Author: Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Order
Preceded by
Followed by
UnStrung (story order)
Unwind (chronological)

UnClean is the fourth installment in the UnBound series of novellas.


This story takes place after the Heartland War, but before unwinding was deemed illegal. It deals with Heath Calderon's plan to end unwinding.

When Heath was younger, his liver failed and his family sold his brother to black market unwinders in order to buy a new one for Heath. Heath resented him for it and ran away, vowing to come up with a way to end the evils that took his brother.

Teenagers with fatal diseases, such as cancer, can not be unwound as whoever received their parts would be subjected to the disease as well. Heath finds a way to hide these diseases and plans to send these teenagers back to be unwound as tithes. He predicts this will bring enough chaos that unwinding will be ended once and for all.

Anissa Pruitt is an AWOL who helped Heath decide where he could start his plan, not knowing his evil intentions. Anissa had told Heath to conduct his research in an old fire station in an abandoned town, abandoned because of the raging fire that had burned underneath it in the town mines for long enough for it to become a safety hazard. She chose this place because her dad was a firefighter, before he died because he was unwilling to amputate one of his limbs to survive, knowing that to replace it he would have to use an unwind part.

Heath tells Anissa of his plans and she feels betrayed, as she thought Heath was a good person. Heath locks her up and sets out to send his first batch of disease ridden unwinds to harvest camps. Moments after he sends them off, a clapper arrives and detonates the fire station.

The explosion has unforeseen consequences; it opens up the mines and burns everything in sight. The van with Heath's unwinds crashes, and one of them, Jobe, gets out, vowing to do something useful with his few minutes of life he has left. He hears cries for help, and goes to check out what the problem is. He soon finds Anissa is still trapped in her cell, and uses his last dying breaths to save her.

Now safe, Anissa frantically puts on a fire proof suit, just in time before the ground collapses and she finds herself in the burning mine, and she is not alone. Someone is chasing her.

After a painful journey through the mines, barely escaping her follower, she eventually makes it to safety. Right behind her, she sees her chaser tumble out of the mines, critically injured. She has a choice: she can leave safely and leave him to die, or she can risk her life and call for help. She thinks of what her father would do and realizes the choice is obvious.


  • Jobe Andrew Marin
  • Heath Calderon
  • Sebastian
  • Anissa Pruitt
  • Brent Lynch
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