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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shusterman Earns My Fan Girl Adoration Again. And Again.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers from Unwholly, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor Unwind.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

So, I have this thing for Neal Shusterman.  Kind of an embarrassing fan girl thing.  I love him.  I mean, really love him.  But, see, the man earns my admiration with every single book he writes.  Everything he pens speaks to me on multiple levels.  He's that good.  If you haven't read him—and gone gaga over his abundant talent—then something is wrong with you.  Seriously wrong.    

The proceeding public service announcement was brought to you by your friendly neighborhood book blogger.  

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about Unwholly, the newest entry in Shusterman's Unwind trilogy.  The long-anticipated second novel in the series continues the stories of Connor, Lev, Risa and the other AWOLs, but not directly.  It begins with a different set of kids—several of whom are scheduled to be unwound in the near future (unwinding = "The process by which an individual is dismantled.  By law, 99.44 percent of a person must be used and kept alive in transplant."  Parents can choose to unwind their children after the age of 13) and one who is a strange kind of miracle, something no one (not even the reader) has ever seen before.  As their lives intersect with each other and with Connor's crew, headquartered at an aircraft graveyard in Arizona, all of their tales contribute to the (fictional) debate over unwinding.  Is it moral?  Is it criminal?  Should the government be allowed to kill hundreds of (mostly) unwanted children in order to save those considered more worthy?  

Connor Lassiter, of course, believes that unwinding is the cruelest, vilest idea anyone has ever dreamed up.  And he will risk everything—even his own life—to stop the procedure from happening.  Maybe it's a losing battle, too much trouble for the overworked Connor, but he has to do what he can.  If only he could push away the everyday problems of his charges, deal with the new kid determined to stage a coup, and figure out how to make Risa happy—then, maybe he could concentrate on fighting the evil that is unwinding.  With trouble, in many forms, on the horizon, the Akron AWOL needs to get his head in the game.  And fast.

The plot may sound a little unfocused, but it's not.  Not at all.  Unwholly is just as complex, just as absorbing, just as impactful as Unwind.  Maybe even more so.  This truly is a brilliant series, one I can't recommend highly enough.  Shusterman fans everywhere will agree with me—you don't want to miss these books.  They're incredible and I don't say that very often, so just trust me on this one.  Have I ever steered you wrong?  I didn't think so.      

(Readalikes:  Unwind by Neal Shusterman)

Grade:  A

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Unwholly from Amazon using some of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.    


  1. Yeah! So glad you loved it as much as you wanted to. Shusterman really does have a talent in writing - I've got to read Everlost and Bruiser and more of his stuff.

  2. Can you believe I haven't read Unwind yet? I will be in the next few month for book club, though.

    I'm glad we share this love for Shusterman...though, I think my love for him might be confused with my love for Antsy. ;)

  3. Im very big fan of all things Shusterman. I have a copt of Unwind signed by him. I opened it once, not creasing the book, and I've not opened it again, out of fear it would be ruined. Unwholly, was not as good as Unwind was for me. Was he still a master of twisting and twining plots? Um, heck yes. I was super happy to see Connor again. Cam really broke my heart, Maybe I just loved Unwind too much?

  4. I love him too! But you know that already. :) Can't wait to get to it.

  5. My copy is coming this week from the library, so I will not let myself look at your review till after I read it. All I see is the big glowing "A" you gave it!!!

  6. Unwholly started a little slow for me. I wish he didnt start out with Starkey because he was such a rotten kid. I find I really like books with different points of views. I ended up lovin' it and could not put it down.

  7. I've never read anything by Shusterman...I have no idea why! But I think I'll start with Unwind and see how I like it.


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