This book is an intense look at some difficult subjects: abortion, government control, stem cell research, the rights of minors. You ask yourself, who owns a child's body?
In this world, the child is the last one who has any right over their body. If parents don't want to take care of a teenager, they can ship them off to be Unwound, their body parts spread out to those who need them - or just want new parts. If the children resist, they're prosecuted for stealing government property. Religions seize Unwinding as a way to fulfill their tithing obligations. Adults can have children forced on them at any time, but they have no real obligation to the children.
The story definitely has some holes. I found the premise, that both pro-life and pro-choice groups would find this acceptable, to be ridiculous. I also found it difficult to believe that some aspects of society (like schooling) would still be as common as they are today; why send a kid to school if you're going to Unwind them in a few years? But the way people justified Unwinding in the book seemed chillingly true to life. Just look at the way people have justified utter atrocities, with the barest of excuses, throughout human history.
This book contains one of the most chilling chapters I have ever read. Actually, strike that: without going into any gory detail, without presenting anything outright shocking, Neal Shusterman managed to write the creepiest thing I have ever read. That scene is still playing itself in my head, and I don't know if I'll ever get rid of it. Just the knowledge of everything that chapter implies about the book and the society as a whole is utterly chilling - and it all seems so real, as though it could happen tomorrow.
I don't think I will get this book out of my head anytime soon. Yes, it had its flaws, but it makes an impact.