Neal Shusterman, November 6th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 335 pages.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The
chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception
until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however,
parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's
organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't
technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control.
Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a
tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may
have a chance to escape and to survive.
This book was recommended to my son by the local librarian. She was raving about it, so thought I'd read it too and was glad that I did. Right from the start, the book had me hooked - the premise is so horrible, yet I was interested to see what would come of it all.
This is the story of three teens, Connor, Risa, and Lev, told largely from alternating points of view. They live in a dystopian future, where life is sacred, except that from the ages of 13-18, your parents can have you unwound. These unwound children are used as organ and body part transplants and the whole thing is justified by saying that they are not actually dead, that they live on.
This is such a horrifying concept, but Shusterman makes it ring true - his writing is so compelling. He brings in real things that have already happened to lay the foundation for this future. For me, the end was especially chilling with its direct links to Nazi Germany.
I liked the diversity of the three main characters, Connor, Risa, and Lev. They are good foils for each other and show three typical kids from three separate walks of life and how they ended up in their current situations. I found that I really felt for each of this kids in their own way - I know kids like them, they are normal, make mistakes, and get along as best they can.
There is a bit of romance, and lots of adventure and tension. I think this book would really appeal to both boys and girls. I, personally, love books that explore big and interesting questions, and this one certainly does. I find myself thinking of this book at times - it is one that has stayed with me. I highly recommend this book an will look up the next one in the series the next chance I have.
Find Neal Shusterman On: Website