Rated Reads

Undivided (Unwind, book 4)

by Neal Shusterman

Rated: Moderate

Finally the conclusion has arrived to a series, starting with Unwind, that has not only addressed all kinds of of-the-moment ethical issues but has had readers on the edges of their seats throughout all four books. This last one doesn’t disappoint.

In the near future, society has settled on a “compromise” over abortion and problems of troublemaking teens by allowing parents to retroactively get rid of 13- to 18-year-olds by “unwinding” them, taking them apart surgically and donating every single part of them to others who need or want them. Naturally, this is not something the targeted-for-unwinding teens are happy about, and the rebellion of some, along with the help of some adult opponents and the increasingly appalling tactics and goals of some large entities, are starting to point toward a possible change.

Main characters Connor, Risa, and Lev are still the focus of the books, accompanied by a variety of side characters who have supported them or caused them problems at every turn. Connor and Risa get to be together for this book, and they go through some surprising experiences before the conclusion that will be both fitting and satisfying while appropriately strange; this is the case for Lev as well, who gets to meet up with them again briefly on his own path to making a difference for the cause of halting unwinding.

Neal Shusterman ups the ante throughout the series and still throughout this book, both on the danger and on the sadly true-to-life absurdity of the rationalizations, motives, and actions of all the players in the ethical issues. His inclusion of bits of real news items referenced with Web addresses adds further to the uncanny feeling that the events of the series, though seemingly farfetched, could almost … possibly … conceivably come to pass.

Rated: Moderate, for some occasional use of moderate language and some violence and more mature thematic material.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Undivided (Unwind, book 4)
  • by Neal Shusterman
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: