Archive for September, 2011

Unwind

I have just finished reading “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman. Wow. Talk about thought-provoking!

The book’s blurb reads:

“The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called ‘unwinding’. ‘Unwinding’ is now a common, and accepted, practice in society. – In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would unwind them. Brought together by desperation, these unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed – but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, is wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.”

I was intrigued by this YA dystopic tale and decided to buy it on a whim. It is one interesting book, although freaked me out a little bit at time, especially when it describes in more detail about the ‘unwinding’. If you have good imagination and/or a weak stomach, it might make you feel a little queasy, as i did!  It is a little creepy, but it is heart-warming reading about how the characters cope with the sudden chaos and danger in their lives as they try to survive.

The three protagonists are Connor, Risa and Lev, three very different teens but they all have the same problem. They are forcedd to work together to survive and many twists and turns in the novel thwart their struggles to stay whole. I found myself rooting for Connor and Risa to survive, although Lev was a little bit irritating at first, but as the novel progresses and he experiences things which are completely different to anything he has ever witnessed in his sheltered life, he develops into a more like-able character.

We also get to see inside the minds of several other characters who play both important and more insignificant roles, all of which add that extra level of understanding of what they think of society’s attitude towards unwinding.

I was quite surprised by the ending, because things don’t all turn out happily, but the happy ending element is still sort of there. I won’t give away the ending by saying anything else!

All i can say that its definitely worth a read if you’re into Science-Fiction, Dystopia or anything similar! I give it 7/10 because it is well written, the plot is suitably disturbing but brilliant, and the characters develop really well.

Book Quote of the Day

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Book Quotes
Tags: ,
“Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”
- Susan Sontag
At the Edge of Light – Maria Peura

I have just finished reading “At the Edge of Light” by Maria Peura. It is translated from Finnish and was a random choice in my recent book order from Amazom. I found it through looking at the lists of translated literature on Booktrust’s website and fancied something different. Booktrust reviewed the book and i was intrigued by it because i havent read anything from Finland before (except maybe the Moomins!).

The novel follows young teenage Kristina as she finds her way through adolescence in the sometimes grim northern Finland. The setting is pretty dramatic, surrounded by snow, ice and the winter darkness, then the summer months bring the dangerous cracking of the river ice. Kristina is a troubled soul, but with a vivid imagination: sometimes it is difficult to work out what is real and what is in her head. It covers many topics which teens face: sex, drugs, family issues, peer pressure, mental illness, and death. She struggles living in such a harsh climate and tries to help herself by comfort eating and then not eating at all.

This book doesn’t seem suitable for a younger audience, despite the narrator’s young age, as there is a lot of references to sex, death and drugs, and i found it rather difficult to read at points. However, i suspect it could be quite educational because it interprets the struggles of a teenager trying to come to terms with growing up, while living in a tight-knit community where secrets are impossible, and in a harsh climate which can affect your emotions and well-being quite a lot.

I don’t regret buying this book because it is different and its always good to expand what you read. I’m intrigued by Maria Peura after reading this novel, so i think i will see what else she has written! I give this book 7/10 because although it is really well written and covers some interesting topics, its a little bit dark for my liking.