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

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  7,765 ratings  ·  1,174 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...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Aladdin
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120th out of 1,276 books — 6,791 voters
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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Reading Teen
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...more
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...more
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...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.
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 have always enjoyed reading books about fantasy and kids particularly because it takes me to different places, which are usually more fun than the real world and because my childhood kinda sucked a lot so I enjoy reading about what I missed. Particularly in the friendship aspect. So when I saw this book, something in me told me to get it to read. I actually didn't get the book though, lol, I made a business deal with someone and this book was part of my payment. :D I have to say though I got t...more
Heidi (yabibliophile)
I absolutely adored Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy but it can be a bit mature for some of my middle schoolers. I was so pleased to find out the she had a middle grade series in the works! I just knew it would be a hit with my students and I was so right! They have nothing but good things to say about it. I even had a student come in and ask for it before we had it! I never have students asking for books before I book talk them! Last week I got about two sentences in to describing it to one of my rel...more
Jessi (Reading in the Corner)
When Kirkus Reviews calls this "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter," how can you NOT want to pick it up and read it. Now, while I can see the comparison and appreciate the crowd it may draw, The Unwanteds stands on its own two feet. Yes--it's a dystopia where young children are cast out to their death (but not really). Yes--there is magic and their use it to fight. So I see the comparison--I really do. However, The Unwanteds is truly a gem of a book that will make a fabulous read for people of...more
*3.5 stars*

(Note: My previous rating had been 4.25, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt maybe I'd over-rated it. Get it? Ha. But, yeah, you know what I mean.)

So, here’s the thing. Before reading this book, I was going through a very tough period of PotterNostalgia. I couldn’t believe the last movie was about to release and it was all coming to an end. If I hadn’t had such a huge-freaking-mungus pile o’ books weighing down on me, I’d have started reading all the HP books at once and...more
Sarah BT
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian

Release Date: 8/30/2011

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About the Book: In the world of Quill, when you turn 13 you are either kept or sent to the Death Farm. Alex has always known that he was an Unwanted and that his twin brother, Aaron, was Wanted. When Alex arrives at the death farm expecting his end, he discovers a place called Artime. The leader, Mr. Today, explains that the Unwanteds are all creative children and will learn magic using music and art. But twins are...more
A very young group of 11- 14 year olds get on a bus for the unwanted, to be terminated.
The undercurrent that this does happened to children in our global society during wars for racial domination and by governments who only allow one child per family makes a reader think in the mind
of that child how they must feel.

But that said, It was so wonderful the way MR. Today taught the children to new hide who they were
good or bad. What a wonderful teaching method he used to uncover everyones talents. Th...more
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Pronunciation of "Artimé" 4 23 Aug 20, 2014 01:39PM  
What did you think? 22 41 Aug 12, 2014 09:49AM  
Fangirls and Fanboys: The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann ---> Starting March 26th 5 13 Mar 29, 2014 08:10PM  
Kismet Book Touring : The Unwanteds on tour August/September 15 11 Sep 16, 2011 04:32AM  
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Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling paranormal WAKE trilogy, CRYER'S CROSS, DEAD TO YOU, and the dystopian fantasy series beginning with THE UNWANTEDS. (Book 5, Unwanteds: ISLAND OF SHIPWRECKS, comes out Feb 3, 2015).

You can find more info at Lisa'a website,, interact with her on Facebook or Twitter, or ask questions and find answ...more
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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