Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – The Unwanteds

From Goodreads:

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. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence 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.

Why I recommend it: Just like how this book was and is being marketed if you’ve enjoyed Harry Potter*, you will enjoy The Unwanteds as well. There is magic, a secret place for kids with artistic talents to grow and mature in their skills while learning the magical application of those skills. Then you have the evil priestess who would stop at nothing to keep a strong hold over her people.

As an avid fantasy reader I was surprised to realize that the world of Artime didn’t impact me much. Instead it was the characters in the book. More specifically the secondary characters. For example Samheed and Lani. How they carried their past, struggled with it and grew from it. Also there was something about their temper that stuck with me. (I wish I can say more but it will spoil the book for you).

Now even though the magical world didn’t do it for me, the concept behind the magic however was brilliant. Who knew you could draw magic from paint and a paint brush and wield it against an enemy? Or bring paper clips to life long enough to harm your enemy? Or better make origami characters and bring them to life to serve a purpose?

There is a lot more to fall in love with in this book which is why despite having some issues with it I still can’t wait to read book 2 (which I just got from the library).

*I still don’t get why the mention of The Hunger Games (on the cover). This book had nothing major in common with The Hunger Games.

You can find more awesome MG features under my tab MMGM Peeps.

About Akoss

Graphic Designer and Writer.
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17 Responses to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – The Unwanteds

  1. Joanne Fritz says:

    I’ve seen this book mentioned quite a few times now among the book blogging community, so it must be pretty amazing. Haven’t read it, so I can’t really surmise why they compare it to The Hunger Games. But from the synopsis, I don’t see much of a connection either! Maybe just the idea of putting teens to death?

  2. My daughter read this one (LOVED it) and we read the second in the series aloud together. They are intriguing.

  3. I recently heard about this one and added it to my list. I really enjoyed your review. I am a big fan of HP and the fact that the story has some fun magic made me intrigued. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love McMann. I believe I’ve read all her YA and I’ve been meaning to read her MG. This sounds like a fantastic book.

  5. Kristen Wixted says:

    Maybe they mention Hunger Games because they think it will sell books? As if mentioning HP didn’t do the trick…
    Anyway, I like the origami character idea. Sounds like it has a lot of fun stuff inside!

  6. This is the first time that I’m hearing about The Unwanteds, and wow, I love the premise! I think it’s so cool how the artistic, cast-off kids are able to use their talents in magical ways. The twin connection also intrigues me, since I always love it when siblings are featured some way in books. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for this!

    As for the Hunger Games reference…it’s a total marketing schtick. Same way how every single YA fantasy is labeled as another Twilight just because there’s the tiniest shred of romance in it (and sometimes not even that much). I wish publishers wouldn’t do that; it’s misleading, not to mention tiring.

  7. Susan says:

    Funny, I immediately thought of the Hunger Games when I started reading your description! Maybe because the formal selecting of certain children for a specific path? This one sounds great. I bet it would especially appeal to artistic kids.

  8. Nutschell says:

    this has to go in my TBR list. that is an awesome cover!

  9. I enjoyed this book as well, but had some of the same issues with it. I do want to read the follow up to it too. I’ve tried to train myself to ignore those comparisons on book covers, they are so off!

    – Jessica @ Book Sake

  10. Vicki Tremper says:

    I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks for another great rec!

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