Publish Date: August 30, 2011
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 the 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 was an absolutely fantastic read. It’s very, very rare that I want to flip back to the beginning of a book after finishing and start all over again, but that’s exactly how I felt with this one.
I loved the stark contrast of the dull, gray world of Quill compared to the vibrant, wonderful world of Artime. Honestly, I felt a little like one of the Unwanteds when I was first introduced to Artime. It was such a shock from the lifeless world of Quill. But, like the Unwanteds, I grew to love it. It was an amazingly beautiful and happy world that I started finding myself desperately wanting to live there as well!
All the characters are fantastic. Alex was especially amazing. He grew so much from the innocent little 13-year-old throughout the course of the story and he had some majorly tough life lessons to learn. I really respected the way he dealt with all the difficult things that were thrown at him.
All the other side characters were fantastic as well. Not only did they each have their own personalities, but they all had noticeable growth as well which I think is something you very rarely see.
I especially loved all the fantastical characters like Mrs. Octavia and Simber.
McMann does some seriously awesome world-building in The Unwanteds. Not only did she create to completely different worlds each with their own fantastical elements, but she also weaved multiple side-stories into the mix. Though I predicted a few of the outcomes, I was blindsided by many more.
The Nutshell: I was enthralled the entire time I was reading The Unwanteds. This is definitely one book you’re not going to want to miss. This book has everything from magic to squirrelicorns to mystery to a suppressed society. If even one small thing about this book intrigues you, pick it up. I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Series: Unwanteds #1
Rating: Direct Hit