A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that UnWholly is the second book in the Unwind trilogy and continues the saga of a group of brave teens trying to survive in a society that wants use them for spare body parts. There's some violence, including an armed attack on a camp full of teens, a couple of fatal shootings, a brutal beating, and a plane crash with multiple casualties. The violence is not depicted with graphic detail, and the processing of harvesting organs for transplantation is not described at all. There's very little swearing ("hell," "damn") and just a couple of kisses.
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What's the story?
UNWHOLLY takes place in the aftermath of the revolt at the Happy Jack Harvest Camp and follows the further exploits of three of its chief instigators, Connor, Risa, and Lev, introduced in Unwind. Connor is in charge of running the Graveyard, safe haven for teenagers in danger of being "unwound" -- involuntarily having their organs and tissues transplanted in someone else. When Risa, confined to a wheelchair, tries to get medical treatment for an injured Graveyard resident, she suddenly finds herself a pawn in a deadly game with Cam, the first individual created entirely from unwound tissue. Meanwhile, Lev becomes involved with the underground movement to rescue "tithes," those who seek unwinding voluntarily.
Is it any good?
This series takes a far-fetched premise -- that parents would voluntarily authorize their children to be taken away as unwilling organ donors -- and makes it work well enough for a second outing. Author Neal Shusterman keeps the tension cranked high and expertly choreographs a number of complicated action sequences. He also provides some intriguing food for thought with the subplot revolving around Cam, the modern-day Frankenstein's monster, made entirely from the flesh of others. As the middle book of a trilogy, UnWholly feels a little static, but Shusterman provides sufficient new wrinkles to keep the plot interesting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about organ transplanting as a sci-fi premise. Why do you think authors and readers are intrigued by stories about creating creatures with parts of other humans? Can you think of other books that have explored this theme?
Why do some societies seem to blame teenagers and young adults for civil unrest? Do you think young people are ever used as scapegoats?
If you read the first book in the series, Unwind, how do you think UnWholly compares?
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