Title: The Unwanteds
Author: Lisa McMann
Location: J McMann L.
The Kirkus Reviews blurb on the cover of The Unwanteds is,” The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.” I would say it’s mostly Harry Potter as the leader of the country creates a dystopian world, but outside of their country the rest of the world is still functioning the same as always. In Quill thirteen year olds attend the annual Purge where the high priest Justine classifies them as wanteds, who attend university, necessaries who become the laborers, or unwanteds, who are shackled and put on a waiting bus for the ride to their deaths. The unwanteds are shocked when upon reaching the Death Farm and being turned over to the eliminators the entire area changes. They are welcomed to Artime by Mr. Today, an amazing wizard, who tells them they were unwanted because they are creative and imaginative which someone reported to the government when they displayed it. The government finds creative thinkers to be a weakness. In Artime the unwanteds have a chance to nurture and develop their creative skills as they also learn to fight with magic. They all know if they are ever discovered Quill will do it’s best to kill them so they can never contact their families. But what if you had a twin who made it through the Purge and was still in Quill? What would you do?
I thought The Unwanteds was a thoroughly imaginative story with characters that grew as the story progressed. I couldn’t help but feel for the teens as they tried to get past the betrayals that brought them to Artime and those that occur later. The family relationships will make you wince and silently cheer. Mr. Today was superb. He is the kind of teacher and leader we would all like to have in our lives. The magic is amazing.
Bottom Line: The Unwanteds has more magic than you can wave a wand at. You may wish you could perform some of the fantastic imaginative spells. Mr. Today is perfect as the wizard who gently leads the thirteen year olds on their journey of learning their creative crafts and reconciling their feelings for the families who let them go so easily. Join the world of Artime with the teens who thought they were going to their death and instead found a creative paradise. The Unwanteds will keep you enchanted.