I’ve decided to start posting any 5-star reviews of books that I’ve been reading lately, so here’s one that I finished a few weeks ago:
Description from Amazon:
“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 serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.”
While I admit that I felt the writing left something to be desired, and that the concepts themselves asked the reader to stretch the imagination past the realm of the possible, this is the first book in a while that I read over the course of a single day, and then stuck with me for hours afterward.
I think one reason this story can have such an impact is because the main theme – abortion – is such a hotly-debated topic these days. The book does a fantastic job of pointing out how often laws and religious beliefs are invoked while completely and easily ignoring the people whose lives are impacted by them. The story also depicts the helplessness that many teens and children feel in their lives. The themes were ones that aren’t really talked about, but which should be.
I did find it difficult to get used to the first-person point of view from which the story was written, but that is more due to personal preference than the author’s abilities. I wanted a little more atmosphere here and there, and more descriptions in which we were shown rather than told what was going on, but overall I think this story was more about the characters and the themes rather than the setting, so that can be overlooked.
Read this is if you like getting lost in an idea, and don’t mind having your insides twisted a little bit. Read this if you aren’t sure what you think about certain social issues, but don’t expect to have an answer by the end. Overall, a thrilling ride through the not-quite-possible, and in the end you’ll be very glad for that fact.
Have you read this book? Know what I should read next? Let me know in the comments!