Wednesday, March 5, 2014

UnWholly | Neal Shusterman

"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. But unwinding has become a big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but expand. 

Connor has his hands full running the Graveyard, a safe haven for AWOLS, kids like him who escaped unwinding. Low on supplies and always afraid of discovery, it's all he can do to keep the place afloat. Risa, paralyzed from the waist down after the attack on Happy Jack Harvest Camp, is struggling to stay positive and help Connor, but she is afraid that she may be more of a burden to him than a help. And Lev finds himself involved in an underground movement to rescue tithes, where he is practically worshipped as a god. 

One of them will be betrayed. One of them will go on the run. And one of them will cross paths with Cam, a teen who doesn't exist, and make a startling discovery about the truth behind unwinding. 

Non-Spoiler Review

As a sequel to Unwind, I thought this book was completely amazing. This book reflects our own society in a horrifyingly accurate way. From the first book, the law Cap-17 has been passed, lowering the unwinding age from seventeen down to sixteen. Now, every harvest camp is forced to set all the seventeen-years old free. Although this has spared many lives, no one foresaw the terrible consequences that followed. With a significant lack of unwinds, the population isn't getting the parts its so used to getting. Black market parts pirates are developing around the country picking AWOLs off the streets to sell at outrageous prices. After barely escaping the explosion at Happy Jack Harvest Camp, Connor, Risa and Lev fight to save more AWOLs from the Juveys. Along the way, the society raises many ethical questions. I recommend the first and second books to anyone who's able to stomach the images and questions implied in this novel. 

Spoiler- Filled Review

This book was amazingly written. Everything about it was done so well: plot, character development, character perspective, settings, social issues. When I say everything, I mean everything. We can really see how everything progressed from the first book until now. The politics of the society, the ethical community versus the scientific community, all of it mirrors our own society on a much more exaggerated scale.

The first thing I want to discuss is Cam. He's basically a mosaic out of a bunch of humans, pieces of other unwinds put together in one human being. As a science student myself, I tend to overlook the ethics behind it and find it incredibly fascinating. This book provides a great overview of both sides of the argument. Some people think that the entire idea is disgusting and Cam shouldn't exist. These same people refer to Cam as an it instead of a him. Others believe that Cam is the ultimate human, having the best parts from the best unwinds.

One of the most infuriating characters in the whole book is Starkey. Nothing angers me more than someone who think they're more superior than they actually are. He consistently says that he's a leader, but he's nothing more than a manipulative angry coward. He has no sense of logic and all he does is mess up everyone else's plans. He claimed constantly that storks were discriminated against while doing the exact opposite to the rest of the population. His anger completely clouded his mind and influenced every action of his.

The most significant character development was Connor. From the beginning of the first book until the end of this one, we can see the maturity he develops. He is able to reign in his impulsiveness and lead all of these kids. We can see that soft spot from the first book, the one that had him saving a storked baby, grow and develop so much.

I have to admit, Risa bothered me a little bit in this book. I don't know if it's the effect of love, but she seemed a little more needy in this book. Before, many of her decisions were based on intellect and logic, but in this book, we can see emotion influencing her decisions.
There are so many cringeworthy moments in this book. I can say I visibly cringed when the GirlScout clapper detonated herself and when Starkey shattered his hand in order to escape the handcuffs.

I really like this book, it brought up many political controversies and provided us a way to reflect on ourselves in a somewhat parallel universe.
I recommend this book to anyone who has finished the first book! I also plan to finish the rest of the series, I'm really excited!