I think I’ve mentioned on my blog that I no longer review all of the subsequent books in trilogies and series that I read because it’s often hard to summarize without spoiling the earlier books in the trilogy/series for people who haven’t read them yet. (If not, I have now!) Plus — let’s be honest — it also helps me not to fall behind so badly on my reviews if I don’t include every book I read on this blog. But, I just can’t let this book go without comment! Neal Shusterman has completely BLOWN. MY. MIND! If his story is not enough, in and of itself, to show you the insane path that humanity is blazing into the future, the included hyperlinks for stories which make the case for a future in which “unwinding” actually happens will scare the hell out of you. The thing I am most grateful about with UnDivided, nonetheless, is that the story is actually done. I have spent far too long wondering what happened to Connor, Risa, Lev, and the rest of the gang, so THANK YOU Neal for finally giving me closure!
When I read Unwind, I thought it was a stand-alone book. And, apparently, even Neal Shusterman didn’t originally intend for it to be a part of a trilogy. But then, he couldn’t get this world out of his head and decided to tell the rest of the story. I, for one, was thrilled when this book was announced and could hardly contain my excitement when it finally arrived on the library holds shelf! For anyone who is unfamiliar with the first story, though, I would recommend you quit reading this review and start reading that book.
Connor, Risa, and Lev are all alive and doing as well as can be expected. Sure, they lived through their time at Happy Jack Harvest Camp without being unwound, but that didn’t exactly give them back the lives they had before they were scheduled to be unwound. Lev, for instance, has permanent damage to his entire body because of the chemicals that were used to make him a “clapper” [before he changed his mind]. He now spends all of his time on house arrest or working with high-risk teens, to keep them from behaving badly enough that they will be sent to a harvest camp. Risa and Connor both got hurt in the explosion at Happy Jack, but ended up with very different results. Connor woke up with an arm that used to belong to a kid named Roland, but Risa was able to refuse a new spine and now requires a wheelchair. Though Connor has been presumed dead, he and Risa were actually saved by the ADR (Anti-Divisional Resistance) and taken to a place called the Graveyard. They are now helping to run things and doing the best they can to take care of the teens in this AWOL sanctuary.
With the addition of some new characters — an AWOL named Starkey, a tithe named Miracolina, and a “rewind” named Cam — this story goes beyond a mere sequel and delves even deeper into the moral implications of unwinding. I found this book to be absolutely fascinating and cannot wait until the third book is released. [UnSouled is scheduled for release next fall!]
I consider this story the Judgement of Solomon gone wrong. This story takes place in the future, when pro-choicers and pro-lifers engage in a second civil war over abortion. When US Armed Forces present a “solution” for consideration, they think it will bring everyone to their senses. The last thing they expect is for people to agree with their solution, but that is exactly what happens. In exchange for a ban on abortion, they introduce a process called “unwinding” — in which all parts of the body are harvested and used, and therefore kept alive. No more unborn babies will die, and people won’t have to worry about dying while they are on a waiting list for an organ transplant. Everybody wins… Except the poor 13- to17-year-olds whose parents/guardians are signing the orders for retroactive abortions, that is.
Connor, Risa, and Lev are all “unwinds” who end up AWOL on their way to harvest camp. Connor was a troubled teen whose parents were sick of dealing with him, Theresa was a ward of the state who was sent to be unwound as a result of budget cuts, and Lev was actually a “tithe.” [His parents are so religious that they pledged 1/10 of their children as an offering to God.] Even though these three “unwinds” don’t know each other, they will have to learn to trust each other and work together if they are going to avoid the “Juvey-cops” and keep from being unwound.