Friday, January 1, 2016

The Unwanteds

Book 91 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from December 17 - 20

The Unwanted by Lisa McMann
Book 1 in the Unwanted series

Summary (via the book jacket)
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 graves.
On the day of the Purge, identical twins Alex and Aaron Stowe await their fate. While Aaron is hopeful of becoming a wanted, Alex knows his chances are slim. He's been caught drawing with a stick in the dirt - and in the stark gray land of Quill, being creative is a death sentence.
But when Alex and the Unwanteds face the Eliminators, they discover an eccentric magician named Mr. Today and his hidden world that exists to save the condemned children. Artime is a colorful place of talking statues, uncommon creatures, and artistic magic, where creativity is considered a gift...and a weapon.

My Opinion
My daughter loves this series.  She recommended it to me as soon as she finished the first one, and it's always among the first she mentions when asked the inevitable, "You're a reader, what should my kids read?"  Which she loves being asked by the way, unlike me - giving recommendations gives me sweaty anxiety!  Anyway, back to the book...

I absolutely loved it.  This could be a movie with an Oz like shift to color when the Unwanteds meet Mr. Today for the first time. 

The author did a great job of keeping it at a J level but also making it intriguing for adults.  Something else that was unusual and kid-friendly - there was enough action at the end that this could stand alone satisfactorily if they didn't love it or want to continue the series.  

Definitely recommended for someone looking for a read with their kids but be forewarned...I read it myself and this is one that I would've wanted to read ahead if I had been reading to the kids and they had to go to bed.

I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"There were nearly fifty thirteen-year-olds this year. The people of Quill waited to hear which of these teenagers had been marked as Wanted or Necessary, and, by process of elimination, which of them remained to be Purged."

"And no one knows any different, my boy - without knowledge that life can be different, there can be no desire to change it."

"I'd rather die fighting to keep us free to do as we wish, fighting to be free to come and go as we please, fighting so we no longer need to hide. Fighting the fear that all of you were programmed since birth to have. Fighting against Quill's bigotry, which says brains and brawn are better, or more important, than creativity." 

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