The story takes place in the future after a massive civil war. This war is called the Heartland War, which took place between pro-choice and pro-life bands. The war is ended only by proposing a "retroactive abortion" of teenaged kids, as long as the kid's life doesn't technically end by "reassigning" all its parts to people who need it. In order fora kid to be Unwound, the parents sign a paper transferring their child over to the government. The child becomes government property, and if tries to escape, is prosecuted like a criminal. If a kid runs away (kicks AWOL) and stays whole until the eighteenth birthday, he or she can no longer be Unwound. Neurografting, the science of transplanting all sorts of body parts, has already been perfected.
In the first part of the book, the author, Neil Shusterman, introduces three characters named Risa, Connor, and Lev. Connor comes from a rough neighborhood. When he catches news that he is going to be Unwound ( the process of dividing a body into different parts and placing the parts into a tissue bank for transplants), he runs away. Risa comes from a StaHo regional camp. The regional camps are where they send unwanted babies. Risa fails to be a perfect musician and is sent to be Unwound. She is sent to a harvest camp in a bus. Lev comes from a highly religious family where it is cool to get Unwound. In the story, these religious people are called tithes.
In the second part of the book Connor isrunning from
the copsand hits an intersection of cars. This causes an accident that makes a big scene. Risa was in a bus to go and get Unwound, but it was the accident that allows her to escape and meet Connor. Lev was in the car next to Connor, and Connor yanked him out and took him hostage. This accident is when the three main character's lives entwine with each other. Risa, Lev, and Connor run into the forest and start to talk. They realize that all three of them are going to be Unwound. At this point in the book, Lev still thinks he is better than Risa and Connor because ofhis religious thinking. As such he betrays them in the next scene. The three friends travel to a school. At this school Lev betrays Risa and Connor. Risa and Connor escapewith a teacher who hooks them up with an old lady called Sonia. Sonia keeps them in a bunker where they meet Roland and Mai. These two characters are like the evil in the story. As for the betrayer, Lev gets trampled in the school and makes a run for it. He meets up with a character named Cyfi. Cyfi is like the genius for his time. He isso smart thathe doesn't want to be at home so he calls himself an Unwind but he really has not been unwound.and
In the last part of the story Risa
Connor are in these hideouts that Sonia supplied for their use. These hideouts are similar to the Underground Railroad. They are small houses where they clean, feed, and house Unwinds. As Connor and Risa continue through the Unwind's Underground Railroad, Connor is battleing against a new character, Roland. Roland is a social manipulator who feeds off the saddness of others. Connor and Risa slowly start to fall in love as they travel, just as Connor and Roland's hatred for each other increases. Roland has so much hatred thathe attempts to sexually abuse Risa because Connor likes her. Connor used his intelligence to outwit Roland, causing Roland to leave. In, the last part of the Unwind Railroad, Roland and Connor end up ata place called the Graveyard. At the Graveyard Connor and Risa meet the Admiral. The Admiral is an old navy sargeant who takes care of Unwinds. While Connor and Risa are getting themselves comfortable at the Graveyard, Lev travels on the railroads with Cyfi. Cyfi and Lev travel to Joplin because Cyfi's alterperson is making him. This trip to Joplin toughens up Lev for the worse. Lev leaves Cyfi and goes to a place called the Graveyard. When Lev gets to the Graveyard,he meets up with Connorand Risa. Even though Lev betrayed them, Connor and Risa forgive him. While Lev is at the graveyardhe gets into a group called the Clappers. The clappers are people who worship chaos. The clappers cause a lot of trouble at the Graveyard and cause a revolt. The admiral is taken to a hospital because he is framed by the Clappers. Roland, Risa and Connor are caught and they are taken to Happy Jack's harvest camp. In addition, Roland is caught and turns in the Graveyard. Roland is harvested camp at the Harvest camp and the author goes into depth about how they tookhim apart. After a few days, Lev goes to the harvest camp, not because he got caught, but because he wason a mission. Lev, Mai, and the fleshhead are Clappers. They plan to blow up the harvest camp, but Lev finds out that Connor is going to be Unwound, sohe decides to try to save Conner. The other two clappers blow up the factory, but Lev decides not to detonatehis bomb. Instead of detonating his bomb, Lev saves Connor and Risa by taking them to the hospital. At the end of the story Connor is saved and becomes the admirabal of the new Graveyard, and Risa is his girl. As for Lev, he is trapped at a goverment facility but Cyfi is trying to get him out. Cyfi actually went to court and made Congress start to rethink the idea of Unwinding people. Cyfi's efforts end the book end.