Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unwanteds

(Unwanteds #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  31,472 ratings  ·  3,152 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
Hardcover, 390 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.…more
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.(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareForever by Maggie StiefvaterSilence by Becca FitzpatrickPassion by Lauren Kate
YA Novels of 2011
1,155 books — 7,124 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDivergent by Veronica RothMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsInsurgent by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopia Novels
1,560 books — 11,328 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  31,472 ratings  ·  3,152 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)
Sheri Radford
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teens-tweens
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
So my 8-year-old nephew LOVED this book. He loved it so much that he graciously loaned me his copy of both this and the next-in-series (yay!?). He moved to this series after blowing through all of the Harry Potter books and several Rick Riordan series. So this book is definitely a good match for any kids who are into the action and magic of those sorts of books.

My thoughts, though? Maybe not so generous.

I struggled a LOT to get into this book. In fact, it has taken me nearly 10 months to finish
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 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
Dec 08, 2010 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
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
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 my verdic
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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 bo
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I cannot explain how good this book was
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
AAHHH OH MY GOD I LOVED IT!!! I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ THE NEXT BOOK!!! AND YES, I AM GOING TO CONTINUE WRITING THIS REVIEW LIKE A CRAZED FANPERSONTHING!!! Actually, I'm not. I read this book because it was on the list for the middle grade Oregon Battle Of the Books (OBOB, pronounced oh-bob as declared by Howard Street Charter School OBOB team Amber Pugsterminds... If you have questions about that, just ask).
And I loved it. I have to admit that I really did LOVE IT. Lisa McMann wrote the story
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun start to a dystopian fantasy series. I loved how creativity was power in this world, and I liked most of the characters. I got a little confused on why one of the characters got away with bullying Alex, and it was somehow Alex’s fault and had to apologize. I also felt like there could have been an easy solution to the whole problem of this book. But it was a fun reading experience overall, so I didn’t mind too much.
Before I begin my review I will start by saying that this book is not for everyone. If you don't like middle grade books then don't read this book, because while it might have some more mature elements later on in the book, it's very magical and apparently too cliche for some people so just don't read it and we'll all be great. However that being said if you love magic, creativity and art, fighting against oppression and following younger characters as they grow (the characters start out as 13 y ...more
Gorgon's Kiss
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Tiffany Neal
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
**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
I want to start by saying I hold middle grade to a lower standard, because the target audience clearly isn't an 18 year old that will go, "ah yes, this is riddled with tropes and plot conveniences." Even with trying to give this book grace, it. was. not. good. The moral of the book was kind of lost between all of the random scenes that were tossed in, with no actual bearing on the story itself. The characters were all either ridiculous or carbon copies of characters from another book.

Beyond eve
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, childrens-books
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.
Reading is my Escape
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love this series...
"There was a hint of wind coming over the top of the stone walls and through the barbed-wire sky on the day Alexander Stowe was to be Purged."
- First sentence

"Fear and a suspicion of strangers is, I'm afraid, a characteristic of many humans."
- Mr. Today

"Fighting against Quill's bigotry, which says brains and brawn are better, or more important, than creativity."
- Mr. Today

"Survival depended on shrewdness and good judgment as well as skill."
- Alex

This is a stupendous fantasy,
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75 This was.......a good book kinda slow but loved the dialogue!!!
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
(2.5 Stars) If you take all the boring parts of Harry Potter and compile it into a book it would be the Unwanteds.

I'm sorry that's so mean but it's true. The book wasn't bad by any sorts but it just lacked a lot.

Granted this book is too kiddy for me but still.

Also it reminded me too much of the Divergent series with it's politics on the higher up creative people or smart people and then you have the rejects/Unwanted's. It had a very similar political plot to it that I never enjoyed even in th
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Unwanteds is an amazing book where I was on the edge of my chair for the turn of every page. I enjoyed the fact that there was never a dull moment, and it was so hard to put down. The characters were amazing and very well-built. I will remember every memorable saying from, “Quill prevails when the strong survive.” To some of the deadly spells like, “Die one thousand deaths.” I would recommend this book for people who like action, adventure, and far away magical lands with winged cheetahs. I ...more
Mara Terrell
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book last year and I LOVED IT! It is so creative and fun!
Shreya R
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
In order to truly rate this book, you need to separate yourself and put yourself into the shoes of the target audience. An adult looking at this novel will probably think it is just a Harry Potter knock-off with a bit of Hunger Games thrown in. And in many ways that is true, but it is much more than that.

I see the Unwanteds as a a stepping stone for children readers into more complex worlds and other genres. It has a dystopian theme that isn't found in Harry Potter, but it has a flow to it that
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is great. I thought this book would have a lot of action but it does not. It has a lot of questions that will make you question. This book is about this 4 kids name Alex, Samheed, Lani, and Meghan who are unwanteds. Which means that they will have to go to the Death Farm. What they didn't know about death farm is that it is a magical place. This is when it is all gets confusing and you start to question. The end will surprise you. So if you like getting surprised then this book is for ...more
Kelsy Flanders
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, own-physica
I remember reading this series like every other month in middle school. Now, as I'm nearing the end of high school, I decided to go on a little nostalgia trip. Reading this while older, I definitely notice little things that I didn't notice when I was 13, but they don't diminish how much I enjoy this book.

I love the creativity of the world. I disagree with the "Hunger Games meets Harry Potter" review on the front because I think it's more like "Harry Potter meets The Giver," but that's just me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Brandon Mull's Beyonders Trilogy: A World Without Heroes; Seeds of Rebellion; Chasing the Prophecy
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)
  • Story Thieves (Story Thieves, #1)
  • The Land of Stories Collection 4 Book Set (The Land of Stories, #1-4)
  • The Flame of Olympus  (Pegasus, #1)
  • Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4)
  • Unlocked (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #8.5)
  • Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #5)
  • Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #2)
  • Everblaze (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #3)
  • Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #8)
  • The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)
  • Nightfall (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #6)
  • Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #7)
  • A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1)
  • Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms, #1)
  • The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, #1)
  • The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel (The Kane Chronicles: The Graphic Novels, #1)
See similar books…
Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling THE UNWANTEDS series (the new UNWANTEDS QUESTS series begins Feb 7, 2017) and the YA paranormal WAKE trilogy. Other books include the VISIONS trilogy, CRYER'S CROSS, DEAD TO YOU, INFINITY RING: The Trap Door, and the GOING WILD trilogy (book 2 coming autumn 2017).

You can find more info at Lisa'a website, lisamc

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)

Related Articles

This May, as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we wanted to take an opportunity to shine a light on some of the...
235 likes · 43 comments
“If you believe you can read you can” 29 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…