I was eager to read the fourth and final book of Neal Schusterman’s Unwind series, UnDivided, and I wasn’t disappointed. The entire series highlights a freaky future world not so different from our own in many ways, and this final book wraps up the fast-paced, intricate story beautifully.
I’m going to once again stick to a very vague and brief plot summary, for those people (poor souls) who haven’t yet read any of the series, so you can start at the beginning with Unwind, with no spoilers. The series takes place in the future, when a great war, The Heartland War, was fought over reproductive rights and settled with a document called the Unwind Accord. It states that life begins at the moment of conception, but that during the turbulent teen years, parents have the ability to “unwind” their unruly teens. New technology makes it possible to transplant every part of the human body so that technically, an unwound teen isn’t dead; they’ve just been redistributed. The novel is sprinkled with advertisements and paid political ads that give you an idea of just how far this society has gone: the latest law up for vote is designed to allow criminals to be unwound. You can see what a slippery ethical slope it all is.
Within this chilling future landscape, the main characters of the series are all teens who were designated for unwinding but managed to escape and band together. Connor, Lev, and Risa are all familiar characters from the very first book, with other kids highlighted in this book who were introduced in books 2 and 3 (UnWholled and UnSouled), as well as Cam, a very unique teen who is a product of this brave new world. They are all still being chased by the authorities and are looking for places where they can stay safe, though the focus in this final book is on trying to figure out how to bring about the demise of unwinding once and for all. Many of the main characters are separated at the start of this novel, but they are each working toward these same goals in their own ways.
UnDivided is just as chilling, compelling, and suspenseful as the first three books in the dystology (a new literary term was invented just for this series!). The action is nonstop, as you root for the kids (the good ones anyway) to somehow prevail over the all-powerful Proactive Citizenry corporation and somehow change their whole twisted society. The odds are against them, and there are moments in the novel that made me gasp and yell, “Oh, no!” (much to my husband’s amusement), but the ultimate ending is a satisfying and real-feeling one. Yes, this is exciting, fast-paced, action-packed suspense but it is also thoughtful and thought-provoking. My husband, son, and I have loved the whole series. Highly recommended not only for teens but for adults, too.
464 pages, Simon & Schuster