111 pages 3 hours read

Neal Shusterman


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2007

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  • Genre: Fiction; young adult dystopian
  • Originally Published: 2007
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 740L; grades 8-9
  • Structure/Length: 69 chapters; approx. 384 pages; approx. 10 hours, 9 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: After the Second Civil War in a future United States, abortion is illegal from the moment of conception; however, parents can opt to have their children aged 13-18 “unwound”—where their bodies are dismembered and repurposed. Three teenagers, Connor, Risa, and Lev, flee their eventual fate and fight to prove that their lives are worth saving.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Abortion; abuse; foster care; physical threat of sexual assault; violence

Neal Shusterman, Author

  • Bio: Born 1962 in Brooklyn, New York; became a writer after his ninth-grade English teacher challenged him to write a story every month; moved from Brooklyn to Mexico City at age 16 and finished high school there; graduated from UC Irvine, where he studied psychology and theater; received National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2015) for his book Challenger Deep
  • Other Works: Downsiders (1999); Full Tilt (2004); Unwind Dystology series (2007-2014); Arc of a Scythe trilogy (2016-2019)
  • Awards: ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2008)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • One Versus Many
  • What Is Morality?
  • Inner Versus Outer Strength

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will: