The Unwanteds

by Lisa McMann | 400 pgs, published 2011

I was so excited to read this book. As a general rule, I don’t care for twins as main characters, because it seems like such an easy plot device. But here it sounded fascinating: in a society where you are classified as Wanted or Unwanted at age 13, twin brothers are split up. Alex is Unwanted and he knows this means he will be sent to a death farm. And die.

I’m sorry for all the spoilers that are about to follow…

When Alex and the other Unwanted 13-year-olds get to the death farm, it turns out to be an illusion. It’s magically a place called [insert fantasy place name here], a school/haven for the creatively-minded Unwanteds. You see, what makes a person Unwanted is failure to follow the society’s rules, like no drawing, singing, dancing, acting, and so on. In the X-Men school of [fantasy place name], the kids learn how to let their creativity develop, and then how to use it as a weapon so they can defend themselves against the Wanteds if necessary. (Remember that the Wanteds think the Unwanteds have all been shipped off to die in a pit of boiling tar or something.)

Also, there was a weird romance in there. Awkward teenage crushes. Really awkward.

So the book ended up seeming like a PSA for creativity. Let your child be themselves! Don’t force them to think like everyone else!

I’m all for creativity, and I hope my kids can think in a variety of ways, including the ways that will be most useful to society. And hopefully earn money and stuff because let’s face it, unless you produce every item you need to consume, you’ll need money.

…Ahem. I got sidetracked there. Not a huge fan of this book, that’s what I was trying to get at.

Buy The Unwanteds on Amazon

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