Book Review: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

RATING: StarStarStarStar

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.



The Unwanteds turned on the FUN in full blast! It’s more of a fantasy adventure with a touch of dystopia but an enjoyable read, nonetheless. This is my first Lisa McMann book and by the looks of it, i’ll be reading another one of her works, probably Cryer’s Cross.

Once in Artime, Alex could still not forget his twin brother, Aaron, who is a Wanted. His delay in magical training only made his misery worse. In trying to ‘save’ Aaron from the evil clutches of High Priest Justine and the rest of Quill, Alex brought about the threat in survival for all the Unwanteds.

I really like Alex. He felt real for me – his loneliness over the separation from his twin, his anxiety to remove himself from his friends’ company, his adamance over Aaron not being evil. What i don’t understand is why he thought Aaron needed saving from Quill. He never heard a complaint from Aaron over his current state so i’m puzzled why he thinks he need to save Aaron. i hate Lani… at first. but she’s pretty cool in the end. Samheed is shady most of the time, untrustworthy – i don’t like him. Meghan is so-so; she didn’t stand out for me. Aaron is a masterpiece. He’s so ambitious! Can a thirteen-year-old be as cold-hearted as Aaron? He doesn’t care about anyone; not even his parents, not even Alex! I tell you, he got off easily in the end. I love Mr. Today (admirable), Clive (notorious), and most of all, Simber (endearing, funny, and bad-ass)!

I had reservations at first whether McMann will deliver (i thought the story took a while to develop), but The Unwanteds is a pretty good read. Is it like Hunger Games? not really, but there are scenes where father is pitted against son/daughter and there was no hesitation to kill on both sides. Is it like Harry Potter? maybe. There are scenes where you can paint yourself invisible or sing a tune to make your enemies crazy with grief. Whatever the similarities, The Unwanteds will stand on its own. The moral values are distinct: a loving father’s sacrifice for his daughter; a brother’s decision to correct his past mistakes he and his sibling made; a person’s creativity that will unleash and create magic to heal the fear he/she was born to.

The Unwanteds captured my penchant for adventure and magic. It was a quick read for me, and that added to my delight because i want a magic rush here and now.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Imprint: Aladdin

Pub Date: 08/30/2011

Thank you Simon & Schuster Galley Grab for the free e-copy.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”


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