Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Book Review

Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

I'm not sad to discover that my daughter has become a big reader.

She goes to the library with us and brings home stacks of books. Most she reads. Some she doesn't. But she's always got something at hand to read.

And she has told me more than once that the middle school library "doesn't have any of the good books."

I didn't get a very precise definition of "good".

But I love that she is this much into reading. Her own reading. Her own choices.

Not that this doesn't come with it's own caveats, though.

Caveats for a big reader?


She reads so much, I can no longer keep up with knowing what she is reading, nor can I keep up with knowing what is in those books.

They are, for the most part, young adult books. But I don't really know what is in them.

And there is no real way to know what is in them without just reading them.

But I'm pretty busy reading my own books.

Yet, I need to know. I need to know a bit more about the things she is reading.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy. And I liked it. For what it is.

And I read the Twilight series. I can see why so many have loved the series, but I don't put myself into that category.

And now she has recommended this book to me. So, I see this an opportunity to find out a bit more about the things she is reading.


Unwind has an interesting and unique premise: Parents can choose to have their children no longer exist as they know them (but not killed, exactly), but only when the child is between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. As soon as they turn eighteen, "unwinding" is no longer an option.

Is your child a "problem" child? You could very simply sign a paper and have him or her unwound.

That's it. No more problem child.

I was immediately intrigued. Not because I want this option to exist in our world, but intrigued with the concept and to see how it was developed into a story.

The concept seemed to have huge potential for story telling.

And the author came through on some of that potential.

I seem to have been hoping for a deeper, more thought-provoking story. But this may have been unfounded. I forgot that this is a young adult book.

I think what I really wanted was an adult book written with the same premise.

While I was still midway through the book, I had to forcibly remind myself that this is a young adult book.

It is not an adult book. Not a book written for adults.

It is written for young adults. Who are not really adults. Yet.

And as such, this book meets its potential.

The characters are more than skin deep. The action is almost continual. The concepts are thought-provoking and unique.

This book is worth your time. Or the time of your young adult, as long as the concepts of organ donation, teenage pregnancies, and terrorists are not overly alarming subjects for said young adult.

Also note that the language is not sparkly clean. I would have been happier with fewer curse words. None would have been fine with me, but I do understand the power of a few, well-placed expletives. The author could have retained the intended effect while still using fewer of them.

I recommend this book, but I also recommend some caution and consideration be applied before recommending it to just any young adult.

When it doubt, the adult should read it first and use his or her judgement.

Now... can I find an adult version? How about written from one of the parent's perspectives?

Hmmm.... Another intriguing idea....

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