Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shusterman, Neal.  Unwholly.  Simon & Schuster, 2012.

In this highly-anticipated sequel to Unwind, organ procurement has become a very lucrative business.  There is a black market for organs, and a new group, Proactive Citizenry, has released pro-unwinding public service announcements.  This same group has a new creation, a being completely made up of all unwound parts.  Camus Composite Prime, or “Cam”, has been schooled, cultured, and unveiled to the world as the “greatest hope” of the human race.
Connor, Risa, and Lev, are survivors of the Happy Jack Harvest Camp disaster.  Most of the world thinks Connor Lassiter, the “Akron AWOL”, is dead, but he is actually now running the airplane graveyard for AWOLs.  Additionally, AWOLS from the graveyard are carrying out secret rescue operations for teens scheduled to be taken to Harvest Camps.
Risa Ward, now confined to a wheelchair, is also at the AWOL graveyard, working and living in the infirmary jet, helping AWOL kids who have minor injuries.
Lev Calder, “the clapper who didn’t clap”, has been sentenced to house arrest and has a tracking device imbedded in his shoulder.  He must perform community service until he reaches age eighteen and can never publicly speak about unwinding.  He has not contacted either Connor or Risa, for fear of them being exposed.
New characters have made an appearance.  Miracolina is conceived and raised in order to save her brother, is dying from leukemia.  Her parents have decided to tithe her in their repayment to God for letting her cure her brother.  Starkey, a stork, has escaped from his unwinding order and killed a Juvey Cop.  He is now AWOL and in hiding, moving from place to place.  He is a survivor who craves and thrives on control and power.
Nelson, who got shot by his own tranquilizer gun by Connor in Unwind, is no longer a Juvey-Cop.  He now supplies black market harvesters with kids in exchange for cash and for the kids’ eyes.  But when it comes to Connor, he is out for revenge and wants more than just his eyes.
Proactive Citizenry is hiding deep, dark secrets, and Starkey’s stay at the airplane graveyard ey-causes the future of the AWOLS there to be in jeopardy.  Risa has an unplanned rendezvous with Cam, and Lev tries to help Miracolina.  The book comes to an exciting conclusion, leading to the final installment, Unbroken.
Neal Shusterman has again displayed his skills as a fabulous storyteller.  The way he weaves the characters’ stories and the book’s plot together is both extremely deft and masterful.  Characters from Unwind become even more developed and other complex characters are introduced.
The creation of Cam is an intriguing, creepy idea.  The scenes where he is relearning to talk and think are funny and creative.  I love the way that clichés, metaphors, and similes are thrown into the dialogue when Cam cannot come up with the right words to vocalize his feelings.  Likewise, I like the way the personalities from his many unwound parts invade his thoughts and startle him.  While Cam initially comes across as a villain, readers will find he has a softer side to him.
Starkey’s portrayal as a sneaky, passive-aggressive bad-boy was very smart.  He is given the ability to gain others’ confidence and use that to his advantage.  Additionally, Nelson, who is already despicable, becomes even more so.  I like that although he is seeking revenge, it is Lev and Connor who actually get their revenge on him, instead.
The book is organized into parts, namely Violations, Whollies, Windows of the Soul, Leviathan, Matters of Necessity, Fight or Flight, and Landings.  Within each of those parts, there are eighty-four chapters, each identified by a main character’s name.  A helpful addition to the book is a glossary located in the front of the book, which gives readers a look back into Unwind.  The glossary is actually an answer and question section based on the “Carnac the Magnificent” segments from the old Johnny Carson “Tonight Show”. 
Readers will not be disappointed in Unwholly.  Just like Unwound, it is a real page turner!  It is scheduled for release on August 28, 2012.   I highly recommend it for middle school, high school, and public libraries.