Audio: Unwind by Neal Shusterman @NealShusterman @luckylukeekul @SimonAudio #LoveAudiobooks

Posted December 10, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 20 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio: Unwind by Neal Shusterman @NealShusterman @luckylukeekul  @SimonAudio #LoveAudiobooksUnwind by Neal Shusterman
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: Unwind Dystology #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on October 13, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Length: 10 hours 9 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines complex moral issues that will keep readers turning the pages until the very end.

I have considered the Unwind series, after becoming a fan of his Art of the Sycthe series.  So I was thrilled to see a new release of the first book on audio available for review.  Plus the narrator is the outstanding Luke Daniels.  A friend had mentioned this was a tear-jerker so I was a little afraid.

The style is very much what I expect from this author.  There are great characters who develop in a dystopian environment where there are issues of morality.  Those considered the good guys aren’t always good; the bad guys aren’t always bad.  Sometimes a great idea over time really goes rotten.

Those who are selected for unwinding are those rejected as not good or special enough to continue their life or the tithes who are like grass-fed beef, treated well but raised to harvest.   Unwinding was a result of the war between pro-choice and pro-life.  The concept is horrific to me.  I was rooting for these unwinds from start to finish.

For them, they are fighting for their lives.  It is an emotional journey as well as one of fighting and running to keep existing.  Young as they are, their dire circumstances provide them the opportunity to really assess their life choices. What is the value of a life?  What is the essence of a soul?   Why does anyone have control over their life but themselves?



Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators.  He provides distinct, realistic voices which make an excellent listen.  I listened to this at my normal 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip:  HERE

About Luke Daniels

Luke Daniels has narrated over 250 audiobooks, has been the grateful recipient of thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has earned three Audie nominations. His background is in classical theater and film. Luke has performed at repertory theaters around the country, but now he resides in the Midwest with his pack.

About Neal Shusterman

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell.

Neal Shusterman is the author of many novels for young adults, including Unwind, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, Everlost, and Downsiders, which was nominated for twelve state reading awards. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows such as Animorphs and Goosebumps.

Neal Shusterman lives in Southern California with his children Brendan, Jarrod, Joelle, and Erin, who are a constant source of inspiration!

Rating Breakdown
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Narration (Audio)
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Posted December 10, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 20 Comments

20 responses to “Audio: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

    • It’s a great story although emotional and thought-provoking. I actually own this, an earlier publishing by Brilliance Audio in 2009. I hadn’t read it yet though. I don’t think we have all the science to make the argument for “unwinding” and I don’t think it was ever a great idea.

      Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Audio: Forget About Me by Karen Grey
    • It’s an excellent read. Shusterman books seem to always have a dystopian setup with some “moral rules” which to me don’t seem like they were ever a great idea. Well it made more sense in Art of the Scythe but the “unwinding” would never have been acceptable to me.

      Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Shadow Ridge by ME Browning
    • Yes it’s like the pro-life folks now, everything to protect the unborn. But once they are born, in this case between 13-18, they can just be sent to “unwind” which means their parts are all taken to transplant to others. It’s a horrible concept. I found the book thought-provoking and I loved the characters.

      Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Audio: The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard
  1. Anne

    Luke Daniels is my favorite male narrator. His work on the Iron Druid (Kevin Herne) books was fantastic. Only he could come up with a voice for an Irish Wolfhound and make one go ‘Yup, that’s an Irish Wolfhound!”

  2. Oh my goodness! What a horrific concept. Great review, Anne – and this is one I’m putting on my growing list of books I want to tackle once 2020 and all its issues are retreating in the rear view mirror and I’m feeling more like facing the emotional roller-coaster that would accompany this read.

  3. I have been hearing many positive things about this one. And *gasp* look at who the narrator is, that alone will get me to listen LOL

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one.