journal )

"Readers will come to think deeply about the question of survival, and to what extremes one would go to for survival of themselves and loved ones. This book is a welcome addition to a science fiction collection, with threads of romance, adventure, and alternate universes which are closer to becoming reality. Recommended." (Library Media Connection

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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