11 September 2011

Review: The Unwanteds By: Lisa McMann

Title: The Unwanteds
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Aladdin, 390 Pages (August 30th 2011)
From: the Publisher & Amazon Vine, Thank You!

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 3 Stars - The Unwanteds by author Lisa McMann is a middle grade book about a society who fears creativity in any way, shape or form. With a controlling government, a drab society and a hidden colorful and magical place where anything is possible, McMann has taken the idea of cutting out all creative programs to new heights.

When the Purge comes, the Unwanteds are cast out and sent to their death. The Wanteds remain behind to learn, follow rules and never step out of line. Alex and his twin Aaron will both face a different fate. One Wanted and one Unwanted.

The story takes place in drab, colorless and more than harsh Quill. Alex and his brother knew the day was coming when they would be separated. Alex, the Unwanted of the two is purged from society and taken away from everything he knows, while Aaron, the Wanted brother stays behind to go to school and learn ways to better Quill and the controlling people in charge. Quill doesn’t sound like a place I’d want to live; I can’t imagine anyone wanting to stay there for long. Barbed wire covering the sky, shared buckets of water for washing… yeah, not fun, no art or being creative in anyway... yeah, no thanks!

So, Alex, on his way to his death gets a shock when he, along with all other Unwanteds from his purge are saved and taken to a colorful, artistic and magical place called Artime. The best part of the story was watching the characters change as they learned that expressing yourself through art isn’t a bad thing and it should be encouraged instead of taken away. Taking a persons creativity away takes away too much of who they are, what they are and what they will become.

The whole idea for the story was great… being punished, taken away and killed because of being creative in any way; I couldn’t wait to read where McMann would take the idea. And yeah, she did run with it. However, I felt it was a tad flat. I didn’t connect with the characters at all. I tried throughout the whole story to find something to grasp onto, but... just couldn’t. And no, I’m not saying this is a bad book in any way, it was a great idea and a pretty entertaining story.

This is my first time reading anything by McMann, and I know it won’t be my last. I have heard nothing but amazing things about her YA series. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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  1. I really like the idea of this book. Thank you for the review. Its a shame I'm on a book buying ban

  2. I thought that McMann was way to obvious with the differences between Quill and Artime - like she felt she had to lead her readers step by step through the story. But she had a really creative idea and it was a fun read. I think that younger readers would be a bit more forgiving and it's a great intro to the dystopian genre. We've ordered it for the elementary library, I think my older kids will enjoy it.


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In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I have not received any monetary gain for any information posted within the pages of this website/blog. Any and all information has been provided by the publisher, author and or publicist for free. Content is also based on purchases made by myself or of my guest reviewer(s). Any and all opinions expressed within the pages of this website/blog are solely my own or those of the authors of any and all guest reviewers(s) or guest bloggers.

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Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

I enjoy reading and reviewing a variety of different books within the Young Adult, "New Adult" & Adult genres/categories. If you have any questions or if you are an author or publisher and would be interested in promoting a book, please feel free email. You can find my email under the "mail" button or under the contact link at the top of the page.

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When I review I rate from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being the highest rating. I review based on many different things from the writing, to the story - to the characters and how I can relate to them or how they are developed. I also review based on if an author has worked their magic and was able to draw me into a story so deeply that I don't want to put the book down. If you would like me to review a book, please contact me or view my Contact Information and Review Policy for further details.

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