Who is Sonia in Unwind by Neal Shusterman?

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Sonia is a vital but briefly involved character in the novel Unwind. When the Unwinds, people who have been labelled to be retroactively aborted after living through their teenage years, are trying to escape, Sonia arrives and helps them flee. In addition to being their savior and helping them escape through her basement to a safe haven in Arizona, she gives the children advice and encouragement to help them through their struggles.

She advises Connor and Risa to become pregnant again, because the government will not unwind pregnant people (although they never were pregnant in the first place, Risa was just carrying a baby she assumed was theirs). She also gives them some hope because she has been fighting the system and helping people escape inevitable death for quite some time.

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Sonia is one of the characters in Unwind who provides hope for the future survival of the social misfits. Not only does she help Unwinds escape, but she is also presented as an old woman who has been engaged in this subversive work for some time. She gives him and Rita practical, if slightly off course, advice, as she believes the baby they are carrying is theirs: to get pregnant again, as the authorities will not unwind pregnant women. She is a tough-talking, but tender-hearted survivor, who risks her life to help younger people escape as part of the network with Hannah, the teacher.

Sonia is generally associated with the positive values that the society formerly had in that she operates an antiques shop, which seems to Connor to have things from all phases of American history. She also harks back to a specific time in US history, prohibition, as the secret hideaway in the basement of her shop had been used to hide illegal liquor. Now she keeps it stocked with food and supplies for the escapees who hide there while waiting for transport in the ice cream truck.

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In the novel Unwind, which takes places in a dystopian, post Second Civil War America, we learn that recent legislation has just been passed that allows parents to "retroactively 'abort' a child" between the ages of 13 and 18 for seemingly minor infractions. The name of the legislation responsible for this law is the Bill of Life. Although this seems an odd moniker, given the nature of this new and brutal law, we learn that this same bill has also simultaneously just outlawed abortion. Sonia is the owner of an antique store who also runs a sort of safe house for "unwinds." The three runaway teens we meet at the beginning of the story (Connor, Risa, and Lev) first encounter Sonia at her home, the safe house. Sonia allows them to stay in her cellar for a week until she can secure transportation to the next safe house for unwinds.

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In the book Unwind, Sonia is a fairly minor character.  She is important for sure, but she gets very little page time.  Her background is explored in much greater detail in the sequel book UnWholly.   

In Unwind, Sonia operates an underground railroad of sorts.  Instead of secretly spiriting away slaves, Sonia helps runaway Unwinds make their way to the Graveyard.  She does this by housing the Unwinds in her basement and arranging safe transport to Arizona.  While staying in her basement, Sonia requires each Unwind to write a letter to a loved one.  She keeps the letter until the Unwind turns 18.  At that point, the child is no longer in danger of being unwound.  The child can then return for the letter and personally mail it out or destroy it.   If the child is unwound or does not return for the letter, Sonia mails it out herself.  Connor and Risa both benefit from her work and her protection in the book Unwind. Unfortunately, so does Roland.   

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