Monday, June 25, 2012

Unwholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman

One year after Connor, Risa, and Lev escape Happy Jack Harvest Camp, they find that their lives have greatly changed. Connor has replaced the Admiral as the commander of the Graveyard; Risa struggles with her place in Connor's heart as well as in the Graveyard; and Levi is under house arrest, ministering to wayward youth as part of his plea bargain. 

Enter Subplot #1: Starkey is a storked teen whose parents decide to unwind him, but he escapes and finds himself in the Graveyard. Starkey is extremely similar to Roland (cunning, strong, power-hungry, etc.), and wants to take over Connor's job. 

Enter Subplot #2: **SPOILER**Cam is the Frankenstein-like creature that Proactive Citizenry creates from multiple unwind parts. They want to create the "perfect" human from perfect human parts. To be successful in "humanizing" Cam to the general public, the group decides he needs to show that he can be loved. Unfortunately, Cam has set his eyes on Risa, and what Cam wants, Cam gets.

 Enter Subplot #3: Nelson is the Juvi Cop who Connor tranqued with his own gun in UNWIND (2007). Through a series of internal monologues, the reader learns that since that day, Nelson's life has been a living hell. He was ridiculed by his peers to the point that he lost his job, his marriage, and his life as he knew it. As a result, he's made it his mission to catch AWOL Unwinds and sell them to parts pirates (there is a black market for unwind organs). Guess who he blames for his downward spiral? Yep, Connor. Guess what his mission is throughout the book? Yep, to catch and kill Connor. 

Enter Subplot #4: The Anti-Divisional Resistance is a group of activists who are openly anti-unwinding. They are supposed to provide the Graveyard with necessary provisions such as food, water, clothing, and sanitation so that Connor no longer has to send unwinds to fulfill work orders. The ADR also has a new mission: save tithes. The group poses as parts pirates as they attack vehicles transporting tithes, kidnap them, and work to deprogram them from being brainwashed. Guess who their poster child is? Yep, Levi. 

Enter Subplot #5: Miracolina is a tithe who gets "rescued" from her harvest, and she's ticked. She has no desire to be saved, and she can't stand Levi. Because Levi sees a lot of himself in Miracolina's resistance to the truth, he decides that he's going to save her whether she wants him to or not. 

Enter Subplot #6: **SPOILER**Trace is Connor's right-hand man, but he's playing both sides to the middle. Although he seems loyal to Connor, he's actually working for Proactive Citizenry and feeding them information about the Graveyard. 

Enter Subplot #7: Proactive Citizenry owns everything and everyone (i.e. Juvie Cops, Government, Media, etc.) has a secret agenda that Connor and Trace are trying to crack. This group is the one pushing unwinding, and Connor wants to find out how to dismantle it and save lives.

There are more subplots, but I'm tired, and I need to get to my evaluation. 

First of all, I love UNWIND (2007). It is my favorite book, and I teach it every semester in an effort to explore the value of human life, personal responsibility, and manipulation (government, religious, and media). One of the things that makes UNWIND such an amazing read is that we get to know each of the characters as well as witness complex situations that they struggle to overcome. We fell in love with Connor, Risa, and Levi because the author helped us invest in them. This book, however, contains so much action and so little depth that the reader doesn't really connect with anyone. There are too many subplots and too little character development, which makes the storyline seem forced and disjointed. 

Readers who enjoy a lot of action will gravitate to this book because it seems as though there is always something going on, but readers who want a book that’s similar to UNWIND will be disappointed. The only thing
similar is the names of the characters.  

ARC provided at IRA 2012
Publication Date: 8/28/2012

1 comment:

  1. I liked the way you summed it all up! Even though I liked the book there was something lacking in it that didn't touch me as much as Unwind did. Good review!