Monday, October 22, 2012


Shusterman, N. (2012). UnWholly. NY: Simon & Schuster.
YA Lit / Fiction, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Biomedical

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the free ARC!
I gave this book 5 out of 5 Stars on Goodreads

This was a fantastic next installment in the Unwind trilogy. Hopefully we won’t have to wait five years for the final installment, but if UnWholly is any indicator, it will be worth the wait.

The first thing I loved about this book is how Shusterman handled catching-up the readers with the first book. He had a section at the beginning titled, “And the Question Is . . .” where he used Jeopardy style answers and questions to remind readers of what happened in the first book in the series, Unwind. Very helpful, but definitely one should read the first book before jumping into the second.

Happily, we get Connor, Risa, and Lev back, along with a smattering of others from the first book. We have some new and interesting characters introduced: some bad kids (one a bad seed really; he’s got some grudges and you see why his parents wanted to unwind him); a good kid;  some bad adults (ooh, I just loathed the one bad in the name of science!), some good adults (don’t get used to them) and a “rewind” creation who is made of human parts but is he human? 

There are several storylines going at once, but it works and builds a lot of suspense and tension. Each chapter is titled by whomever is narrating. We find out more background about the war and accord that brought about unwinding, and as is often the case, the history books haven’t necessarily told the whole story. This opens up a whole new direction for the third book, though I still hope we get more information or flashbacks about the war.  

This book really makes you think about the reasoning behind things like when something continues because it’s become a staple of the economy and not because it’s a right or moral thing to do. There are so many parallels to what’s happening in our world now; we have “parts pirates” with organs being sold on the black market.  We wonder if a cure for cancer isn’t forthcoming because so many industries would bankrupt.  The books issues are ours, thinly veiled.

My Clean-O-Meter rating is a 3.5 out of 5 Stars (where a 5 is squeaky clean). This book is violent and there is a higher death count than in Unwind. Given the nature of the story, this makes sense and adds to the general feeling that we’re building up to something big and that this world is going to change again.  There might have been a random “s**t” somewhere, but language is not an issue, and there aren’t any sexual situations or references at all.

I highly recommend this series, and one of the reasons is that the first book could have stood alone, and adding this one, the two could have stood as a pair.  I am RARELY satisfied with the endings of books in a series, and the ending to UnWholly was satisfying.  Left me with plenty to ponder but not so much that I kept flipping pages after the end thinking the last pages were missing.

Here's the trailer. . . doesn't do the book justice, but does give you an inkling of one of the bad adults referenced above. Enjoy, thanks to Simon & Schuster.

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