Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
by Lisa McMann

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 occurence 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. (description from

This was a fantastically fun middle grade adventure book. The cover says "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter"...and I was skeptical at first. So many things get compared to both of those series now, that that type of comparison is almost meaningless...unless the book really pulls through. Happily this one did!!

I was so intrigued and awed with the imagination in this book. Artime was an amazing place that I would LOVE to visit. The kids that inhabit it, the Unwanteds, were so complex and varied. Though they are all artistic, they view life differently, they view others differently...they were each their own fabulous individuals. Aside from their own distinct personalities, they each had their own magical skill sets.

The amazing magic of Artime. Never would I have thought that paper clips could be weapons. That clay could contain. That paintings could become magical doorways. Well, I did...but McMann does it sooooo well. The magic used to protect Artime is awesome.

This is a magical dystopia of the highest order. I CANNOT wait to read the next book in the series.

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