The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

UnwantedsOnce a year the people of Quill gather together for the purge where it is announced whether each 13 year old is Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. The Wanteds are groomed to become the future leaders of Quill. The Necessaries are trained in a trade like food preparation or elder care. The Unwanteds are disposed of, and the people of Quill are instructed never to think of them again. On the day of the purge during Alex’s 13th year of life, no one is surprised when his name is not among those deemed Unwanted. Alex has had numerous infractions over the course of his short life; he has known his fate since he was ten. It is a surprise, however, to hear that his identical twin brother Aaron has been chosen as a Wanted. As Aaron prepares for his new life at Wanted University where he will study to become one of the powerful members of the society of Quill, Alex is transported with the other Unwanteds to be disposed of in the lake of boiling oil, or so he believes. In reality, the Unwanteds are taken to the land of Artimѐ where they will be taught to harness their creative gifts and turn them into magic in preparation for a future battle with the army of Quill.

Alex, suddenly thrown into a world where self expression is encouraged and emotions are no longer forbidden as they are in Quill, finds himself missing his brother Aaron terribly. While Aaron, who is on the fast track to a very powerful career at the right hand of the High Priest of Quill, has all but put Alex completely out of his mind. However, both Alex and Aaron struggle with dreams of each other. Alex works diligently to find a way to bring Aaron to Artimѐ, while Aaron fights to stop his forbidden dreams altogether. Will the bond between the twins prove to be stronger than Aaron’s thirst for power? Or are the brothers really not so different from one another? It will take a battle unlike any that Quill has ever seen to uncover the answers to these and other questions.

The Unwanteds is a fast-paced, exciting, and whimsically dystopian journey filled with a variety of delightful characters both human and mythical. Narrator Simon Jones does a wonderful job bringing each of these characters to life in the delightful audiobook edition. Simba, the giant winged cheetah statue, is particularly well done with his deep gravelly tenor effectively conveying the beast’s size and power. Jones’ timing is excellent and fits the pace of the story well. Young fans of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will enjoy the magic and adventure that this story has to offer. This would make for great listening on a summer road trip for a family with children in grades 4 through 8.

Posted by: Staci

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