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The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)
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The Unwanteds (Unwanteds #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  8,569 ratings  ·  1,261 reviews
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 elim
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Aladdin
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Feb 10, 2012 Lora rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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 an
Oct 06, 2011 Laurel rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
When I watched the final scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this month, a small piece of me died. Perhaps a larger piece than I’d care to admit. It was bad enough when I finished the print series, but, then, I had the movies to fall back on. The story wasn’t over, the most exciting parts were still waiting to be told.

I sometimes get funny reactions to my love of the Harry Potter series. Perhaps it’s because I’m a grown man, and, what’s worse, a self-proclaimed, vehement disliker of f
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
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
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers:


First Impressions:

Thea: When I first laid eyes on The Unwanteds and read the novel's intriguing summary, I was hooked and knew it was one of my MUST GET OR DIE! titles at BEA this year. As a long-time lover of both dystopias and fantasy, the blend of these two seemingly incongruous components always wins me over. I'm a little chagrined to say, however, that while The Unwanteds is an undeniably fun book fea
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
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.
Hayden Casey
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
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
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
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
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
Kelsy Flanders
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.
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
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Steven Fullmer
This book was a disappointment to me. The writing alternated between "lollipops and rainbows" where there was little drama, shallow character development, and too-good-to-be-true escapes from perils; to "kill your way to the top" sibling rivalry, abrupt plot twists, and little to no family loyalty or regard.

At first, the book felt like it would jump into a Hunger Games-esque fight for survival against an evil totalitarian government, but then the reader is transported to a Dora the Explorer "eve
Reading Teen (Andye)
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
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
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
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
Jessica at Book Sake
This book has been touted as Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games, which I can understand to an extent. It does have the use of magic and the lead boy and it is a dystopian society that sends the Unwanteds off to their death. It isn’t as dark as either of those two series though. Yes, while there is a big battle and you are thinking about this dystopian world, how is it not dark? Artime is a pretty chipper place despite knowing a battle is coming. Some families are reunited and the kids are learn ...more
Dec 07, 2011 David rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
Formulaic plot, two-dimensional characters, clumsy writing. I toughed this one out to the bitter end, as it was one of the titles my table is reviewing for a Newbery discussion, and I am utterly mystified as to how anyone could imagine this book worthy of consideration for the award. Anyone catch the recent "Simpsons" episode where Lisa assembles a team of grifters to write a successful children's book? They recycle a bunch of market-tested plot elements,come up with "Troll Academy," Neil Gaiman ...more
Tracy Fleming-Swehla
I really enjoyed reading this book and talking about it with my 10 yr old son. He was really happy to get me to read this story, and now I'll move onto book 2. Pretty good story for young kids.
Jacob Hoenig
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann 390 Pages
Report by Jacob Hoenig D Period Mrs. Fields

Quill is a place where people who are creative, like the protagonist of the story Alex Stowe, are sent to their executions at the Death Farm. Alex was caught with multiple infractions, and will be an Unwanted no matter what, but his identical twin Aaron has a clean record and is given the Wanted status. When the next batch of Unwanteds reach the Great Lake of Boiling Oil where they will be killed by t
You don't see a lot of allegory these days, but this is a good one, worthy of John Bunyan. Instead of piety wandering in a sinful world, it is creativity struggling in a repressive, unimaginative world. I'm not sure how modern adolescents will react when they read this - it is very different from the regular juvenile and teen fare, but I hope they do try it. And it was worthwhile for me to relive this type of writing. I personally am not a big fan of allegory, but was reminded of it's power to c ...more
Good book. I would have given it a 3.5 if I could have. I am really looking forward to the sequels which I presume are going to be set on the other islands in very different types of societies. I liked the different types of magic, although the "rules" for them are not very well defined. The book is a great little junior fiction that feels large in your hand and will give kids the satisfaction of reading a "big book" while the text is very easy to read and widely spaced. I'd recommend this to fa ...more
I read it a little while ago, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It was a fun and daring story about a group of teens who were persecuted by their almost dystopian (though not quite because dystopia occurs after an almost apocalypse and none are mentioned) world for their creativity, so they were cast out to be executed. Something else happens at the execution, but if you want to know you should read it for yourself. It's a good quick read that I would recommend to people of the creative type, or an ...more
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What did you think? 27 50 Dec 03, 2014 11:45AM  
Pronunciation of "Artimé" 4 31 Aug 20, 2014 01:39PM  
Fangirls and Fanboys: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann ---> Starting March 26th 5 14 Mar 29, 2014 08:10PM  
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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...
Wake (Dream Catcher, #1) Fade (Dream Catcher, #2) Gone (Dream Catcher, #3) Cryer's Cross Dead to You

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