Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Book #2 in the Unwind trilogy
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Dystopian Society, Young Adult, Science Fiction
If you have not read UnWind you should not read this review, it contains spoilers for the first book. I will warn before I include spoilers for Unwholly.
UnWholly takes place fairly soon after the ending of Unwind. Conner is now in charge of the Graveyard. Risa is paralyzed from the waist down after the Happy Jack explosion and in charge of medical help at the Graveyard. Levi is trying to lead a normal life after being labeled “The clapper who did not clap.” We also meet Starky, a storked baby who is grew up knowing his “adoptive” parents saw him more of an obligation than a blessing. He was scheduled to be unwound but escaped while in transport, much like Conner. However, unlike Conner, Starky is violent, controlling, manipulative, and dangerous. There is also Miracolina, a tithed child much like Levi, Nelson, the Juvy cop humiliated by Conner during his escape who is out for revenge, and Cam, a new kind of being, made completely of unwound parts.
Shusterman explains in this book how the world we know became the world where post birth abortions became acceptable. He takes the collapse of the education system in our county and shows the disasterous consequences. Young adults with no skills, who cannot find jobs, become homeless. They are angy at the government that failed them and becoming violent and demanding. A war followed and the worst compromise, unwinding, was the anwer. I would like to think that our society, that people would never make this choice, but this article and this one show that some would. (Yes I do realize that both articles discuss the same people, but they were from two different times this year so it’s still out there)
Shusterman creates such believable characters that I grew to love and hate. There are few fictional charaters who I hate more than Starky. Serioulsy, hate the guy. I read another reviewer says she wanted to rip his throat out with her teeth and I thought, “Yep, pretty much”. While he does many unforgivable things in the book, what he does to sabotage the Graveyard’s survival is way past awful. I hate him for leaving all those poor kids to die while saving his own group. I hope in the next book someone kills him, badly.
These books are so hard to read because the world these kids live in is so depressing, I love how Shusterman creates characters with such a capacity for love and a desire to help each other. I was not expecting to admire Cam as much as I do, and root for him to find love and acceptance.
I love this series so far. Shusterman has created such amazing people who have such a power for love in this horrific society. I cannot wait to read Unsouled, which at this time does not seem to have a release date. We’re all hoping it’s soon. If you can’t wait, you can check out UnShattered. It’s one of those 1.5 novels that have become so popular. The mini-book (don’t know if that’s what others are calling it, but that’s what I am calling it) shows Levi’s experience before he decided to become a clapper. Not bad. It does introduce at least one character that comes to play in UnWholly. Me, I went and checked out Everlost, the first book in Neal Shusterman’s Skinjacker Trilogy. Hopefully it will be just as good.