Thursday, September 24, 2009
Unwind (YA 2007) - Neal Shusterman
The premise of the near-future YA novel Unwind:
Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups battled it out and decided on a compromise in the form of The Bill of Life, which states that life is sacred and not to be tampered with until a person reaches the age of thirteen. At that time, parents may "retroactively abort" or "unwind" their children, sending them to "harvest camps" where body parts and organs can be removed and given to those who need them. So who gets unwound? Bad kids? Juvenile criminals? Orphans? Wards of the state? The answer is anyone. Until a person reaches the age of eighteen, when life once again becomes sacred, it's a fight for survival.
Shusterman tracks the intertwining lives of three kids: Connor, a troublemaker whose parents have had enough of him; Risa, a ward of the state being unwound to free up space at the orphanage; and Lev, the tenth child of strict religious parents who have offered him up as a "tithe."
So many important moral, philosophical and cultural issues are raised in Unwind, I'm going to let you discover them for yourself. Shusterman has succeed not only in producing a first rate thriller, but also a look into our social conscience. Highly recommended.