UnWholly: Unwind Dystology, Book 2 Book Poster Image

UnWholly: Unwind Dystology, Book 2



Middle volume of organ transplant trilogy extends suspense.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although a science fiction adventure tale, UnWholly raises questions about the ethics of human organ transplantation and how a society might choose to demonize its teenage population.

Positive messages

UnWholly supports the notion that all human beings are unique individuals deserving respect and care. By depicting a society where teenagers are seen as scapegoats and ready sources for transplantable organs, the novel emphasizes the inherent worth of the individual.

Positive role models

The three main characters in UnWholly work for the protection of other, weaker teens -- even at great personal risk. Connor is the most obvious leader, constantly in charge the Graveyard and its young inhabitants. In dealing with the mysterious Cam, Risa must put her own feelings aside and prevent the massacre of her friends. And Lev bravely tries to help a character who would just as soon not have his assistance.


There's a fair amount of violence in UnWholly, most notably an armed assault on a camp full of teens, a game of Russian Roulette, a brutal beating, and a couple of fatal shootings. A plane crash results in a significant number of casualties. The main conflict involves the involuntary harvesting of organs and tissue from teen donors, but that process is never described in any detail.


There's little sexual content in UnWholly. Two main characters, Connor and Risa, clearly love each other, but they do not have a physical relationship. Another male character, Cam, is also attracted to Risa and they share a couple of kisses. 


A few instances of "hell" or "damn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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? 

Book details

Author:Neal Shusterman
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:August 28, 2012
Number of pages:416
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Teen, 13 years old Written byA_Little_Bit_Darker March 25, 2015

It IS a sequel

(SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE. THIS REVIEW IS INTENDED FOR PARENTS WHO DO NOT PLAN TO READ THE BOOK, AND ARE REVIEWING IT FOR THEIR CHILDREN) First of all, you absolutely MUST read the first book, and remember most of it, BEFORE reading this book. Now that that's out of the way, onto the review. This book gives us the question not answered in Unwind. The WHY. And the whole big reason is TEENAGE REBELLION, and justified teenage rebellion at that. The public school system is shut down. Kids are out of school, out of jobs, and on the streets. They petition, they ask, they try to find away to fix this, but they are ignored. They're teenagers, they get angry, they lash out. But the anger doesn't die, it just keep building. Clappers are born. Depressed, suicidal teenagers are angry, and get determined to take as much of the world with them as they can when they die. They alter their blood composition to make it explosive. They blow up. The world is in chaos. War breaks out. People want to kill these teens, who cannot be controlled. Others say life is precious. And the Heartland war ensues. Everyone wins. Everyone looses. The Unwind accord is made and everyone is happy, except the teenagers, the people who started the problem in the first place.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byIzzyFizz August 22, 2015


I read Unwind as a LA project in 7th grade and loved it. I quickly learned that there were sequels, so I checked them out and read them all in a single weekend. Unwholly was a great part of the series, introducing many new and interesting characters. Many things from the previous book were used as plot points, and there were many interesting conflicts. Not for somebody who isn't okay with lots of violence and unsettling and creepy imagery/topics. Even though I'm 13, I tend to enjoy things made for older people, and I'm sure there are plenty of people my age who would NOT be okay with this book, but it is great for teens. There are many characters that continuously grow throughout the series, and looking back to the beginning of the first book, you can see how much Connor especially has grown. Lev and Risa are becoming more and more developed, and we see old characters like Hayden, the Admiral, and all kinds of others. This book really expanded upon the world.
What other families should know
Great role models