Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwholly
Author: Neal Shusterman
Pages: 402
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: Unwind trilogy #2
Released: August 28, 2012


The Story

"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, and in the same stroke, providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question."
Connor, Lev, and Risa are all return book. I love their characters and how they grow and develop. I especially love Risa--she was so strong, brave, and independent, and I admired her for refusing the spine of an unwind after her accident even though it meant being confined to a wheelchair.

We're introduced to several new characters in UnWholly as well, and it's interesting to see how their paths eventually cross with the original characters from Unwind. I loved all of the characters, and really got pulled into the story emotionally.

The story follows the journeys of all these different characters, which allows the reader to view unwinding from all different perspectives. I really loved how the author did this! Sometimes, through different character's perspectives, I could actually see how they thought unwinding was a good thing. 

I was really shocked to find myself having mixed feelings about unwinding at some points in the story! But Neal Shusterman does a spectacular job of making you really feel for the characters and see things from their perspective.

There are several different sub-plots of the story, but the main plot focuses on Connor and the Graveyard. He is now in charge of the Graveyard and keeping AWOL unwinds safe, but their safety is threatened because the juvie cops know about them.

Connor knows it's only a matter of time before they take out the Graveyard. He has to come up with an escape plan to get all the kids to safety before the juvies decide to take them down, but he soon finds that he is quickly running out of time.

  New Characters

  • Mason Starkey
 "He talks as if Starkey should have known they were coming, but what Unwind ever really knows? Every Unwind believes in their heart of hearts that it won't happen to them....But Starkey's been a potential candidate for unwinding since the moment he arrived on his parent's doorstep." (p. 4)

 Starkey's parents choose to have him unwound because he was an unwanted baby who was 'storked' on their doorstep. He has grown up being teased about being storked and is called "storkey."  When he finds his way to the Graveyard he soon causes problems for Connor that might put all of the AWOL's in jeopardy.

At first, I felt sorry for Starkey. But as I saw more of his character and how it developed, I came to hate him. Oh my goodness I have not hated a character so much in a long time! It's not that he was a bad character--he was a very well-written character. He was just a total jerk.

He was manipulative, cunning, charismatic, deceitful, selfish, and cold. He hates the way storked kids are treated and wants them to be respected and save them from being unwound. His intentions are good, but the way he acts them out are not.

Starkey was a really interesting character and very well-developed--and he had reasons for all the stuff he did. In his mind, he was totally justified. Even though I hated his guts, I understood where he was coming from.

  • Miracolina
"The girl has known since before she can remember that her body has been sanctified to God. She has always been aware that on her thirteenth birthday she would be tithed and would experience the glorious mystery of having a divided body and a networked soul...There are people who say it's death, but she believes it to be something else--something mystical, and she believes it with every ounce of her soul." (p. 30)
Like Lev in the first book, Miracolina is a tithe. However, at the last moment her parents decide that they don't want to tithe her after all, but Miracolina completely believes that unwinding is a good thing and her purpose in life. She leaves to be unwound of her own free will.

It was crazy seeing things from Miracolina's perspective, how totally brainwashed she had been. She ends up being rescued by the Resistance, and is furious. I couldn't believe how determined she was to be unwound!

But as we get to know her character more, we understand her reasons and why she thinks unwinding is a good thing. Sometimes I even almost found myself agreeing with her. Her storyline crosses with Lev's, and it was interesting seeing the two of them interact.

  • Cam
"That face is a nightmare. Strips of flesh, all different shades, like a living quilt stretched across the bone, muscle, and cartilage beneath...His eyes ache from the sight of himself, and tears cloud them... "Monster!" he says." (p. 59)
Cam was a really intriguing character, and raised so many questions! He is 'created' using the parts of nearly one-hundred unwound kids. People don't know what to think of him--is he human? Does he have a soul? Is he his own person?

I didn't know what to make of Cam at first. I was disgusted, but at the same time I felt sorry for him because he couldn't help the way he was created. He was spoiled and childish, but he was also innocent and caring. He was such an interesting character, and I'm still not sure how exactly I feel about him.

To Read Or Not To Read? 

Oh my goodness gracious, this book was all sorts of awesome!! It was full of amazing characters, tension that left me on the edge of my seat, adrenaline-pumped action, and a premise that had me thinking long after I closed the book.

I think that this book was actually better than the first, if that's even possible. It was a long 5 year wait between books but I can assure you the wait is well worth it and you will not be disappointed!

Also, for those of you who are worried about remembering details about the previous book like I was, the author provides a brief guide at the beginning that helps to jog your memory.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more interesting, Neal Shusterman raises even more thought-provoking questions in this book. This book is seriously deep! This is one of those stories that's going to linger in my mind for days.

If you haven't read the Unwind books, I highly recommend them! Especially if you are a fan of dystopians, this is a must-read. I'm eagerly anticipating that final installment of the trilogy, UnSouled, and I hope the wait won't be as long as the last!

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Creativity/Originality: 5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5

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