Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Source: Gifted ARC from Karen @ Teen Librarian Toolbox
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 while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.
Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.
Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.
It’s no secret that I read and fell in love with Unwind last year, and literally jumped up and down when I heard it was going to be a trilogy. However, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to the spectacular-ness known as Unwind. But, I never should have doubted Shusterman! Unwholly was a sequel just about good as the first, with riveting action and fantastic characters. Unwholly was one heck of a roller coaster, and one that I would ride again and again.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be emotional. We were taken on quite a roller coaster with this book! I felt all the feelings while reading Unwholly: happiness, sadness, anger, frustration (in a good way), excitement, fear, and so much more. It was truly something. I was so emotionally attached this book, and Shusterman really played with my emotions! I loved it.
My favorite thing about the first book, Unwind, was definitely the characters. I was so excited when I saw that Connor, Risa, and Lev were all back in this book, and it wasn’t even that they played a small role, they were huge in this book, which made me immensely happy. We also have a few new characters, and they all play a role in Unwholly. Shusterman really excels at writing characters, they all have a unique voice, and he makes you fall in love with all of them (there’s an exception to this rule in Unwholly and you’ll see who it is when you read it!). Seeing the book told in different perspectives really added a depth that I enjoyed.
There’s also a lot of underlying messages in this book, and some important ones at that. I truly love when authors can accomplish something like this, having a basic story, but also lots of questions underneath the surface. Unwholly asks big questions: what does it to be human? What would you sacrifice for others? When do you give up? This book really makes you ponder these questions, and more. This extra layer is what really makes this book extraordinary.
Honestly, I hate to criticize this book, but it did have a few minor flaws. The main one being that the beginning was a bit slow. Not only plot wise, but it takes a little bit to warm up to the new characters as well. However, the ending totally makes up for the slightly shaky beginning, so it didn’t bother me too much.
Overall, Unwholly managed to impress me and totally hook me, like Unwind did, even with my incredibly high expectations. I was a bit afraid that this book would suffer from middle book syndrome, but I can happily say that that wasn’t the case. If you’ve read Unwind, then Unwholly is worth picking up! If you haven’t read Unwind, then you absolutely must pick it up!! You are missing out on a fabulous book!