A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Unwind is the first book in four-part science-fiction saga set in a society that kills teens to obtain body parts for transplants. Amid other violence, there's a very disturbing (though not graphic) scene of dismemberment that makes this book a better choice for teens mature enough to handle this difficult content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the future, a war has been fought between the pro-life and pro-choice armies. Their final settlement: the Bill of Life, which ends abortion but allows parents to choose to have their children "unwound" between ages 13 and 18. "Unwinding" is the transplanting of every part of the teens' bodies; since every bit of their bodies is still "alive," they haven't technically been killed, right? WhenConnor discovers that his parents have signed an order for his unwinding, he tries to escape. Eventually meeting up with Risa, another escaping Unwind, and Lev, whose life has been tithed to the church, Connor tries to keep them all one step ahead of the police. But Lev may have other ideas.
Is it any good?
Once readers have managed the huge suspension of disbelief that UNWIND's premise requires, they'll find the story exciting and thought-provoking. Raising issues that range from abortion, organ transplant, and euthanasia to the rights of parents, children, and society, Shusterman does what he's done many times before -- takes an idea and runs with it far beyond where most authors are willing to go.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the future world presented here. How does it compare to other books, movies, or other media set in the future? Why is it important to read books set in imagined futures? What do we have to gain from this story?
More generally, what is the point of science fiction? Why do you enjoy reading these books? Do you choose them only for entertainment -- or do they improve your critical thinking?
For kids who love science fiction and dystopian novels
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.