Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
The first ten chapters dragged a little for me, but from that point onward the plot twists and action kept my attention until the end. A unique world of justifiable and forced organ donation for children is a fantastic premise and I enjoyed Neal Shusterman’s dystopian landscape.
I was a little torn in regards to the switching points of view between Connor, Risa and Lev; solely because at times it was difficult to discern the difference as the style of writing remained the similar. However, their differing experiences did drive the story forward.
The maturity of the characters felt a little unrealistic at times, especially towards the end their newly formed community. I loved how they addressed element of identity and evidence of a soul, and a person’s essence living on after being unwound.
The only thing stopping me from giving a higher recommendation is the pacing, and I felt Shusterman neglected to take opportunity to explore some of the more darker, controversial elements of the world fully. (Maybe it will be addressed in the following novels in the series?) That, and I’m not a big fan of changing P.O.V’s unless adding credence the storyline and the styles are discernibly different.
But it is definitely a fascinating read. The main cast are uniquely strong and all go through separate journeys, growing in unexpected ways. The character arcs were unexpected, though the overall premise of the book is a little predictable.
The story is compelling and I’d definitely recommend it. I felt a little let down in the build and connection to the main characters with one another – although they became closer in light of their shared experiences, they were dealt with in isolation of each other, and didn’t have me rooting for them as a ‘ship than if some stronger emotion and angst were introduced earlier.
I will definitely be picking up the following book in the series ‘UnWholly’ to continue with Connor, Risa and Lev’s story.
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