Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unwanteds” as Want to Read:
The Unwanteds
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds #1)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  15,095 Ratings  ·  1,918 Reviews
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, b
ebook, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Aladdin
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Unwanteds, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Zoe I am 10 and on the 4th book. I LOVE THESE BOOKS SOOOOOO MUCH!
Not all adults would love them but I think some would.
Sophia Actually, it's Alex, Simber, and Lani.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

The setting is the future in a place called Quill. Life there is not easy, especially if it is decided that you are an Unwanted. At the age of thirteen, it is determined that each citizen is in one of the following groups - Wanteds, Necessaries, or Unwanteds. The Wanteds are a privileged group given the opportunity for higher education and positions of power in society. The Necessaries are just that; they provide the necessary servi
Sep 11, 2011 Krystle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I'm just really not interested in finishing this book not because there's something heinously wrong or that the writing is crappy but it's because I'm just not vested in the characters, the plot, or even the world building.

The characters of this book are pretty much indistinguishable from one another or are very flat and shallow without much meaningful depth in their so called flaws. The whole themes of creativity versus academic and so on seems heavy handed and almost didactic. The whole brainw
Jul 25, 2014 hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of fantasy, but also lovers of McMann's other novels
May I just say how clever the premise for this book is? Everyone with a single ounce of creativity is Unwanted and "executed," and everyone who's athletic or intelligent stay and are deemed Wanted? That is single-handedly the most clever premise I've read in a long time. That's true fantasy, a whole world spawned from just a single question. McMann doesn't fall flat of what I expected from this wonderful idea. In fact, I didn't even know what this was going to be about until I read the Introduct ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of middle-grade fiction
Recommended to Lora by: Kirkus
". . . Without knowledge that life can be different, there can be no desire to change it."

In the land of Quill, all thirteen-year-olds are sent to the annual Purge where they will be divided into Wanted and Unwanted. For twin brothers Alex and Aaron, this day is especially daunting as they are both now thirteen and reluctant to separate. Or at least Alex is and would like to believe his brother reciprocates this sentiment.
On the day of the Purge Alex is unsurprisingly categorized as Unwanted a
Tiffany Neal
**just finished reading this as a read aloud to my 4th graders, and they absolutely LOVED it!**

I was keeping my fingers crossed for this one. When I first heard Lisa McMann was writing MG, I couldn't be more excited, and the premise was exactly what I'd been looking for in a read aloud for my 4th graders.
I picked up the book yesterday at Barnes and Noble, and was surprised at the length, since her YA books are usually much shorter. I plowed through this book just like I have with all her others
Steph Su
A book being touted as the next Harry Potter certainly has a lot to live up to, and while Lisa McMann’s first middle-grade fantasy THE UNWANTEDS doesn’t quite have the immortal boy with the lightning bolt scar’s charm and uniqueness, it nevertheless will be an enjoyable read for the younger reader.

Reading THE UNWANTEDS felt as if I were carrying out my childhood dreams. When you were little, did you ever daydream of living away from home in a magical mansion where every one of your whimsies was
Jul 23, 2011 A.T. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to say it right away: I hate Lisa McMann's writing style. I hated it in Cryer's Cross, I hated it when I read the sample of Wake, and I hated it when I read The Unwanteds, her debut middle grade. I think it's better in The Unwanteds, but I'm not going to crack open my copy of Cryer's Cross to compare the writing styles.

I was intrigued when I heard about The Unwanteds. Like everybody else, I love The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I thought this book was going to be really, really good
Oct 18, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5

Enter Quill - where art, expression, and creativity are punishable by law. Those that are caught - or reported - in the act of these are given infractions, and marked as Unwanteds.

There is a day, every year, where Unwanteds are expelled from society and sent to be a boiling lake of oil. Alex - who is Unwanted - is expecting to be meeting his death, but instead finds that he is instead sent (or saved) to a place that is a polar opposite of Quill, where creativity - and
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2011 Darkfallen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was my first EVER middle grade book.

Yes yes I AM that girl who has never read Harry Potter. While I watched all the movies I just never had a real desire to read the books, but I'll tell this book just grabbed me. From the title, to the synopsis, to the cover...I just needed to see what was behind the cover. And what I found was amazing!

This book takes you the into a sad, gray, bleak world or Quill. From the first pages you can't help but feel sorry for these people. For these kids wh
Reading Teen
Sep 07, 2011 Reading Teen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few words to describe Lisa McMann's The Unwanteds: whimsical, funny, creative, original, genius.

This is a book you can't help but enjoy. You start it and you can't really stop. To bad for me, cause I conveniently chose a very busy to start this book.

I sit here, writing this review, and can't get the word whimsical out of my head. I feel like it is one to describe The Unwanteds best. I feel like I should be using it a lot more here... For example, I could say that this book was whimsically br
On the cover of this book, it says "the Hunger Games meets Harry Potter" & OK, the plot is a bit like that. In fact, the base plot in this book has potential. Unfortunately,the author never ever meets that potential.

The writing is bland, the characters are flat. There is no emotional engagement with the characters & as such there is no suspense because ultimately, who cares what happens to any of them. Not to mention that there is a complete and utter lack of world building.

Sorry, but m
Oct 06, 2011 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in new places
Recommended to Laurel by: My eyes
“The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter!”
Someone tell me how and I’ll reconsider my being against that

I love fantasy. I love someone telling me in a book that there is a giant tiger-wolf-bird guarding a castle and there are no questions asked. I love it because as illogical and unlikely it would seem, no one gives a crap because, how cool would it be? You’re too busy dreaming about this massive creature, interpreting what animal is more visible in the combination, to think, “What the? Those don’t e
I think what really ruins this book for me is my age. If you want to enjoy The Unwanteds, you'd have to look at it from a middle-grade perspective. And so if you can enjoy reading something without overly analyzing things, if you're not an inherent skeptic, if you can momentarily disregard things like logic and human nature and politics and other such worldly antics, then I have no doubt you will enjoy this book.

The Unwanteds is the story of a group of people, known to their secluded nation-home
Sheri Radford
Has anyone else seen that recent episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa wants to be a writer, and Bart and Homer come up with a scheme to group-write a YA novel by throwing in every element that all YA novels seem to have these days? That's what The Unwanteds felt like to me. It had a dystopian future, some magic, a kindly all-knowing mentor (Dumbledore-esque), not just one but two sets of twins (each complete with one good twin and one evil twin), a war between good and evil, even a hint of a lo ...more
Jan 17, 2014 kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books, 2012
I'm between three or four stars on this one. As I'm not really the intended audience, it could be a four, but for me, it just didn't quite make the cut.
I liked McMann's world-building. She creates both places here with imagery that brings them to life.
The characters are a bit more difficult for me. I didn't feel any real connection to any of them, wasn't moved by their stories. I think for me to really enjoy this I needed to care more and I found lots of their behavior a little bit irritating.
Nov 04, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At age 13, people of Quill are sorted into three categories: Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. The Unwanteds are sent to the Great Lake of Boiling Oil to be killed for being creative. Alex Stowe is twin brother of Aaron Stowe the Wanted. Alex though, is Unwanted. He is announced to be killed along with 19 other Unwanteds, when a magician rescues them, and whisks them off to the magical land of Artime, where creativity and imagination is cherished.
McMann spins a wonderful web of suspense and actio
Nov 15, 2012 Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just a good book, but a great book. This is not a usual book I would read, but I am glad I did. I am ready to pick up book 2! The kicker, I actually got to meet the author, which was a treat and hear a little about where her inspiration and thoughts came from. I think for me, it made the book better. I really did enjoy the entire story, I do think this is a book for an older child, at least third grade. The main character Alex, stole my heart from the beginning. I hate the beginning of the s ...more
I bought The Unwanteds last year after having loved Lisa McMann's other books, Cryer's Cross and Dead To You. The cover was beautiful, the synopsis was interesting and there were even critics raving on how the book was like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games. I figured that with all those credentials, The Unwanteds ought to be a pretty awesome read, but it seems I was horribly, dreadfully wrong.


The omniscient and omnipresent third person narration is awful. That kind of narration has t
Gorgon's Kiss
I kind of snuck this one in under the radar. I read it, but never put it up in my status box. I didn't mean to, I just never got around to updating my status box before I finished it. Anyway, enough about my laziness.

Unwanteds is a YA fantasy/scifi novel set partially in a "3 years from now" future dystopia. The main cast of characters are four 13 year olds, and out of them, the main character is a boy named Alex. They grew up in Quill, a nation that values pure intelligence and physical strengt
Oct 01, 2013 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I cannot explain how good this book was
A dystopian society that squashes creativity, tests aptitude around puberty-age, and executes those who fail? But wait! The main character has failed his aptitude test in only chapter one! What?! How can we possibly move on from he- oh. He's been rescued into a secret other-world where everyone who failed their test because they were too creative or artsy has been living since their supposed execution. What's that? You say the man who is in charge of and created this secret world is super Dumble ...more
Kelsy Flanders
Feb 22, 2014 Kelsy Flanders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AMAZING!!! Perfect mix of being an outcast who can do nothing, to defending a magical place in which all outcasts live. I love the magic in it. And by far my favorite character is Lani.
Rachel Reads Ravenously
Picked this up for my tween grad school project because I am asked for this series all the time at my job at the library. But this turned out like The Lightning Thief for me and meh.

This is just one of those books that ain't for me. I gave it until 200 pages in and I'm DNFing with no rating because I just don't care.

Full review below:
In the land of Quill there is a ceremony when its children turn thirteen; they are placed as Wanted, Necessary and Unwanted. The Wanteds go on to higher level, impo
May 30, 2016 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book. It has combined elements of dystopian and fantasy mixed into it to create a very fun and light read. I did find the story to be a just a little to predictable but nonetheless I had a fun time reading it and am ready to continue on with the series!
Jun 02, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*May include spoilers!*

"The Unwanteds" by Lisa McMann is a fantasy book. It takes place in the land of Quill. Every year, thirteen-year olds are sorted into three groups. The necessaries are those who the land of Quill rely on. The Wanteds are strong, intelligent teens who go to university. The Unwanteds are those who are creative and have infractions and are sent to be eliminated at the death farm. In the land of Quill, no one is allowed to express their feelings and are not allowed to be artis
Mara Terrell
Dec 01, 2015 Mara Terrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book last year and I LOVED IT! It is so creative and fun!
Apr 05, 2016 Semina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is a certain trend I've noticed with YA and middle-grade authors, well not really a trend, but I'm not sure how to call it, but anyway, they tend to write novels with decent plots, but the whole story is filled with plot holes that go nowhere. It feels like the characters stumble across a wall and the author just makes them teleport to the other side of a wall and move on, without telling us why the wall was there in the first place and how did the characters go around it. For example, wh ...more
Silverstorm *Second account*
Totally failure of a review but here we go:

(I read the book like 4 months ago so the review may be forgetting things)

A couple of my friends told me I had to read this series and I was very reluctant about it. I decided to leave it on my TBR list for the time being. When Christmas came around one of the friends who reccomended the Unwanteds series for me bought the first three books and gave them to me for Christmas. I have to admit, they were lying on my bookshelf for a couple of months before
Alex knew he was going to die, and I knew this book would suck. We were both wrong.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself admiring the writing. The beginning sort of sticks out oddly, but we never return. The rest is light fantasy magic, new creatures, nice people, meanish people, and interesting lessons and so forth. I was reminded a bit of Narnia, both in some of the phrasing and in the way the characters relate to one another. Also, there's a sort of glossing over of death, harm, and evil
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookreads :): The Unwanteds (#1) 3 5 Aug 12, 2016 12:45PM  
i love it 1 8 Apr 12, 2016 07:26AM  
Fantasy 1 5 Dec 15, 2015 03:40PM  
  • Barn Boot Blues
  • Missing on Superstition Mountain (Missing on Superstition Mountain, #1)
  • Eye of the Storm
  • Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Familiars (The Familiars, #1)
  • Malcolm at Midnight
  • Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (Peter Nimble, #1)
  • The Menagerie (Menagerie, #1)
  • Floors
  • Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 (Boys of Wartime)
  • In Front of God and Everybody (Confessions of April Grace #1)
  • Bigger than a Bread Box
  • When Life Gives You O.J.
  • Freaky Fast Frankie Joe
  • The Girl from Felony Bay
  • Sparrow Road
  • Masterminds (Masterminds #1)
  • The Fire Chronicle (The Books of Beginning, #2)
Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling THE UNWANTEDS series (Book 5, Unwanteds: ISLAND OF SHIPWRECKS, comes out Feb 3, 2015) and the YA paranormal WAKE trilogy. Other books include the VISIONS trilogy, CRYER'S CROSS, DEAD TO YOU, and Infinity Ring: The Trap Door.

You can find more info at Lisa'a website,, interact with her on Facebook
More about Lisa McMann...

Other Books in the Series

Unwanteds (7 books)
  • Island of Silence (Unwanteds, #2)
  • Island of Fire  (Unwanteds, #3)
  • Island of Legends (Unwanteds, #4)
  • Island of Shipwrecks (Unwanteds #5)
  • Island of Graves (Unwanteds, #6)
  • Island of Dragons (Unwanteds, #7)

Share This Book

“If you believe you can read you can” 23 likes
“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.

Marcus Today”
More quotes…