At the end of Unwind, the Admiral left the Graveyard under Connor’s belt, but he still struggles with running it smoothly. Now seventeen and in charge of eight hundred kids, Connor’s got his hands full trying to take care of all the runaway Unwinds.
When Starkey, a new runaway Unwind, comes to the Graveyard, both Rissa and Connor don’t anticipate exactly how much change he’ll bring. With Starkey stirring things up among the unhappy Unwinds, Rissa ends up back in the outside world, where she discovers a new horror waiting for her: a living, breathing Frankenstein who also happens to be in love with her.
But what Connor, Rissa, and Lev don’t know is how little control they have over their own fates, as the government and secret organizations, threaten to stamp them out completely and make them question the future of humanity.
Spoiler Alert! If you plan on reading the first book, Unwind, don’t read this review!
Wow. What an absolute roller coaster! After reading the first in Schusterman’s dystopian trilogy last year, I fell in love with the world he had created and the situations he presented. Maybe love is the wrong word though, since the world that Schusterman presents is horrific, yet also strangely plausible.
In UnWholly, Schusterman continues his exploration of his fascinating world, where kids (up to the age of 17), can be ‘unwound’ by the orders of the parents, so that all their body parts can be reused by those that ‘need’ them. After introducing us to this world in the first book. Schusterman goes a step further in this book to clue the reader in on why unwinding became legal and what started the whole thing. Interspersed with articles from the past few years, UnWholly can be examined in a sociological light to look at the ways teens are villified and described as criminals in the general media.
As much as I loved the world building, the characters are what kept me coming back for more in UnWholly. At first, when we started the story off with a new character (Starkey), I was disappointed, since I thought that we were going to star over with new characters, with only a few appearances by Connor, Rissa, and Lev. But instead, I was fascinated to discover how Schusterman endeared Starkey to the reader, in the opening scenes as he ran away from home, only to show him as a rebel who tears apart the controlled order of the Graveyard. As much as I hated him, he was an interesting character.
And then there was Cam. Again, I wasn’t prepared to like him, since I was annoyed at him taking page time away from my beloved three characters. But Cam nearly stole the show! Described as a futuristic Frankenstein, Cam is made entirely from Unwound body parts. While others get legs or arms or kidneys from those that have been Unwound, Cam is a collage of 99 kids who were Unwound.
As weird and gross as this idea sounds, you can’t help but feel for Cam, who can’t help be who he is, since he didn’t ask to made. Instead, he struggles to cope with his reality and seeks the only solace he can find, the desire for a friend, who happens to be Rissa.
Jam-packed with action, UnWholly takes you for a fast roller coaster ride in this strangely familiar dystopian world, a place where everyone seems to have lost their morality. Filled with unique characters, who make you question the essence of humanity and the idea of a soul, UnWholly will lead you to a cliffhanger ending, wanting more even after you’ve turned the last page.
So for that: 4.5/5.
Thanks for reading,