Very rarely do I finish a book... especially a very long book... and want to keep reading it. It's a very depressing moment to realize there is no more of that particular book to read. And all you can say is "wow," or laugh like a moron while uttering "oh my gosh" over and over again. This book has basically bumped off every book I've ever read from the number 1 spot. So I might gush over this book a little bit more than is necessary.
The point I'm getting at here is that if you haven't read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, I strongly recommend you get yourself a copy and read it as soon as possible.
It's years into the future. Years after the second civil war -- the Heartland War -- the war that pitted Pro-Life and Pro-Choice against each other. In the turmoil, a solution was formed. No longer can a child be aborted, but it can be unwound once it turns thirteen. Every piece of this child is still alive, but it is in a divided state -- unwound.
Connor is sixteen, and got into one too many fights at school. Risa is fifteen, and is taking too much space in the state home. Lev is thirteen, and he's a tithe. All three have been marked to be unwound. The three find themselves together as they run from the Juvy-cops. And it isn't easy, especially since Lev sees himself being an Unwind - a tithe - as a good thing.
This book is massive. It's long, and it's full. There are seven sections, and within each section, are chapters that follow along a different character. Throughout the pages we get to know Connor, Risa, Lev, and a few other people along the way. The story goes deep into it's own history, and into ethics and morality, and even makes the reader question if there is a God.
This book is almost scary. At times I thought about how I was lucky I'm 19 and too old be an Unwind. It seems so real, like it's something that could happen one day.
The writing is spectacular, even though it's in present tense (which usually bothers me.) And even though it takes place in the future, it doesn't focus on that fact. But the book does include interesting ideas, like how there is not "black" or "white" skin colors, but "umber" and "sienna."
It was a little hard to get through, but the more I read, the more I wanted to know what was going to happen, and my only disappointment is that it's over.
Oh, and this book earns another point because I'm pretty sure that there was a reference to Back to the Future when it says "an old movie plays on an antique plasma-screen TV. The movie shows a crazy vision of a future that never came, with flying cars and white-haired scientist." Tell me that's not Back to the Future II.
Unwind... go read it... now.