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The Unwantedsby Lisa Mcmann
Synopses & Reviews
Quill prevails when the strong survive. Using this notion as the core of their society, the people of Quill partake in a yearly ceremony, wherein children at the age of thirteen are divided into three categories--the Wanteds, the Necessaries, and the Unwanteds. Wanted children will move on to schooling and training to join the Quillitary and fufill their roles in maintaining an efficient life for all, while Necessaries will take on farm work and similar duties. Any child who has shown a propensity toward emotion or creativity is deemed Unwanted, and sent for elimination. 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, where every Unwanted child has been welcomed by a man named Mr. Today. Artime is a special place full of art, music, theater, and magic, where 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.
"In her foray into middle-grade fiction, McMann (Cryer's Cross) delivers a fun mix of magic and science with a retro SF novel whose setting echoes classic artificial dystopias of the 1960s like Logan's Run and Make Room! Make Room! In the city of Quill, all signs of creativity are shunned, and any children who so much as sing or draw are declared 'Unwanted' when they turn 13 and sent off to be killed. When Alex is culled from his family and sent to die, he is surprised to discover that the Unwanteds are actually taken to a hidden city called ArtimÃ©, where they are not only trained in the traditional arts, but also in the magic that these arts unlock. McMann juggles a handful of point-of-view characters nicely (focusing largely on Alex), showing their fear and wonder as they learn more about their world. The subplots — including young romance and murderous conspiracies — are skillfully interwoven, and if some of Quill's harshness borders on caricature (the city makes Sparta seem decadent), it serves the story well. Ages 8 — 12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Angels and demons, mystery and magic cast a page-turning spell in this humorous middle grade fantasy debut.
Jonathan Smith thinks hes a regular twelve-year-old living a normal life in England with his parents. His first clue to the contrary is the faceless monsters in suits and bowler hats that crash into his familys cottage. Its not until he wakes up alone in the unfamiliar village of Hobbes End that his true identity is revealed: his mothers a demon, his dads an angel, and his grandfather Gabriel is the villages angel-turned-clockmaker. As Jonathans one-of-a-kind angel-demon powers start to kick in, he wonders if he can prevent the archdemon Belial from taking over Heaven and Hell . . . let alone round up his parents. A swashbuckling fantasy debut!
When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called ArtimÉ. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of ArtimÉ 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 Wake trilogy; Cryer’s Cross; Dead to You; and the middle-grade dystopian fantasy trilogy The Unwanteds. She lives with her family in the Phoenix area. Read more about Lisa and find her blog at LisaMcMann.com. Or better yet, be her friend on Facebook (McMannFan) or follow her on Twitter (@Lisa_McMann).
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