Connor, Risa, and Levi are teenagers in a not-too-distant future in which parents can decide to retroactively abort their children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen through a process called unwinding. Unwinding, a compromise the ended a civil war between pro-life and pro-choice factions, is a process of disassembling a person so that each of their body parts can go to someone else (but it is not considered killing, since the each part of the unwound person goes on living in someone else). In this world, so many teens are unwound that ailments are fixed through transplants rather than medicines or other therapies. Connor, Risa, and Levi have each been scheduled to be unwound for one reason or another, but Connor’s high-profile escape leads to their joining up as runaways.

Unwind passes the narration between Connor, Risa, Levi, and a few secondary characters, as indicated by chapter headings. Although it may take some getting used to, this narrative method lets readers into the motives of the characters and the changes they go through in their attempts to escape, survive, and make sense of the world.

While it’s hard to imagine anyone--regardless of their position on abortion--who would support unwinding, it makes for a provocative premise without glorifying either side of the abortion issue. Instead, Unwind asks questions: Could our society ever adopt and embrace a practice like unwinding? What is life, when does it start and end, and who decides? When is it okay to break the law? Teens may or may not think they have the answers, but they will certainly ask these kinds of questions and many more of their own.

Unwind gives readers a lot to think about while also telling a compelling, exciting, and highly disturbing story.