Unwind

Unwind

(Book #1 of Unwind Dystology)
For Ages: 12 and up
  • reading group guide
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In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.
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  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416912057 | 
  • June 2009 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile HL740
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The Unwind Dystology

Neal Shusterman shares the secrets behind the New York Times bestselling Unwind Dystology.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Unwind

By Neal Shusterman
About the Book

In the not-too-distant future, teens Connor, Risa, and Lev are on the run for their lives. Following the Second Civil War, between pro-choice and pro-life forces, the United States now allows parents to unwind their unwanted and difficult kids between the ages of thirteen and eighteen: Their bodies are surgically taken apart and all the organs and tissue are used in other people. According to the law, the kids aren't considered dead, they're "living in a divided state." But Connor, Risa, and Lev, and thousands of other teens slated for "unwinding", don't see it that way. They choose instead to "kick AWOL," or run away. Unwind follows these three across the country as they travel together, split up, and meet again when their destinies cross in a Harvest Camp where they are slated to be unwound.
Prereading Research/Activities

Have students research those who helped endangered people in the past. They can study the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad, a vast network of individuals who helped runaway slaves make their way to freedom. They can also research the stories of those who helped Jews escape the Nazis, including Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Chiune Sugihara.

The novel takes places after the "Second Civil War." The real Civil War was fought primarily over the issue of slavery. Learn about recent civil wars in other cou see more

About the Author

Neal Shusterman
Photograph © Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and The Schwa Was Here, which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

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