The Unwanteds (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Reviewed by Antonia P-W:

    A gate is the only thing that stands in between the colorless, dreary land of Quill where creativity is banned, and the colorful land of Artim/e where creativity is a magic art.  Alexander Stowe is an Unwanted, cast out when found drawing in the dirt with a stick.  He is cast out and believed dead when he finds Artim/e.  He meets a colorful paradise and finds new friends, talking statues, and a friendly new mage.  There he tries to find his destiny while his brother is chosen for college in Quill and stays hungry for power.
    I liked this book because I could really connect with the main character, Alex, because sometimes you feel as if you have not discovered yourself yet.  Other people could also connect with Alex if they feel like they have not discovered their strengths yet.  Lisa McMann creates realistic characters, such as fiery Meghan with a brave spirit, Samheed who is quick to anger but a good friend, and Lani who is small and young but creative and a quick thinker.  It is a book that really makes people think of magic, and wonder if they have a secret gift hidden away inside of them waiting to be discovered.  People will wonder what will happen next and what will happen to Alex and his new friends, which makes The Unwanteds a page turner.  Readers will also be able to connect to Alex if they have ever faced trouble with their siblings. The Unwanteds is a book that is compelling and beckons to each reader. I would recommend this book to kids ten and up. People will love this magical masterpiece that Lisa Mcmann has created.

Reviewed by Raven D:

    In the land of Quill everyone is sorted into three categories when they’re thirteen - wanteds, necessaries, and unwanteds. The wanteds go to Wanted Univesity, the necessaries work in Quill, and the unwanteds are supposed to be killed for being creative. The main characters are unwanteds.  They are Alex who loves to do art, Lani who loves to write, Samheed who likes to act, and Meghan who likes to play musical instruments. The executioner, Mr. Today, shows them the hidden land of Artim/e where creativity is a good thing and where you will not get killed.
    The book is good for people that like adventure and fantasy. The age recommendation is about tweens and up, or if you are read to by someone. The theme is it's okay to be creative. Some connections I made with the book are: I don't have to be the same and that I have control over my own life and to be different is a good thing. Lisa McMann really brings the book to life in this wonderful book series. The Unwanteds launches a whole seven book series that helps you understand the characters and their challenges even more.

— From Palouse Prairie Student Book Reviews


A riveting middlegrade dystopian novel from New York Times bestselling Wake author Lisa McMann that Kirkus Reviews calls “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.”

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.

About the Author

Lisa McMann is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade dystopian fantasy series The Unwanteds, the YA paranormal Wake trilogy, and several other books for kids and teens. She lives with her family in the Phoenix area. Check out Lisa's website at, learn more about The Unwanteds Series at, and be sure to say hi on Instagram or Twitter (@Lisa_McMann), or Facebook (

Product Details
ISBN: 9781442407695
ISBN-10: 1442407697
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 416
Language: English
Series: The Unwanteds