Sunday, 20 October 2013

Litspiration Challenge #1

"Unwind" By Neal Shusterman - Cover to Cover
Hi Everyone,
For my first litspiration challenge of Grade Nine I have chosen to do a 'Cover to Cover' analysis for the book "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman. In this challenge I will be analyzing each of the three covers of "Unwind" and determining which one is collectively the best in terms of originality, graphics/ photography, typography and story connections. Additionally, I have created a few different images that depict certain things that I took away from this book. "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman has to be one of my favourite books; not only because of its mystically unique plot and storyline, but also because Shusterman did such a fantastic job uniting science and literature together and bringing "Unwind" to life! 

If this book cover above does not want you to read this book, I will be surprised! Originally when I picked up "Unwind" I debated if I wanted to read the book, but if I had seen this cover I would have automatically wanted to read it. I know you should not judge a book by its cover, but thats the natural reaction of a human being. This cover has the perfect balance between aesthetics and connections to the story; its not revealing too less or too much, just PERFECT. The way the creator of this book cover crafted this idea into a connected and concise page is just mind-blowing. In the bottom right corner you see "Three teens, One terrifying process..." and I do not want to ruin the story, but I will give a short summary of what this means. While setting this design-drooling cover aside, Neal Shusterman's "Unwind" is a gem. It examines the idea of children being 'unwound' for their body parts as an alternative for abortion - these children are harvested for their organs if their parents sign them off before they are eighteen. Through the use of figurative descriptive language and being written in third person present tense, the reader's mind is left turning in and around, questioning fundamental issues about identity, values and general medical science. Overall, I believe this cover is the perfect fit for this book as it is original, its graphics are backed up with powerful meaning, the typography is connected to the whole design and is definately the one I would choose if I had written "Unwind."

Originality: 10
Graphics/ Photography: 9.5
Typography: 9.5
Story Connections: 9
TOTAL: 38!

The cover of "Unwind" above is the one I had while reading this book. It has an interesting touch of mystery to it, however it does not relate as well as the other covers may. I love how there is a little phrase in the bottom right corner questioning the reader: "What if your parents could unwind you?" This not only makes me, as the reader, want to learn more about the process of unwinding but also motivates me to read the book. Uniquely, the creator of this chose to craft a fingerprint in the shape of a person, which superfluously related to the theme of this book. The story connections were not as strong as they could have been because with just a fingerprint people could take away many things from it. One idea that was strong was that a fingerprint usually ties to identity of an individual and this story "Unwind" plays with individuals identities. As for creativity, I believe that the person who created this book cover could have done a better job incorporating main ideas from the book - like the fact that unwinding results in a person having many different people's body parts and identities -  which may have made the cover more significant in value. Although, I love the typography in which the beautiful way "Unwind" was written along with the cracked and creepy way the authors name is pasted down the side.

Originality: 5
Graphics/ Photography: 7
Typography: 8.5
Story Connections: 8.5

Unfortunately this is the cover above which I liked the least. Although it is nearly the same as the previous one, its typography sets of the creepy layout. I do not like how the font is quite thin and, other than the identity relation with the fingerprints, there are no other connections to the story. An interesting subject included in this cover that is different than the others is that it says at the bottom "Author of Everlost" and I think this is awesome because it promotes Shusterman's other amazing books. I have also read "Everlost" and it is quite a well-written book of the Skinjacker series. Anyways, I definitely do not think that this cover is unique as it is a near replica of the cover shown before. The creator of this book cover considered the readability of the authors name Neal Shusterman, but I believe they could have took into consideration about the graphics they used and how it ties to the overall message or theme of "Unwind." After a little bit of research on wikipedia, I learned that this is the official cover of "Unwind" which is disappointing because the ones that I displayed before were (to me) MUCH better:

Originality: 5
Graphics/ Photography: 7
Typography: 7
Story Connections: 7

Some of the main ideas I took away from this book that could motivate others to read it are below, along with their descriptions! Please take a look, give me feedback/ comments and enjoy.

The image below is how I interpreted the main characters of this novel and if you come to read "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman please let me know how your ideas of the characters relate to how I viewed them! Below the image, I have included some specific evidence from the book as to the details of these characters as well.

  • "Risa has a natural kind of beauty." (pg.45)
  • ""Risa Ward," the stage manager calls. "You're up."" (pg. 19)
  • "Risa paces backstage, waiting for her turn at the piano." (pg. 19)
  • "She flips through the pages of Risa's fifteen years of life as casually as if she were reading a newspaper." (pg. 21)
After fully analyzing Risa it was obvious to depict her has a beautiful girl with a sensitive yet strong and defensive personality. Like it said in the book itself, no one can mess with her! She is not only beauty but brains as well. Many points throughout the novel, Risa made smart decisions about how to get out of tough situations. 

  • "He always kept his eyes the color they came in. Brown." (pg. 3)
  • :At least not Connor Lassiter. He still cannot believe his life is being stolen from him at sixteen." (pg. 3)
  • "For once he had held his temper, and aside from a few fights in school that weren't his fault, he kept his emotions hidden." (pg. 6)
  • "There's a pair of pants and a blue button-down shirt that fits Connor." (pg. 56) 
After fully analyzing Connor, I happened to image him with a tough appearance but a softer heart. He was quite short tempered as he often got into fights, but Connor was logical. After Risa came into his life, he began to control his anger and realized that fighting and arguing is not always the best solution to his problems. 

  • "... and his name, Levi Jedediah Calder..." (pg. 27)
  • "Lev, at thirteen, is the youngest of ten." (pg. 29)
  • "He knew he was a tithe from the time he was little." (pg. 31)
  • There's a jacket that fits Lev." (pg. 56)
After fully analyzing Lev, I came to interpret him as a young teen boy who was brain-washed to understand that he was born to serve god. Later throughout the story Lev has built his personality but always has a sweet touch to himself!


  • "The Admiral is well into his sixties, and his face is full of scars." (pg. 181)
  • "His smile shows a set of perfectly straight, perfectly white teeth. It's a strange disconnect, because, while his teeth are sparkling, the rest of him seems worn down to the nub." (pg. 182)
After fully analyzing The Admiral I noticed that I viewed him as a rusty old war veteran with a set of brand new shiny white teeth. I drew his grin so that it seems "intimidating and reassuring at the same time." (pg. 181).

  • "...he just glares at Sonia and crosses his arms, displaying a shark tattooed on his forearm." (pg. 98)
  • "Connor notices that the kid has four parallel scratch marks on one side of his face, consistent with fingernails."
  • "The big kid is Roland." (pg. 99)
  • "Like Connor, Roland got into fights at school - although Connor suspected Roland's fights were much, much worse." (pg. 99)
After fully analyzing Roland, I imagined him as a muscular boy who loved to tease people. He was not hesitant to start a fight, because in most situations he would win. I drew him to have a strong build up, and included the smaller details like the scratch marks on his face left by Mai. 

  • "... a lanky blond kid with a faint smirk that seems permanently fixed on his face. He has braces on teeth that don't appear to need them. Although his eyes tell of sleepless nights, his hair is perfect. Connor can tell that this kid, despite the rages he's wearing, comes from money." (pg. 98)
  • "The smirker is Hayden." (pg. 99)
After fully analyzing Hayden I drew him as an inquistive teenage boy with those details of braces. I also made sure to dress him with 'rag-like' simple clothing as the details depicted. 

  • "She's Asian, and looks almost as tough as the kid with the tattoo, with hair dyed a deep shade of pink and a spiked leather choker on her neck." (pg. 98)
  • "The girl has a black eye." (pg. 98)
  • "The girl is Mai." (pg. 99)

After fully analyzing Mai I pictured and drew her with a tom-boy yet girly look. She looks tough with the black but girly with the neat and clean hair. Mai reminds me of a goth, as those details of spiked leather choker and black eye portray.


  • "The kid is fifteen, and his name is Cyrus Finch - although he doesn't go by that name. "No one calls me Cyrus," he had told Lev shortly after they met. "I go by CyFi."" (pg. 121)
  • "CyFi is umber." (pg. 121)
  • "CyFi enjoys hearing himself talk." (pg. 121)
  • "CyFi was like a preacher with no flock." (pg. 124)
After fully analyzing CyFi I drew him according to the umber image that was displayed in my mind. He was quite a talkative 15 year old so I tried to make him seem open and willing to have a conversation. 

  • "Pastor Dan has been a family friend since before Lev was born, and he has always been much easier to talk to than this parents about any subject that required patience and wisdom." (pg. 31)
  • It takes a moment for Lev to recognize him - mainly because he's not wearing his modest pastor's vestments. He wears jeans and a striped button-down shirt. "Good morning, Lev." "Pastor Dan?"" (pg. 323)
After fully analyzing Pastor Dan, he seemed like a wise middle-aged man who was in the best interest to help Lev. Thats the reason I drew him with an older but wiser appearance.

Below, I have drawn the 'Parents Unwinding Handbook' which was talked during the book. It is not too detailed, but here I wanted to give a quick idea of how I imagined the main characters and I concisely crafted their name and age into an one-page document file. This is just an additional ID like page to get to visualize the main characters a little better and understand the basics of unwinding with the small phrase at the top right corner.


As you can see the next image drawn below is of a muscular wrist with a shark on it. If you have read the descriptions of the characters in this book, you may have connected the dots to realize that this shark is the same tiger-shark located on Roland's wrist. Although this may not seem to significant to someone just viewing this image, if you read the book you would realize the significance. Unwinding was a process that every child character in this book was trying to run away from, but the ending was quite ironic for the main character. I believe the protagonist of this book was Connor Lassiter, and he was faced with many conflicting problems that made him make some tough choices. Connor was a quick decision maker and did not hesitate to proceed with something. After taking the risk of grabbing Lev out of a car and taking a storked baby from a front doorstep, the reader was easily able to identity that fact. The irony was that after the whole book plot when Connor is trying to dodge the horror of being unwound, in the end he results in getting a limb from an unwind itself. Ironically, the limb he receives is from his unwind enemy Roland who was unwound just hours before Connor was supposed to be! The shark on the wrist is the symbol which I deemed important in this book because it portrayed the whole idea of unwinding. 

Around this wrist, I chose to put in key words from this book; including characters, events and objects which played an important role to make "Unwind" such a fantastic novel and brought life to the idea of unwinding!

Last but not least, I created this quick picture depicting how I felt about children being unwound. Throughout "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman, unwinding is a process in which a parent may choose to retroactively "abort" a child on the condition that the child's life does not "technically" end. This is a process in which a child is both terminated, and yet kept alive. The creative world that Shusterman portrayed in his novel forced the reader to question themselves on topics like at what age does a life have value or who has the right to decide to end someones life? 
Now along with the previous questions mentioned, I leave you with another: Would you rather die or be unwound? 
Read "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman and you will be surprised to see what our world can become in the future. Which side do you support?

~ Maggie


Kirsten said...

Maggie this is amazing! Your drawings are very well done and you explored the book in so much detail. You did an excellent job on this

Maggie said...

Thanks a lot Kirsten!! I took a quick look at your litspiration challenge and I absolutely love the idea of creating a "Fake Twitter" page!!!! Its so unique, wonderful job <3

Post a Comment