Thursday, July 21, 2011


A great big thank you to author Lisa McMann's publisher for providing me with this ARC.  THE UNWANTEDS is due out August 30, and you won't want to miss it!

The setting is the future in a place called Quill.  Life there is not easy, especially if it is decided that you are an Unwanted.  At the age of thirteen it is determined that each citizen is in one of the following groups - Wanteds, Necessaries, or Unwanteds.  The Wanteds are a privileged group given the opportunity for higher education and positions of power in society.  The Necessaries are just that; they provide the necessary services required in daily life.  The Unwanteds are sent to the Death Farm and exterminated. 

Alex and Aaron are identical twins turning thirteen.  They already know their fates.  Aaron will stay in Quill and become part of the Quillitary and most likely move up the ranks to become a powerful leader.  As a young boy, Alex showed creative tendencies when he was caught drawing in the dirt with a chicken bone.  Creativity is not valued in Quill which means all those with artistic talents are classified as Unwanteds.

The departure of the Unwanteds creates barely a ripple in the lives of those left behind in Quill.  Alex's parents and brother almost seem annoyed during the brief farewell required when Alex leaves for the Death Farm.  He joins the others headed toward their uncertain end with only a hope that death will come quickly and painlessly. 

Alex and the others soon find that there is nothing to fear.  Upon their arrival, they are welcomed by a mysterious magician named Mr. Today and countless other magical creatures.  The world they have entered is called Artime, and it is filled with color and beauty beyond their wildest dreams.  It is immediately obvious that life in Artime is all about living and enjoying the creative pursuits they were denied in Quill.

After a brief introduction and orientation about the rules and requirements of Artime, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds begin to explore this amazing world.  In addition to learning about art, music, and theater, they develop their own magical talents.  They are free to roam and appreciate all Artime has to offer, but as Alex settles in he learns there is a definite separation between Quill and Artime.  No one in Quill must know about the Unwanteds who escaped extermination.  Contact with family and friends would threaten this wonderful world's very survival.

Author Lisa McMann takes readers on an adventure very different than in her previous novels.  Her creation of these two extremely different worlds creates a sharp contrast that had this reader captivated.  The underdog status of the Unwanteds pulled me into the story and had me cheering for them right up through the last page.  If you are a fan of Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, or just enjoy fast-paced adventure, you will want to get your hands on this one.

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