Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Book 1 in the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman. An incredible book! Based on the premise that a second civil war, also known as The Heartland War, has been waged in the United States over a single issue; abortion. To end the war, a set of constitutional amendments known as the "Bill of Life" was passed, stating that from the moment of conception until a child reaches age 13, that child's life could not be touched.  Between 13 - 18, however, a parent may "retroactively" choose to "abort" a child on the condition that the child's life doesn't technically end; every bit of the child is salvaged for parts for transplant in others. This solution satisfied both pro-choice and pro-life armies (obviously, the author is equating pro-life with pro- birth). The process of salvaging for parts is called "unwinding".

Connor is a troublemaker, so his parents want to be rid of him. Risa is an orphan, has no utility for society, and the orphanage wants to free up her bed. Lev is a "tithe", a sacrifice his strict religious family has planned from his birth. All three are slated for unwinding. this is the story of how they try to escape their fate and the challenges and characters they meet on the way. It's a very thought provoking book. What is a "meaningful" life? Where does the soul go after death? Abortion, transplants, adoption (through the unusual practice of "storking"), and other heavy issues. The author is good about just asking the questions without inserting his own solutions, but letting the reader come to conclusions on his/her own. It is rather heavy for a young adult novel, though that seems to be the norm. I have passed this one on to my kids.

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