Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teen/YA Review: UnSouled

The creepy cover on UnSouled, the third book in the Unwind series by Neal Schusterman, says it all: you are in for more fast-paced freaky future fun here! My husband, son, and I all love this dystopian series that spawned a new literary term, dystology, and book three continues to deliver.

I’m going to stick to a very vague and brief plot summary, for those people (poor souls) who haven’t yet read any of the Unwind 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 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 book 2, 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, while also trying to figure out how to bring about the demise of unwinding once and for all. In this third book, we also meet the original inventors of the technology that made unwinding possible, a husband and wife team who were appalled at how their unique technology was used.

Neal Schusterman is one of my favorite teen authors, and this is hands-down my favorite series of his. The characters are very real, and the setting feels chillingly real also. He subtly connects this horrific world with real things going on in our own world today, making it all seem very possible and all the more creepy. Schusterman himself said he only planned on Unwind being a stand-alone novel, but he found this world so compelling that he couldn’t leave it alone. The one book became a trilogy and now a dystology. As with the previous two books, UnSouled is fast-paced and full of action, as the story moves between various characters. This series has everything for both boys and girls (and adults!): suspense, action, mystery, and even a bit of romance. We can’t wait to see how he wraps it all up in book 4 (already scheduled for release on October 14, 2014)!

404 pages, Simon & Schuster

And a movie adaptation is already in the works!!


1 comment:

  1. I haven't gotten to this one yet. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed the first two books in the series (and taught the first book for a few years), so I need to get a copy of it. The cover is really neat!