[[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.

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

A [[TheFilmOfTheBook movie deal]] has been made with [[http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118063857/ Constantin Films]].

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

----
!!!Contains examples of:
* ABNegative: Roland's got it. A shortage of AB- blood is [[spoiler: one of the reasons he was given for his quick unwinding]].
* 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"
* AuthorVocabularyCalendar: Neal Shusterman really likes the term 'boeuf'.
* BeastAndBeauty: [[spoiler:Cam and Risa.]]
* 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.
* BettyAndVeronica: In terms of personality [[spoiler:Cam]] and Connor fit this for Risa, though Connor and Risa are [[spoiler:the OfficialCouple]] and [[spoiler:Cam]] has elements of the Veronica and at times towards a BettyAndVeronicaSwitch given his slight {{Yandere}} tendencies.
* 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
* BreakTheCutie: What led to the trope above. Overlaps nastily with CorruptTheCutie.
* ChurchMilitant: Many of the parents who give up their children as "tithes" believe the Bible told them to do it.
* DarkerAndEdgier
* DeadlyEuphemism: Unwinding is really having every single body part taken away and used as transplants
* DisproportionateRetribution: Unwinding is a high price to pay for being a "difficult" teenager.
* 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.
* {{Dystopia}}: Though one that feels like it still looks and works much like modern day.
* {{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.]]
* 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.]]
* 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 "Beouf" is a young person looking for military service.
** [[MosesInTheBullRushes 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.
* GollumMadeMeDoIt: Transplanting part of one person's brain into another person can have peculiar effects.
* {{Goth}}: Vincent and Mai.
* HumanSacrifice: All the "tithes", in a way.
* 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.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Connor.
* 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.]]
* 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.
* LightIsNotGood: The harvest camps. Between the 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.
* 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.]]
* MeaningfulName: Wards of the state, such as Risa, are given the last name of "Ward."
* MoodWhiplash
* [[spoiler:OfficialCouple:]] [[spoiler:Connor and Risa.]]
* NothingPersonal: Risa is consigned to unwinding because of ''budget cuts'' at the state children's home where she lives.
* OffingTheOffspring
* OrganTheft: Only legal. Doesn't stop the formation of [[spoiler:gangs of parts pirates]] in ''[=UnWholly.=]''
* 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.)
* 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 to Connor. [[spoiler:Later on, Cam to Connor as well.]]
* {{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."
* 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.
* 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 even lets Trace die.]]
* TakeAThirdOption: Lev invokes this.
* 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.]]
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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''?"]]
* [[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."
* 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]].
----