23 August 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen focusing on MG literature. Do you read and review MG books? Hop on over and join the fun!

Release Date: 30 August 2011
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Pre-Order It! Amazon | B&N

Goodreads description:

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 eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.


In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. 


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.
My Thoughts...

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 all ages. It deftly brings popular dystopian themes to MG literature while spinning a unique, creative twist. (See what I did there? "Creative" twist? LOL)

The people of Quill are governed strictly by High Priest Justine and her entourage of governors.  At the age of 13, all young boys and girls are sorted into Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds.  The rare separation of twins into one Wanted and one Unwanted causes quite the stir. Alex, the Unwanted, believes that his brother should have been cast aside alongside him--but no one ever turned HIM in.  The situation is even bigger than Alex imagines as the teachers and leaders of Artime worry about Alex and the decisions that they forsee him making.

The creatvity of this world (no pun intended) is incredibly engaging to read.  It's easy to imagine the stark contrast between the gray, dismal world of Quill and the vibrant, thriving world of Artime.  I loved the detail in which McMann described the worlds; she managed to include enough detail that I could imagine the setting each step of the way but she was never just "telling instead of showing."  And seeing Artime through Alex's eyes was truly the eye-opening experience that it was meant to be.

I loved the characters in this book as well.  (Have you noticed the trend lately? Good characters can make or break a book for me.)  I don't know exactly what it was about them, but I wanted to spend time with them.  They kept me coming back for more in this story.  Each character has to struggle with difficult decisions and makes some good decisions and some bad decisions along the way. Alex and Aaron are the epitome of opposites although we see from some flashbacks here and there that it may not have always been that way.  Alex's new friends each play their own special role in his life as well, shaping his personality and decisions.  Mr. Today is quite mysterious; you get the idea that he is definitely one of the good guys but there are some things that he is hiding as well.  Everyone has their secrets and everyone has a past.  You'll leave this world with a new set of friends that you are dying to spend more time with.

1 comment:

kaye (paper reader) said...

I think this will have to be the next book I read. I'm very, very much looking forward to it as it seems like heaps of fun.

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