3.5 out of 5 Robots!
Middle Grade- Fantasy Adventure
Released: August 30, 2011
Hardcover: 400 Pages
My Copy: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon
Book Summary From Goodreads:
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.
The Unwanteds starts out a little like The Hunger Games and ends a little like Harry Potter. The story has a dark premise: creative children are deemed unwanted by Quill society and are sentenced to death each year during the Purge. The children are taken to the Death Farm to face their death, but in actuality are entered into a magical world called Artime. The children are taught to use their creativity and use it to do magic. The entire time, people of Quill are oblivious to Artime's existence. I was worried when some of the portrayals of Artime would be cutesy or too broad, but just when it started to go there, the author reigned it back in.
The Unwanteds is geared towards Middle School readers, but it is not as simplistic as many middle school reads are. It deals with some real, heavy themes- though is not heavy-heartened. At times the moral of the story is made very obvious and the characters' world is very black and white. I think that because it is written for the younger audiences the story is simplified a little.
I don't think the story is super innovative - it definitely borrows from other sources. BUT it is a good read! The book is well written and the story is very interesting. The author has a really nice, clear writing style. The plot seemed to meander a bit at times, but it pulls together for the big climax. I think anyone that would enjoy Harry Potter type books, would enjoy this story. I am looking forward to reading more of Lisa McMann's books.