UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, Sequel to Unwind

A Young Adult Book Review

Unwholly book coverNeal Shusterman's UnWholly -- the long-awaited sequel to Unwind, and the second book in what will be the Unwind trilogy -- does not disappoint!

Unwind and UnWholly are must-reads for fans of Young Adult novels that give us a glimpse into a bone-chilling dystopian future, similar to the Hunger Games trilogy.

Author Neal Shusterman tells readers in the introduction to UnWholly that he did not mean to write a trilogy, but that he just couldn't get the world he created in Unwind out of his head. This is understandable because the world of Unwind may just be the scariest and most plausible dystopian future yet.

In Unwind, we are introduced to the United States of America after the country has gone through a second civil war. This war, referred to as The Heartland War, was fought over the issue of abortion. The Pro-Life Army fought the Pro-Choice Army until a stalemate was reached and a compromise was decided upon: Abortion prior to birth would be illegal, but between the ages of 13 and 18, a child could be retroactively aborted if it was deemed that the teen's life had been a mistake. The public justified this action, called "unwinding," as being different from murder by using all of each unwound kid's organs in transplant surgeries. Therefore, the teen doesn't really die, because all of his or her parts live on in what is known as a divided state... or do they?

Unwind follows three kids, each with a different story: A boy whose parents chose to have him unwound because he was getting into too much trouble and not doing well at school, a girl who was a ward of the state and fell prey to budget cuts, and a young boy from a religious family who was a "tithe," raised from birth to be unwound as a way for his family to give charity.

"Wholly" is a term created by AWOL Unwinds, those who were able to get away from their divided fate. While both AWOL and Unwind are negatively charged terms, the escaped kids feel that they have a right to their lives, and a right to stay whole, and should have a positive word to describe themselves: Wholly. In UnWholly, readers are given the opportunity to examine morality, mortality, fear and loyalty along with the characters. This second book takes us deeper, allowing us to learn more about the Heartland War, about how unwinding came to be, what may be the real reasons behind it, and the possibility of "rewinding"...