The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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The Unwanteds

By: Lisa McMann

Published by: Aladdin
Released On: 2011-08-30

ISBN: 1442407689
Pages: 400
Genre: MiddleGrade Fantasy Adventure

Author’s Website:
Author’s Social: Twitter | Facebook

Format of Review Copy: audio book
Source: ARC
Recommendable for people who enjoy: Fantasy and action novels with children and young teens.

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret–behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime. In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

My Thoughts:

The Unwanteds is a story about a boy who is sent to his death at the age of 13. Harsh, right?

I thought the world building was fantastic. We get an in depth look into not only the world but also the society that inhabits it. In this world the “royalty” have final say over everything . In order to maintain this control – those who show any amount of “free thought” are put to death. The world is dark and grim and here, children are sorted into “groups” and the Unwanteds are eliminated. Our main character is Alex, and on his sorting day he is put into the UNWANTED group because he is artistic. The story explodes when his elimination turns out to be anything but!

As much as I enjoyed the world of Quill and then Artime, I loved the characters even more. Our main character is 13 year old Alex, a little boy, lost – so to speak, who in the end finds not only himself but a new sense of family. I wish I had a hard copy of this book to reference certain characters or points in the story, but my copy was an audio book, so I’ll just have to say – I loved the characters, all of them. Mr. Today was very well developed and was the perfect “father figure”, for the story. I became greatly attached to all of the side characters, as well. Being as I listened to this on audio, I absolutely LOVED the character “voices” the narrator added to the story.

This story teaches that individuality is something that should be cherished and not condemned. That there is a “magic” in everyone, and EVERYONE is special.

In Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this story! {GOODREADS UPDATES} I listened to the audio book version. The narrator was great and his enthusiasm for the story helped draw me, the reader/listener, in. Can’t wait to start Island of Silence (Unwanteds) by Lisa McMann, which is book two in the series and hope to add them both to my bookshelves in hardback soon.

Mom Notes:

Great action adventure for middle grade readers. Younger readers might be frightened and/or confused by this society killing its “Unwanteds”. Further explanations on death may be needed. I think this book would be a good conversation starter on death.



This book is rated:
Interest Level: MG
ATOS Book Level (reading skill level): 5.7
AR Pts: 11.0

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