The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds

Title: The Unwanteds

Author: Lisa McMann

Release Date: Available

Welcome to Quill — a dystopian landscape where creativity is a sin punishable by death. Every year at the Purge, the 13-year-olds of Quill are divided between the Wanteds, the favored who will go on to be Quill’s leaders and governing forces, the Necessaries, who will spend their remaining years in a life of servitude to the Wanteds, and the Unwanteds, those who have expressed some spark of creativity and will be dealt with by elimination.

Here we meet our protagonist, young Alex Stowe who, after being caught drawing in the dirt, is well aware of the fate that awaits him. Alex leaves behind his twin brother, Aaron, deemed a Wanted, and, along with the other Unwanteds, heads to the Death Farm for his abrupt and certain end.

Yet Alex and the other Unwanteds soon discover that behind the gates of the Death Farm is a world, not of death, but of life — a world of color and expression and freedom. Welcome, instead, to Artimé, home to generations of past Unwanteds who have been brought to a sanctuary where creativity and imagination are the governing forces, where artistic gifts are celebrated — a place of freedom and life far removed from the oppressive wasteland of Quill.

And so we follow two brothers — two parallel stories — on the one hand, Alex, learning and growing and discovering in Artimé, and on the other, his twin brother Aaron, ambitious and arrogant as he dreams of one day ruling Quill. But the bond they share as twins is one that can’t be broken or erased, and as Alex dreams of reuniting with his twin, their two different worlds are pulled closer together, threatening to collide.

The Unwanteds is a story that celebrates the power of imagination and creativity over force and brutality by following Alex and Aaron through the different paths their lives take — paths that are primarily shaped and driven by the surrounding landscapes of Artimé and Quill. McMann provides two distinct and starkly contrasting backgrounds that embody and reflect the journeys of Alex and Aaron through rich description and thoughtful details. Furthermore, when it often feels as if every novel on the shelves is a dystopian, The Unwanteds takes the trend and runs in a new direction, resulting in an interesting and compelling storyline that feels all its own. It’s intriguing and page-turning — overall, a highly enjoyable read.

Review by Kayla

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