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BOOK REVIEW: UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

| 22 August 2015 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster
August 2012
Paperback, $17.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



UnWholly is book 2 in the UnWind Series.
BOOK REVIEW: UnWind (Book 1)


Chocolate. You have so many memories of chocolate.

Some of your memories are of being deathly allergic to it, some are of every birthday cake being chocolate. One of your memories is of your family never having enough money for it, except that one time, when your dad left, and your mum decided she needed to do something extra special to cheer you up. You’ve dreamed of it ever since. But at the same time, you’ve never had it before.

Warmth, blankets, hugs, sunshine, safe place… Comfort.

It takes a while to work out the words, because you don’t see things the way others do. All at once you have so many memories, but none at all. Your synapses fire in a different way, as your brain tries to bridge the gaps between different parts of your whole.

Slowly the pieces are coming together… literally.

And, now that thinking is becoming a little easier, a little less fuzzy, you’re finding words come to you more easily. You can find the word you want without having to cycle through all the images and feelings you associate with it first.

You’re the next stage of humanity, the best of the best, and you’re only going to become better with each passing day, as the scars fade, as all the tiny parts of you figure out how to run smoothly together.



As we rejoin the crew from Unwind, they’re settling into life post Happy Jack Harvest Camp.

Connor has taken on the Admiral’s role, ensuring that the camp keeps running; that the kids get enough food, the planes that come in are dismantled and sold for parts, and that as many unwinds as possible are snatched before the Juvey cops come for them.

Risa is part of Connor’s inner circle, but she spends most of her time in the medical jet, helping unwell kids and training others to do the same, when she’s not there, she can be found playing the piano under the wing of the rec jet. She spends all of her awake time in a wheelchair, as she refuses to have her own crushed spine replaced by that of an unwind.

Lev is the clapper who didn’t clap. He’s not in danger of being unwound anymore, because the toxins he added to his system to become a clapper have rendered all of his parts useless for donation. No one would want them. He’s under surveillance, and all his time is spent helping other at risk youths as part of his community service.

But we have some newbies to add to the team:

Starkey, the storked kid who’s just been collected for unwinding. He’s got one hell of an ego, and is skilled at manipulating people for his own gain, he’s certainly not the sort to go quietly.

Miracolina has just turned thirteen. She was born to save her brother’s life, and her parents made a deal with God that if their son could be saved, they would tithe their miracle baby when she came of age. She’s ready for it, they aren’t.

Cam doesn’t exist, not officially. He was never born, but each little part of him was. Born, unwound, and now… rewound? He’s the next in a long line of steps that Proactive Citizenry are taking to promote unwinding, doing whatever they can to keep the process alive, and profitable. But he’s more than the sum of his parts.


If we were put together from hundreds of pieces of other people, who would we be? How much comes from the physical, and how much has to do with the soul? Just how easy is it to convince the masses to keep doing something terrible, just because that’s the “way it is”.

Shusterman ups the stakes in this volume, with the kids finding out even more about what led to Unwinding, the real catalyst, revealing more about their world, why the graveyard is left standing with so many AWOLS present, how far Proactive Citizenry will go, and what makes us who we are.

All in all, not as jaw-dropping as the book that started it all, but definitely a must read, with more uncomfortable questions, creepy propaganda, characters to love and hate, and let’s not forget about the parts pirates.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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  1. BOOK REVIEW: Unwind by Neal Shusterman | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE | 27 November 2015

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