Rated Reads

UnSouled (Unwind, book 3)

by Neal Shusterman

Rated: Moderate

What started off as a book I thought would be just a really great stand-alone, Unwind, has evolved into four volumes in a fantastic dystopian series. Quick background: in the near future, society has decided that a “compromise” in the battle over abortion rights (what becomes known as the Heartland War and features groups of “feral teens” causing all kinds of havoc when the education system breaks down), essentially, is to not allow abortion but to let parents of teens decide to “unwind” them (kind of retroactive abortion). Technology has allowed every bit of a person, not just specific organs, to be donated, so a teen is painlessly harvested and redistributed as parts.

Connor unwittingly became a symbol in the fight against unwinding when he decided to escape from the powers-that-be and try to save other teens scheduled for the harvest camps. In this third book, he is back on the run with former tithe Lev. Connor has heard some information that might prove useful, so he is actually trying to get back to Akron, where he was housed near the beginning of his journey by a woman named Sonia. At this point, she’s his only hope. Along the way, of course, he and Lev face challenges and end up in some unexpected situations. Meanwhile, Risa is on the run too, just on a different path, and Cam, the “rewound” teen, is trying to figure out his identity and what to do with whatever power he may have. Throw in a few other old and new characters, and the narrative familiarly glides back and forth among them all, seamlessly piecing together another gripping segment of the saga.

UnSouled is just as fascinating and thought-provoking as its predecessors, Unwind and UnWholly, and continues to provide plenty of food for ethical and moral consideration. I am now eager to read the conclusion, which will be Undivided.

Rated: Moderate, for moderate language use and consistent peril and violence. It’s not really about details per se, but the themes are definitely for more mature readers.

— 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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  • UnSouled (Unwind, book 3)
  • by Neal Shusterman
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: