Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: UnWholly

UnWholly (Unwind, book 2)
By Neal Shusterman

Published 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

WARNING: There will be spoilers for book 1. If you'd like to read my review of Unwind, go here.

Because of the incident at Happy Jack Harvest Camp, it's become much more difficult for people to ignore what unwinding really means. But there are powerful people willing to take whatever means necessary to ensure that unwinding remains the law. Will Connor, Risa, and Lev be able to continue their rebellion in the face of these powers?

It took me forever to get around to reading Unwind, but, in a way, it was good I waited so long - that meant I didn't have to wait long for the sequel. While I think Unwind can definitely work as a standalone novel, I was really excited to see what Shusterman would do with a sequel. Because of the sheer volume of books I read in a year, it can be nearly impossible for me to remember anything about a book I read by the time I get around to picking up the next title in the series. Shusterman has cleverly and successfully provided a little primer at the beginning of this book that will catch people up (if they haven't read the first) and refresh those of us with terrible memories. That being said, I don't know if I would recommend picking up UnWholly without having read Unwind - the experience with the book is much greater if you've read the first. As I said, I don't think that a sequel was absolutely necessary, but Shusterman has crafted one that is just as exciting, involving, complex, and emotionally compelling as the first. Introducing some new characters and catching up with the original, Shusterman weaves a more interesting narrative. I loved seeing the variety of characters included throughout the novel. With short, action-packed chapters, this book will keep you turning the pages furiously, eager to know what will happen next. Shusterman has filled the pages with twists and turns that are unexpected and yet not. The terrifying world created in the first just seems to get more bleak and horrible in this novel and I can only imagine how dark it will be in book three. I loved everything about this and am definitely looking forward to book three. These books will be highly recommended for readers looking for compelling and complex teen novels.

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