Unwholly (2012) by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Unwind trilogy. I am a big fan of Unwind, a story which begins after the pro-life and pro-choice war ends with the agreement that life does begin at conception; however, if parents are not happy with their child they can have him/her “unwound” between the ages of 13-17. This means the teen is sent to a harvest camp where they undergo surgery to have every single part of their body removed and then used in another human so that technically every part of them is alive and well somewhere in someone. Therefore, adults can comfort themselves that they are not killing the teens. They are alive…just not as a whole person. Whoa! Scary novel and concept! We get to know the characters: Connor, Lev, and Risa.
Unwholly picks up pretty close to where Unwind ends, so I was disappointed in the slow beginning to this novel. I had to force myself to get through the first 200 pages, but then it took off! The ending made the book worthwhile. The AWOL unwinds call themselves “whollies” since they have escaped being taken apart as unwinds. So……UNwholly means….guess what? The powers that be have made the first “human” completely made up of unwound teens! Therefore, the person (or thing?) created has been pieced together by numerous teens who have been unwound. He calls himself Cam Comprix. Even though I’m assuming that the cover is a depiction of Cam, he looks frightening and grotesque, but that is not how he is portrayed in the novel. I enjoyed the dynamic between him and Risa. I also liked the Lev/Miracolina relationship. The ending raid of the AWOL refuge at the abandoned air force base was exciting and terrifying and infuriating. I loved it! Even though the first half of the novel had me yawning, the second half was fast-paced and ended hopeful, yet bittersweet. As soon as I finished reading, I began the final book in the trilogy…UnSouled (2013). I must see what happens to Connor, Risa, Lev, Cam, Miracolina, and if their world FINALLY realizes that unwinding teens is just wrong!