Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman

The Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman contains four main books called, in order, Unwind, UnWholly, UnSouled, and UnDivided as well as two books that are companions titled UnStrung and UnBound. The series is one of many dystopian books that Shusterman has written and the first book was released in 2007 with the most recent being released in 2015. 

The series takes place shortly after the Second Civil War, which was fought between the pro-choice and pro-life people in the United States. The outcome was parents had the right to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 to be “unwound” or sent to “harvest kill camps” where their bodies are taken apart and supposedly used to save the lives of others. 

The first book follows Connor, Risa, and Lev who were all sent to be unwound and run away. It then follows them trying to survive while being stuck between the police trying to find them and black market sellers trying to get money off of kids. Throughout the first book, they fight to survive while also meeting other kids who are trying to escape the same fate. The rest of the books in the series follow these three characters and their friends while introducing new protagonists and antagonists with many twists and turns along the way. 

Shusterman uses his writing to illustrate the struggles that teens during this time went through, while being sent away from their families and trying to grow up while still staying alive. Shusterman tries to teach the lessons of growing up and learning who you are in the world as well as what your role is while still being a teenager. This book series would most likely appeal to others who enjoy the dystopian genre. This includes if you enjoyed books such as The Giver, Hunger Games, or Divergent

-Danielle B.

The Unwind series of novels by Neal Schusterman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Film Review: Gattaca

What if people had the ability of selecting the genes that their child would inherit? Of choosing only the best for their child, the genes that would produce the highest IQ or the longest lifespan? How would you feel if you, someone whose genes are random, were surrounded by people who are…”perfect”?

Vincent’s family didn’t program or alter his genes in any way. After testing his blood when he was first born, they knew that he would die early and had a very high risk of heart disease. Nevertheless, he pursued a career of studying space and the planets, despite his parent’s protests. He realized though, that he’d never be able to get a job with his own DNA. This is why he pretended to be Jerome: the perfect man, by “purchasing” Jerome’s DNA to use as his own.

Jerome’s parents did select his genes. He was “created” so that he’d have an exceptionally long lifespan, and so that he’d be very intelligent. But just because you choose the perfect genes for your child, it doesn’t mean they will be successful in life- it just means they have a better chance at success. In the movie, he said he’d walked in front of a car while he was sober. He must have done that purposefully- he was probably fed up with everyone and how they expected so much of him and chose, with a clear mind, to become crippled.

In the society of this movie, your success is based on your genetics- your DNA. If you don’t have what is considered the “ideal” DNA, you won’t even be considered as someone who is capable of working. On the other hand, if you possess what is considered “perfect” DNA, you wouldn’t even have to interview for a job, they’d hire you on the spot.

In my opinion, I think that this is very unjust. People should be viewed and assessed based on their talent and drive, not their DNA. DNA isn’t really something you can change- it’s what you’re born with. But people’s motivation and drive are things that they themselves control.

I’m also very skeptical on the idea of parents choosing their children’s genes. I think that however the child turns out, that’s how they were meant to be. Part of what makes us human is our mistakes, and by choosing only the most appealing genes for your child, the chance that they’ll make any mistakes will become nearly obsolete. Additionally, I think that if more and more people were to start hand-picking the genes that their children receive, people would become more and more similar. If people were to choose the genes for their children, they’d all probably choose the best possible ones, and if everyone did that, all children would be near perfect. There would be no more variety, and I think that our individuality is definitely something we should try to preserve.

Despite my uncertainty relating to some of the ethics that this movie brings up, I think that it’s very fascinating and thought-provoking, and definitely worth watching.

-Elina T.

Gattaca is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library