When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. 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 divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artim that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.
I read The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann back in February. Like I said in a previous review, I haven't really been up for typing up reviews, but I'm on a roll today so I figured I'd get this one in as well.
Now, I am a Girl Scout leader for a troop of Juniors and we did a Reading badge that month. One of the requirements for the badge was to bring in one of your favorite books and explain what you enjoyed about it. One of my scouts brought this in. It sounded like a fun read so she offered it to me for a week and away we went.
This particular story is kind of like a cross between the Hunger Games and Harry Potter and Divergent and The Giver... loosely, but that's all I can think of to compare it to. I loved reading it. It's one of those stories that sounds like it has every amazing thing you could have ever thought up as a child thrown in to it.
It doesn't start off well, but by that I mean there's a group of 13 year olds that have been deemed Unwanted by their society and they're being shipped off to what they believe is a death farm for elimination. To be labeled Unwanted, all you have to be is creative. The society that Alex lives in doesn't want people who sing or draw or dance. They want people who are easily manipulated... who can be turned in to soldiers for their "Quillitary". Anyone not completely void of emotion and ambition is simply seen as insufficient and is sent away.
I loved that each "unwanted" child finds strength in the things that they love doing the most. That their talent lies chiefly in the very thing that made them unacceptable to "society". It shows kids that just because they're different doesn't mean they're less. That they can be celebrated for doing the things that they're wonderful at doing. It shows that even if it doesn't feel like it, there are people who will appreciate them for things that other people might not, and that they should have the confidence to be who they are.
The Unwanteds was a fantastic read. And since it was a Middle Grade novel it was an easy one that I'd recommend for absolutely anyone. Children and adults alike.