Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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."- summary from Amazon

I have loved McMann's creepy teen books and was excited to read this more light-hearted (compared to the Wake trilogy and Cryer's Cross) middle-grade fantasy. It didn't let me down. I was really pulled into this story from the first page and I really enjoyed all the world-building that Lisa did for both Quill and Artime. It was just fascinating. The third-person perspective also really helped because McMann was able to go around to different characters and give the reader a really good look at each character. Most of the book though is focused on Alex though as he navigates this new world for Unwanteds. He's a wonderful main character that younger male readers will definitely identify with.

The climax of the book was really interesting (with some twists and turns) and the battle was extremely page-turning. McMann really knew what she was doing. It was great to see this different side to her writing and I do hope she does it more. I'd really like to see more adventures in this world!

FTC: Received ARC at BEA (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. nice, thorough review! I've been waiting for this book and can not wait to read it. sounds terrific!


  2. Oh my God. I need this book. Great review :)