Oklahoma Teen Book Con with Neal Shusterman!

Calling all Oklahoma readers and fans of YA lit! You need to be at this conference on November 16th at OU! Here’s a link to the event.


If you are unfamiliar with Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series, probably his most acclaimed series, or the Sythe series, of which the 3rd book will be released in November, or any of his other numerous books, you are missing out! I’m just now reading Scythe, and so far I’m loving it, but I’ve been a huge fan of the whole Unwind series and his writing style for a long time. Check out my reviews of Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. Apparently, I never got around to reviewing Book 4, but I remember it was just as awesome, lol.

As an author myself, he’s kind of my author hero. In other words, if there was anyone I would want to aspire to be as a writer, it would be Neal Shusterman.


As a reader, I LOVE the complexity and thought-provoking nature of his stories. They push the boundaries of what we think and feel and know about our world and society. They make us question ourselves and how our world works. And all of his books are one hell of a ride! I appreciate not just being fed a fun story, but being carefully served a story with meat – stories that say something.

As a writer, I greatly RESPECT how he can create so many unique characters with unique voices. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many characters, even minor ones, in one book with their own distinct voices. He has a way with narration and diction that truly makes his characters come to life. So much so that my only criticism of the Unwind series was that in the last few books, some of the chapters spent time in the antagonists’ heads as they were the narrator. I have to say that Shusterman did such a good job making those characters realistic that I seriously wanted to get out of their heads and on to the next chapter where someone else not so evil would be narrating. Lol.

As a creative writing teacher, I APPRECIATE being able to use so much of his writing as examples in my class because of how skilled of a wordsmith he is. We read and annotate passages as examples of what they need to be doing in their own writing. I use some great short sections for my 1st person narrative unit (I tweaked the pronouns to be in 1st person) because of how great he is with showing tone, and I use an awesome dialogue scene for our dialogue unit because of how great he is at showing tone and action in creative tags, as well as some killer dialogue!

Lastly, putting all of those things together, I am in AWE of how poignant his writing is. His thought-provoking themes, his unique character voices, and his word-crafting abilities all come together to create some of the most poignant statements and passages you will ever find in YA lit. Here are some of my favorites:


“Unwinds didn’t go out with a bang-they didn’t even go out with a whimper. they went out with the silence of a candle flame pinched between two fingers.”

“That’s what law is: educated guesses at right and wrong.”

“Hope can be bruised and battered. It can be forced underground and even rendered unconscious, but hope cannot be killed.”

“How do you judge the brightness of a light when you’re the source? A spotlight can never see the shadows it casts.”

“One cannot let the events of one’s past murder one’s future.”

“…facts never prevent the ignorant from jerking their knees into the groin of science.”

“A pedestal is the most insidious prison ever devised.”

“…survival is a dance between our needs and our consciences.”

“I hate you!” he yells back at them. “I never meant it when I said it before, but now I do.”
Connor can tell it cuts deeply into these parents, but not as deeply as the scalpels of a Chop Shop.



~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on September 30, 2019.

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