Study Guide

Unwind Identity

By Neal Schusterman

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Lots of people encounter a career fair or talent assessment in high school, something to determine what career might best suit you—teacher, doctor, EMT, mime. But imagine going through the same assessment to see which parts of you might best suit others. We don't mean that your hands might be talented enough to play concerts for hundreds, but that your hands—when removed from your body—might help a piano player perform her opus. That's the type of identity crisis many teens face in Unwind, a world where they're not seen as a whole, but merely a sum of parts.

Questions About Identity

  1. What are Connor's biggest strengths and how does he use them to his advantage?
  2. Risa's passion is to play piano, which she only gets to do at the beginning and end of the book. How does she use her skills in the middle of the book?
  3. What do the three clappers—Lev, Mai, and Blaine—have in common?

Chew on This

Being in a state home benefited Risa in one way: It allowed her to discover a passion. Connor, by contrast, is merely known as a troublemaker to his parents.

Lev has the biggest identity crisis of our three protagonists. He has the clearest idea of who he wants to be at the beginning of the book, and he has to experience his whole belief system—and his identity as a result—crumbling, and then try to rebuild it.

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