[[quoteright:185:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/unwind_8164.JPG]]

A YA novel by Neal Shusterman. A long time before the book started, there was a war called the Heartland War between the pro-life and pro-choice sides. The government compromised by making abortion illegal as a baby, but from the ages of 13-18, children can be "unwound", which is when all their body parts are donated to other people. Connor, a troublemaker from Akron, Ohio, is going to be unwound. He decides to run away and hitches a ride with a truck driver. His parents find him and he escapes the "juvey cops", or police who specialize in catching runaway "unwinds," and runs into Risa and Lev. Risa has been consigned to unwinding because, at a State Home, or [=StaHo=], her piano skills were not good enough and they needed to cut costs. Lev is a "tithe" -the 10th child of a rich, religious family who gives 10 percent of everything. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three 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, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

A sequel, called ''[=UnWholly=]'', was released on August 28, 2012. A third novel, ''[=UnSouled=],'' was released in 2013. The conclusion to the series, ''[=UnDivided=]'', was released in 2014.

An novella, called ''[=UnStrung=]'' has also been released as an e-book. It tells the story about how Lev [[spoiler:became a clapper]].

Constantin Films has the rights to [[TheFilmOfTheBook the movie]], with production slated to start in [[http://www.storyman.com/unwind-movie-news/ April 2016]].

Has a [[Characters/{{Unwind}} Character Sheet]] that needs some WikiMagic.

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!!!Contains examples of:
* FiveFiveFive: The Tyler Walker Foundation.
* ABNegative: Roland's got it. A shortage of AB- blood is [[spoiler: one of the reasons he was given for his quick unwinding]].
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Apparently Connor once hallucinated Roland’s tattoo telling him to “Spank the monkey with your own damn hand.”
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: [[spoiler:The Graveyard in ''[=UnWholly=]''.]]
* AndIMustScream:
** It's quite possible, though never fully confirmed, that you're still alive after being unwound. This is, in fact, the entire point.
** If not all Unwinds, then certainly [[spoiler:Tyler, the Unwind who is about 1/8 of [=CyFi's=] brain, though that's an atypical case. Still, Tyler is ''definitely'' conscious to a degree, and what's worse, doesn't even know he's been unwound. Not only that, but [=CyFi=] did not receive a part of Tyler's brain that uses words, and is trapped, unable to think using words.]]
** The process of unwinding itself is a lot like this. [[spoiler: The process is finally shared with the reader from Roland's point of view as he's being unwound. The person feels no pain, but is fully conscious for the entire procedure. Roland's thoughts get progressively simpler until all that's left is an ellipsis.]]
* ArcWords: "Somebody else's problem"
* AttemptedRape
** A parts pirate has unsavory intentions for Risa beyond selling her body parts. [[spoiler:And then she gets him to impale himself on a pitchfork.]]
** She also takes on three would-be rapists in an alley in Omaha. [[{{Kneecapping}} Ouch.]]
* AuthorVocabularyCalendar: Neal Shusterman really likes the term 'boeuf'.
* BeastAndBeauty: Cam and Risa. Although he's actually quite attractive, and once people get used to the idea of him many cease to see him as monstrous.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Subverted. At first the novel seems it's going in that direction, but Lev's former pastor, Dan, is much less dogmatic than the rest.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled
** [[spoiler:Hayden and his techies to a man choose to suffocate in the burning heat of the [=ComBom=] rather than turn themselves into the Juvies to be unwound.]]
** [[spoiler:Starkey begging Connor to strangle him so that even if he's harvested, he can never be unwound.]]
** [[PlayedForLaughs Connor also wonders if the ostrich he hit was trying to end it on his own terms.]]
* BettyAndVeronica: Cam and Connor for Risa. Going by personality, hot-tempered ex-delinquent Connor is the Veronica and charming, loyal Cam is the Betty. However, Connor is also a HumbleHero who's known Risa longer and has much more history with her, while Cam is a constructed human being (frequently exotified by Risa and others) with some {{Yandere}} tendencies.
-->“You have visitors,” Sonia tells her.
-->The look on [Risa's] face is too guarded to be hopeful. “What sort of visitors?”
-->Sonia smiles wickedly. “The angel and the devil on your shoulders, Risa. I hope you’re wise enough to know which is which.”
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Lev. Oh my lord, Lev. By the end of the first book, [[spoiler:he's eventually driven to become a Clapper, i.e. suicide bomber]].
* BigScrewedUpFamily: Roland's family. His sister was "never right again" after a babysitter shook her too hard, his stepfather beat up his mother, and his mother sent him to be unwound after he beat up his stepfather.
* BittersweetEnding / EarnYourHappyEnding
* BlackComedy: "He was not a very [[IncrediblyLamePun happy Jack]]." Accompanied by a literal RimShot!
* BlatantLies: "Nothing to worry about." As one is being methodically ''dismembered''.
* BodyHorror
* BreakHerHeartToSaveHer: Connor's coldness toward Risa in ''[=UnWholly=]'' and ''[=UnSouled=]'' stems first from his disgust at his transplant and fear he'll lose control of [[spoiler:Roland's]] arm and later because he doesn't want her tagging along for his dangerous lifestyle when she's found refuge elsewhere.
* BreakTheCutie: What led to the trope above. Overlaps nastily with CorruptTheCutie.
* BulletproofHumanShield
** Lev takes tranq bullets meant for Connor, letting them both escape.
** Similarly, Starkey uses Ashley to block tranq bullets during the Graveyard raid.
* CharacterNameAlias: A pair of clappers introduce themselves as Sid and Nancy.
* ChurchMilitant: Many of the parents who give up their children as "tithes" believe the Bible told them to do it.
* {{Confessional}}: Cam goes to Confession in ''[=UnSouled=]'', but it's less for absolution and more to ask the priest whether or not he's a person.
* CreateYourOwnVillain
** The juvie cop that Connor tranqs with his own gun loses his job and his wife and becomes an object of national ridicule, causing him to become a parts pirate and blame Connor for ruining his life. Of course, juvie cops aren't exactly heroes to begin with...
** Similarly, Argent was of questionable moral standing, but it's his run-in with Connor that gives him the nudge he needs to be a full-fledged villain.
* CruelMercy: The Tashi'ne family decides not to execute Fretwell, instead locking him in a blank cell without human contact, being given only enough bread and water, [[DrivenToSuicide with nothing but a rope]] for the rest of his life.
* DarkerAndEdgier: While ''Unwind'' is already pretty dark and edgy, ''[=UnWholly=]'' keeps the stomach-turning premise and adds more explicitly sexual content, cursing, and a brand-new illegal organ trade. And then in ''[=UnSouled=]'', Connor is forced to smoke pot and Risa calmly stabs a guy with a pitchfork (granted, it was in self-defense, but it's still jarring).
* DeadlyEuphemism: Unwinding is really having every single body part taken away and used as transplants
* {{Deprogram}}: The business of the Cavenaugh mansion is helping to retrain tithes so that they no longer want to be unwound.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Connor in ''Undivided''.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: Unwinding is a high price to pay for being a "difficult" teenager.
* DissonantSerenity: Starkey during the Graveyard raid, [[JustifiedTrope due to a combination of morphine and adrenaline]].
* DivorceAssetsConflict: Hayden's parents, who, after several years of courtroom throwdowns, were ''still'' fighting over who should get what, including Hayden, before deciding to have him unwound instead. See IfICantHaveYou below.
* DoorstopBaby: Since birth control and abortion are illegal, young mothers often drop their babies on doorsteps hoping someone finds them. It is called being "storked". Connor relates an anecdote about a storked baby who kept getting storked from one house to another until it died of exposure.
* DysfunctionJunction: Due to most of the cast being homeless children slated by their own families to be stripped down for organs.
* {{Dystopia}}: Though one that feels like it still looks and works much like modern day.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: A few police vehicles catch fire or explode during the raid in ''[=UnWholly=]''.
* EvenEvilHasStandards
** While the government during the unwinding process often those who runaways from their fate, if selected to be unwind, but those who are handicapped regardless of age, even they were once meant to be unwind, are spared. [[spoiler: Risa takes advantage of this after the explosion at the graveyard paralyzes her. Connor is also spared after the same explosion costs him an arm and eye, which a nurse replaces with Roland's and is given a fake ID to further this.]]
** Apparently even parts pirates refuse to unwind mentally disabled people.
* EvilVersusEvil: Divan and the Dah Zey.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: Connor's larger-than-life legend leaves people a little underwhelmed when they realize the Akron AWOL is just a kid, in spite of everything he's done.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: How [[spoiler: Connor]] decides to approach his unwinding.
* FantasticPrejudice: Storks and wards are both subjected to significant classism, even at the Graveyard.
* {{Feghoot}}: The urban legend of Humphrey Dunfee, whose father was one of the most prominent advocates of unwinding. Said father was all but forced to unwind Humphrey, but completely snapped afterwards, trying to track down every person who received an organ from Humphrey. Unfortunately for him, "All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humphrey back together again." [[spoiler:The story isn't completely false, and in the end, all the recipients are gathered for a reunion of sorts.]]
* {{Flashback}}: The Rheinschild's flashbacks provide one of the [=POVs=] for ''[=UnSouled=]''.
* FolkHero: Generally deconstructed. Connor, Risa, and Starkey all reach this status throughout the course of the series, but usually for [[FakeUltimateHero things they didn't do]], or for their morally questionable actions.
* FourLinesAllWaiting: ''[=UnSouled=]'' follows Lev and Connor's journey to find Sonia, Risa's life on the run, Cam working against Proactive Citizenry, Nelson and Argent's hunt for Connor, Starkey and the Stork Club, and the Rheinschilds' lives after the passage of the Unwind Accord.
* TheFundamentalist: all the (religious) parents who believe in tithing their children.
** StrawAffiliation: No real fundamentalists actually believe in tithing children, at least not as human sacrifices. Sending them to live with a monastery, perhaps, but not human sacrifice.
* FutureSlang: Lots.
** A "Boeuf" is a young person looking for military service.
** [[MosesInTheBulrushes Storked]] means having a baby left on your doorstep.
** [[TheRunaway Kicking-AWOL]] means running away in order to escape Unwinding.
** [[NativeAmericanCasino "ChanceFolk"]] is the politically correct term for a Native American. SlotMonger is the politically incorrect term.
** "Umber" is the new word for African-Americans while "Sienna" is the new word for Caucasians.
* GildedCage: Proactive Citizenry holds Cam [[spoiler:and Risa]] captive in incredible luxury and privilege.
* GilliganCut: At the end of a chapter, Connor denies that he's a hero and is told that 'a true hero never believes he is one'. The next chapter begins.
--> ''Mason Starkey knows he is a hero.''
* GollumMadeMeDoIt: Transplanting part of one person's brain into another person can have peculiar effects.
* GoLookAtTheDistraction: Bambi tells a guard to go get her a drink. He points out that their water store is in the room with him. She tells him to go get her some sushi. He just acts confused. She gives up and tells him to get the hell out.
* GroinAttack
-->“The Akron AWOL in my storm cellar. Can’t be an accident. It was fated, man! Fated!”
-->“You kicked me in the nuts. That wasn’t fate; it was your foot.”
* HeroicSacrifice
** [[spoiler: Connor and the Holy of Whollies plan one so that the others can make a run for it when the Juvie cops raid the Graveyard.]]
** Of the non-lethal kind, [[spoiler: Cam allows himself to be taken back into custody at the end of [=UnSouled=] so he won't give Risa and Connor away to the authorities.]]
* HumanSacrifice: All the "tithes", in a way.
* ICannotSelfTerminate: [[spoiler:Starkey, immobilized on the ''Lady Lucrezia'', has to beg Connor to kill him.]]
* IfICantHaveYou: Hayden's parents. They both decided in the middle of their bitter divorce that they would rather have their son ''unwound'' than live with the fact that the other had won.
* InstantSedation: Tranq bullets knock an opponent out so quickly and effectively that they're called more effective than real bullets.
* InfantImmortality: Very, very [[AvertedTrope averted]].
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In a dramatic example, Sonia refuses to believe that parents will be willing to unwind their children, after it's legally extended to all teens in addition to ferals.
* KilledOffForReal:
** [[spoiler:Roland. And all that "divided state" nonsense aside, you still feel sorry for him as you have to see the whole procedure in graphic detail.]]
** [[spoiler:Vincent and Mai, who become clappers.]]
** [[spoiler:In the second book, a clapper kills off Pastor Dan.]]
** [[spoiler:Trace by the end of ''[=UnWholly=]'' - he drowns in the Salton Sea after a plane crash.]]
** [[spoiler:Starkey, by his own request.]]
** [[spoiler:Nelson, unwound without anesthetic.]]
* KnownOnlyByTheirNickname: One of the Unwinds got the nickname "Emby" (short for mouth breather because of his breathing problems). Only the Admiral calls him by his real name, Zachary.
* LastKiss: [[spoiler:Connor and Risa ebfore he's unwound on the ''Lady Lucrezia''.]]
* LifeOrLimbDecision: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] when Starkey has to smash the bones in his hand to escape handcuffs so that he can attempt to seize control of the Graveyard.
* LightIsNotGood: The harvest camps. Between the ''Series/PushingDaisies''-esque decor (bright pastel colors on everything, including the surgeons' sunshine yellow scrubs) and the [[CrapsaccharineWorld sickening platitudes painted on every wall]]...it would give even Creator/TimBurton nightmares.
* LineInTheSand: Connor gives the Holy of Whollies the chance to opt out of acting as a distraction so that the others can escape the Graveyard. It's noted that it's really an empty offer, as no one can take it without seeming cowardly and abandoning their friends.
* LittleNo: [[spoiler:Risa refusing to play the organ for Divan as Connor is unwound.]]
* LoveBeforeFirstSight: Cam's infatuation with Risa begins before he meets her, when he sees a surveillance photo and one of the unwinds whose brain he received recognizes hers.
* LoveDodecahedron: In the first book, Connor may have had something with Ariana before Risa got into the picture; Roland also vies for her attention, but it's really more to rile Connor up. In ''[=UnWholly=]'', [[spoiler:Cam develops feelings for Risa as well, but she doesn't return them.]]
* ManlyTears: The male heroes cry, which is understandable given the situations that they're often placed in.
* MeaningfulName: Wards of the state, such as Risa, are given the last name of "Ward."
* MedicalHorror: Obviously.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:Connor strangling Starkey before he can be unwound.]]
* MercyLead: Nelson gives these to his captures, but only to [[HopeSpot foster false hope]].
* MomentKiller: Risa does this to Connor several times in ''Undivided'', most [[{{Egregious}} egregiously]] by bringing up [[RomanticFalseLead Cam]] while they cuddle.
* MoodWhiplash
* NearRapeExperience: [[spoiler:Roland begins to force himself on Risa before Connor interrupts.]] It's not clear whether he would have gone through with it if or if it was just a bluff to upset Connor, but it's still horrible.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Many of Starkey's [[WellIntentionedExtremist stork-rescue operations]] slip into this due to his RevengeBeforeReason mindset.
* NoNameGiven: Many of the single-section [=POV=] characters.
* NothingPersonal: Risa is consigned to unwinding because of ''budget cuts'' at the state children's home where she lives.
* OfficialCouple: [[spoiler:Connor and Risa.]]
* OffingTheOffspring
* OhCrap: Many times over. A couple of examples are Lev and Miracolina when Nelson pulls a tranq gun on them and Connor when the Whollies change direction to try to reach the escape jet.
* OptOut: Lev deciding to stay with the Tashi'ne family instead of going on to Akron.
* OrganTheft: Only legal, at first. Doesn't stop the formation of [[spoiler:gangs of parts pirates]] in ''[=UnWholly.=]''
* OurHeroIsDead: [[spoiler:Lev getting shot at the Statue of Liberty.]]
* OutlawCouple: Connor and Risa eventually become this, although the crimes they commit are always about doing the right thing even if it's illegal.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Proposition 73 involves legalizing the unwinding of adult criminals.
* PerpWalk
** Connor is paraded around Happy Jack when he arrives in order to humiliate him and break the spirits of the kids already there. [[NiceJobFixingItVillain It galvanizes them instead.]]
** Fretwell also gets one when he's brought back to the reservation.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Most of the heroes are intermittently-homeless teenage criminals. [[CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority But the good kind]].
* RefugeInAudacity: The idea of unwinding itself is an [[NiceJobBreakingItHero accidental]] example. It was suggested in an attempt to shock everyone into ending the war -- but coincidentally, medical technology was released at about the same time that enabled the use of 100% of a donated body, and the idea was implemented shortly thereafter.
* {{Retcon}}: Fairly minor one: The first book has a mention of Florida [[WeWillUseWikiWordsInTheFuture StaHo]] 18. In the second book, an AWOL boy points out that the State Homes in Florida are all named after flowers instead (his was called Magnolia.)
* RevengeBeforeReason: Starkey burns down the house of parents who attempt to have their stroked children unwound, [[spoiler:which is what finally prompts the Juvenile Authority to take the Graveyard out.]]
* RiskingTheKing: Connor reassures another kid that he'll be fighting right alongside the rest of them. Another boy points out that in chess, you don't put your king on the frontline, but Connor doesn't care.
* TheRival: Roland, Starkey, and Cam all play this role to Connor in some fashion throughout the series.
* SadisticChoice: [[spoiler:In ''Unwholly'', Risa is given the choice to publicly endorse unwinding, or see the Graveyard and all the unwinds who live there taken down.]]
* {{Room 101}}: The room where unwinding happens is almost one of these, save for the fact that everyone knows what goes in the "chop shop."
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Grace offers to give the printer away for free to see if the company will take advantage of her, thereby testing its integrity and the likelihood that it will bury the technology.
* ShipTease: Hayden and Bam in ''Undivded''.
* ShirtlessScene: Cam engineers a few for Risa's benefit.
* ShoutOut: Cy-Fi's "Old Umber patois" includes the phrase "I pity the foo'," CatchPhrase of [=B.A.=] Barracus from Series/TheATeam. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when Lev says that a lot of Cy-Fi's patois probably comes from old [=TV=] shows.
** Apparently Risa has seen ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''.
* ShutUpHannibal:
-->“The difference between me and you, Connor,” Starkey says, still defiant, “is that—”
-->“—is that you’re in handcuffs and I’m not. Get him out of here.”
* SlowClap: After Lev announces his intention to hunt down the parts pirates that took Wil.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: [[spoiler:Starkey]] invokes this in ''[=UnWholly=]''.
* SpitefulSpit: More and more as the series progresses.
* StarCrossedLovers: The two clappers in ''[=UnSouled=]''.
* StepfordSmiler: The nurse at the "chop shop." Such smiling eyes, ''always''.
* SuicideAttack: Clappers, who can blow themselves up at any time. Near the end [[spoiler:they try specifically to blow up the operating room at a harvest camp.]]
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Played with in the second book with Starkey, a boy who is being unwound for delinquency (much like Connor). Ultimately subverted, though. He's a much worse troublemaker than Connor ever was, not to mention he's perpetually defiant and [[spoiler:even takes to militant action and lets Trace die.]]
* TakeAThirdOption: Lev invokes this.
* TakeThat
--> There’s a theater on the next street playing a revival of Cats, which mankind will likely have to suffer through for the rest of eternity.
* TeenageWasteland: The Graveyard becomes one [[spoiler:when Connor takes over for the Admiral.]] Fear of teenage riots and growing unrest was also a factor in the passing of the Unwind Accord.
* TeensAreMonsters: Horrifically deconstructed in book two. [[spoiler:During the Heartland War, many teens, with their present and future lives potentially ruined beyond repair, took to the streets to protest, and were viciously cut down by cops armed with newly-invented tranq bullets. The media categorized them as "Feral Teens" and this heavy sensationalization is implied to have led to the rushed passage of the Unwind Accords, with the express purpose of eliminating this "Terror Generation," morality be damned.]]
* TeenPregnancy: [[spoiler:Starkey knocks up a few of his followers in ''[=UnSouled=]''.]]
* TerroristsWithoutACause: Some clappers actually pride themselves on this, claiming to serve no cause but chaos.
* TheBigEasy: Argent and Nelson visit in ''[=UnSouled=]''.
* TheChainsOfCommanding: Connor [[spoiler:while running the Graveyard.]]
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:Nelson is killed by Argent in ''Undivided'' in revenge for his betrayal (and for taking half of Argent's face).]]
* TheirFirstTime: [[spoiler:Connor and Risa at the end of ''Undivided'', after two years of being cockblocked by everything from their own angst to one of them straight-up ''dying''.]]
* TheRez: In ''[=UnSouled=]'', Connor, Lev, [[spoiler: Grace, and eventually Camus]] spend most of the book on a "Casino Rez", [[RagsToRiches which has gotten very wealthy over the years and is now practically independent.]] They hunt for their food and live in luxurious homes that are carved into the walls of a gorge.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:Connor being unwound, purchased by the admiral, and rewound.]]
* TitleDrop
--> ''Do you know what that feels like, Risa?'' [Cam] wants to ask her. ''Do you know what it’s like to be un-souled?''
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler:The Rheinschilds.]]
* ToiletHumor: The "pee in a suitcase" sequence in ''[=UnWholly=]''.
* TrueCompanions: Connor, Risa, and Lev.
* {{Tuckerization}}: Whenever Neal Shusterman needs a name for a character, he'll describe the character on his Facebook page and ask his fans "Who wants the character to be named after them?" He'll either take the entire name of a fan, or combine two people's first and last names.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Specifically, after "The Heartland War" broke out over the legalization of abortion. Certain current cultural references are referred to as "pre-war", such as Creator/MrT and iPods. Biomedical technology seems to have advanced the most, including the eponymous Unwinding technique.
* TwoGuysAndAGirl
** Connor, Risa, Lev
** Roland, Mai, Hayden.
** Connor, Lev, Grace
** Connor, Cam, Grace
* UnknownRival: {{Invoked}} by Starkey, who intentionally keeps quiet. Connor doesn't realize it until it's too late.
* UnluckyChildhoodFriend: Ariana.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee
** While Connor and Risa are being chased by an officer.
** At the end of ''[=UnWholly=]'', Connor's plan is well-laid out and heroic. Starkey's is selfish and hidden from the audience. Guess how that plays out...
** Lev's plan to rescue Connor during the battle with the Juvies also follows this rule.
** The grandest example is [[spoiler:Connor's ThanatosGambit]].
* UnwittingPawn: Lev leading Nelson to the Graveyard.
* WalkingTransplant: The Unwinds.
* WeWillUseWikiWordsInTheFuture: State group homes are called [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything StaHo.]]
* [[WhamEpisode Wham Ending]]: Book two, many times over.
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:"Dunfee? Your last name is ''Dunfee''?"]]
* WhatWereYouThinking: Connor gets this a lot from Risa at first, and later turns it around to shame the mob at the graveyard.
* WhoNeedsEnemies: Starkey working to undermine Connor in ''[=UnWholly=]''.
* [[WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide Would Be Rude to Say "Death"]]: The state home's lawyer admonishes Risa for being "inflammatory" when she refers to being unwound as "dying." He prefers to describe it as being "alive, just in a divided state."
* WorthyOpponent: Divan says that he respect Connor quite a bit and would be tempted to let him go...if not for [[EvilPaysBetter the money he stands to make]].
* YouWontFeelAThing: There's a sequence where a WalkingTransplant on the operating table is notified that he may feel something in his feet, but not to worry. Then, a little later, he's told that he may feel something in his legs. This proceeds [[BodyHorror far longer than you might expect]].
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