UnWholly – Book Description
Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.
Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.
Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.
Awards & Honors
In the first book in the Unwind Trilogy, Shusterman introduces us to a world in which parents can offer their teen children to be “unwound,” physically dismantled, every body part donated to other bodies in need. While mostly it is troubled teens who are arrested and unwound under protest, some so fetishize “living divided” that they promise their children from birth as a tithe. Book two, Unwholly, follows the stories of various teens living outside of the law, many in underground sanctuaries for unwinds until they are eighteen and lawfully protected. Lev, Conner, and Risa face challenges both old and new as they continue to fight to protect threatened teens. While the government continues to crack down on resistance to unwinding and pirates continue to flood the black-market with runaway unwinds, there are also rescued teens who actually want to live divided, as well as newly discovered underground communities—both for and against unwinding—that emerge. There is also the matter of Cam, the first composite human. Combined, Lev, Conner, Risa, and others face an increasingly surveilled and hostile environment. To add to the terror of this dystopic future, Shusterman includes real news pieces that show how society might be heading to an eerily similar ideological place. Various perspectives intensify the complex systems the protagonists are working against, namely the complicity with which average citizens accept legal policy. Smart, intense, and thought provoking, this series will stick with readers.
Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec
After surviving the attack on the Happy Jack Harvest Camp, the heroes from Unwind (2007) lead the revolt against the Unwind Accord. Connor, aka the Akron AWOL, now heads up the resistance at the Graveyard, an abandoned airfield where 700-plus unwind escapees live in hiding. His wheelchair-bound girlfriend, Risa, who also survived the attack, serves as the Graveyard’s nurse. Lev, a former tithe, now leads missions to rescue other tithes from unwinding and sends them to a camp where they can cope. Enter Cam, a schizophrenic, teenage Frankenstein built from the body parts of 99 different unwound teens. Shusterman mercifully supplies a Q&A at the front of this sequel to help readers fill in details from Book 1 in the trilogy. He also does an expert job of plunging them headfirst into his disturbing, dystopic and dangerous future world where teenagers are either handed over by their parents or kidnapped for “unwinding,” or organ harvesting. While the plot moves quickly, the work definitely reads like a sequel–a good one. Shusterman is obviously setting the scene for a big climax in Book 3, and his only fault is excess. There are so many new characters and plot twists and segues that readers may feel overwhelmed or confused, but that won’t stop them from turning the pages. A breathless, unsettling read. (Science fiction. 12 & up)