Grade Level: 
8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Civil Society
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Unwind Author: Neal Shusterman This literature guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12-17

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read, produced a video book talk (link below) and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.

Book Talk for Unwind



  1. Are you Pro-Life or Pro-Choice? Explain why.

  2. What would you think if your parents had the option to have every single piece of you surgically removed and given to other people? If you had a child who was just trouble and messed up, would you be able to have him/her go through a surgery that removed every part of them and be given to other people who need that body part?

  3. Could you believe that if every single part of a human body is kept alive in another person that the original person, whose body parts are in different people, is still alive spiritually?


  1. This book states a lot of things that would be controversial in today’s world and ethics. In the modern world we have issues over abortion; this book has a similar issue about the lives of people once they turn 13.

  2. Today, when you get your driver’s license you get to choose if you want to be an organ donor. The book has the same principle except your parents get to choose and it happens while you are still alive

During Reading


  1. What was Conner’s true reason for picking up the baby as they were running to the bus? Pg63

  2. How did Conner feel when Ariana decided not to run away with him? Pg10

  3. Why is Lev so dead set on being a tithe? Pg31

  4. Why is Risa getting unwound? Pg24

  5. Why does Pastor Dan yell for Lev to run? Pg79

  6. What makes Lev realize he doesn’t want to be unwound anymore? Pg79

  7. Explain what happens to Risa and Connor at the school. Pg 81-88

  8. What is the significance of Connor holding in his anger around Roland? Pg 147

  9. What is the real reason Cy-Fi need to get to Joplin, Mo? Pg 131

  10. What was Cy-Ty hiding in his backyard? Pg 185-194

  11. Why do you think Roland tells everyone the Admiral is evil? Pg 206

  12. Why doesn’t Roland kill Connor on the spot? Pg 278

  13. What is the significance of telling us about Roland’s process of being unwound? How did you feel as you read that description? Pg287-294

  14. Why makes Lev decide not to clap? Pg323

  15. What is the Admiral hiding? What is his name? Does it turn out the way you expected? pg 329-333



  1. Technology today is coming upon the technology the civilization in this book seem to have. Technology that allows scientist to use every single part of a human body to help others. Things live a dead man’s heart or lungs can be transplanted to another person to save their life.

  2. State homes in the book are based off of orphanages in the real world. Babies not wanted by their parents when they are born so they are send to an orphanage, or in the book Unwind, or a state home.

  3. The Graveyard in the book relates to slavery in the real world. The Graveyard uses people who are not being paid for labor that they are doing. Slavery was based on the same principle.

  4. Cy-Fi has a double personality. This is a lot like one of the characters in the movie Hide and Seek. The Dad in this movie has a double personality.

  5. How Connor in the book ran and saved the baby being storked, it really shows the kind humanity that exists in the real world inside of people like firefighters.

  6. Unwind shows some major parental issues. The fact that parents would be okay with something like this. It connects in the way that people seems to be okay with immoral things like this, such as things like dumpster babies.


After Reading


  1. Do you believe in the sacredness of a person’s spirit?

  2. Could you get over something like this happening to you or a brother, sister, or a friend?

  3. Would you be Pro-Unwind or a person who helps escaping unwinds? Why?

  4. What do you think of the transformations of Risa, Lev, and Connor?



  1. The main characters in this book are AWOL fugitives who use a system of people to help them escape. This is similar to the run-away slaves and the Underground Railroad.

  2. In this book, children are given up against their will to what is basically their death. This is a lot like what happens to the people in The Hunger Games.

    3. In Harry Potter Harry potter was basically storked after his parents were killed by that of who should not be named. Storking is a big part of Unwind.



  1. Create a fake Facebook account at http://www.classtools.net/FB/home-page put up at least 10 posts about a certain character from the book. Also put up at least 3 friends he/she might have.
  2. Visit a local blood bank and give blood to help out people who might be in dire need of it. It would be a great way to give back to your community but also goes along with the book.
  3. Read the following book review: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/books/review/Vizzini-t.html?_r=0 . Do you agree or disagree with the information in this article?
  4. Here is another link to a study guide on the author’s site. It has great questions and activities as well. http://www.storyman.com/books/UNWIND%20Study%20Guide-final.pdf