No one ever thought there would be a second Civil War. But there was. And the reason was reproductive rights. The result is disturbing. The only way for me to explain it would be Neal Shusterman’s explanation. So here it is:
“Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end.”
It’s terrible. But there’s no way to escape it. There are three main characters in this book. Each chapter is written from a different perspective.
Let’s start with Connor, shall we?
Connor is a troublesome teen. In this day and age, all his parents would do is ground him, possibly send him to a boarding school (at worst), but it’s not this day and age. Connor’s parents ordered him to be unwound. Connor wouldn’t even know it if he hadn’t found the papers. He decides to make his parents feel guilty. Make them regret their decision. Haunt them until the day they die. So he gets to work acing classes, tests. He can see how every time he comes home with a smile on his face and an “A” on his test he would’ve normally failed, their smiles wither. Their faces betray their words. Guilt creeps into every word, every expression.
He wants them to suffer, but getting closer to his unwinding date, he realizes that’s not enough. He can’t be unwound. He won’t be. He needs to run away.
Moving on to Risa…
Risa is among the many others owned by the state. They need to stay talented. They need to be special, unique. Enough to keep from becoming unwound. That’s why Risa is so nervous for her piano recital. She knows the songs by heart, but one slip up…
When her first slip up is accompanied by a second and a third, she’s extremely scared. Then, she’s called down. They tell her she’s going to be unwound, and that it’s an honor to be unwound. She’ll be helping people in the future.
But she can’t be. She just can’t. When Connor gives her the chance to run away, she takes it. On her way to the camp for unwinds, her bus falls over. Thanks to Connor and the mess he’s making. There’s her window of escape. She takes it, with Connor.
On to Lev…
Lev is a tithe. A tithe is someone who was conceived, born, and raised to be unwound. His story starts at his party celebrating his coming of age. He is finally thirteen. He can finally be unwound. He’s on his way to the camp for all who are going to be unwound, when Connor runs in front of his car, stops it, grabs Lev and runs. The second Lev has the chance to come back to his car, his Pastor tells him to go. To run. He doesn’t know why, but he does anyway.
Connor, Risa, and Lev are together. Running away. They need each other to survive. And as much as they don’t want to trust each other, it’s their last hope.
Now I don’t know about you guys, but that was some intense stuff. And I mean it. I’ve called a lot of things intense over my short life, but this is the real deal. Reading this, you know Neal Shusterman isn’t going to be scared of writing about deaths, or making anyone die. So, unlike pretty much every other novel I’ve ever read, you don’t have the comfort of the fact the author would never have the main character die. It’s scary. There’s no comfort. No fluff. If this story were a pillow, it would be an empty pillowcase. Like I said, no fluff. This is definitely a kind of book that makes you think:
This is where the world is headed. Darn it! Better happen after I’m dead.
But seriously, this book makes you think. It’s creepy. It’s honest. I’m pretty sure the honesty scared some people away. If I were a year younger, I might even be scarred for life. But I’m old enough now to handle it. I mean after reading this, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. It was really scary. I don’t want this to happen to the world, but it’s possible it might happen. Or something like it.
This book was genius. The way it was written, it was amazing. And now there’s going to be two more novels in the series. I’m excited, but scared. Anything can happen. By reading the first book, it’s obvious Neal Shusterman isn’t trying to skirt around and be on the safe side. He’s going all out. Anyone will die. But this book is just so amazing. I’m not gonna say I loved reading it and the experience, but it was just such an amazingly written and plotted book, I’m just going to have to give it…