In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

UNWHOLLY by Neal Shusterman

copyright date: August 2012
primarily marketed for: young adults (12 and up)

Although there are still a few days until UnWholly by Neal Shusterman is released on August 28th, I managed to get my hands on an Advanced Readers’ Copy, thanks to Mrs. Foreman (formerly Miss England). 

This book confirms what I have believed for years: Neal Shusterman is brilliant.  Why he isn’t winning awards left and right is beyond me. 

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, Unwind, you have to start there.  The basis of the story is that it takes place in the near future, after the fictional Third World War, which was fought over the issue of abortion.  In an effort to end the fighting and reach an agreement, both sides compromised, banning abortion as we know it, and sanctioning the retroactive abortion (through a process called unwinding) of teenagers whose parents okay it. 

But that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the brilliance and complexity of Shusterman’s stories. 

UnWholly is told through multiple viewpoints, the same way Unwind was.  In this sequel, Shusterman has found a way to include all of the beloved characters from the first book, and even reveals further depth in their personalities and the new roles they’ve taken on.  Each of our favorite characters becomes an important player in the fight against unwinding and helps uncover the grand plan behind it all.

Shusterman manages to deliver a fast-paced plot, filled with twists and turns at the same time as he causes readers to grapple with big issues, such as our own beliefs about life and what makes us human.  It takes skill to craft a story so beautifully that provides a suspenseful action-filled plot AND has a soul. 

Go read.  Now!  You will be blown away. 

Reading Threads:
Unwind by Neal Shusterman


  1. Unwind definitely should have won awards. I can't wait to read the sequel!

  2. Okay, now the list is definitely longer, Christy. I like hearing about those graphic novels a lot, & this final post, about these two by Schusterman, makes them look so good. You've been busy! Hope you have a great start to the year!