The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds

4.12 (37,340 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
4.12 (37,340 ratings by Goodreads)

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A riveting middlegrade dystopian novel from New York Times bestselling Wake author Lisa McMann that Kirkus Reviews calls "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter."

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 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.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 33mm | 463g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • f-c matte lam jacket w- foil and embossing
  • 1442407689
  • 9781442407688
  • 485,422

Review quote

The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter in this middle-grade departure from McMann's string of paranormal mysteries with romance for young adults.

On the day of Purge in totalitarian Quill, which is run by the High Priest Justine, 13-year-olds learn if they are deemed Wanted to attend the university, Necessary to tend the land or Unwanted and purged by execution. Without a good-bye from his Wanted identical brother Aaron, Alex Stowe and the other Unwanteds travel to the Death Farm. Instead of death, they meet the lush and magical world of Artime, kept secret from Justine by mage Marcus Today. In a third-person narration characterized by even pacing and whimsical inventions, Alex and his peers learn that their creativity threatened Justine's power. Surrounded by talking blackboards, transporting tubes and such fantastical creatures as an octagator (with the head of an alligator and body of an octopus) for instructors, the teens hone their drawing, music and acting skills while also wielding paintbrushes for invisibility spells and iambic pentameter to stun attackers during Magical Warrior Training, in preparation for battle against the Quillitary. As the youths explore fear, responsibility and free thinking, their spells may be used sooner than they think when Alex's twin bond is tested and rivals vie for Aaron's new position in Justine's government.

Blending elements from two popular genres, this is sure to be a double hit. - KIRKUS, April 15, 2011 "Imagination runs wild in this creative adventure."

--#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Mull "Reading Lisa McMann's THE UNWANTEDS was like discovering a brilliant,

lost children's classic-except it's never going to be lost, because

readers will never, ever forget the magic they'll experience in

its pages."

--James A. Owen, author and Illustrator of HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS
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About Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann lives in Arizona. She is married to fellow writer and musician, Matt McMann, and they have two adult children. Her son is an artist named Kilian McMann and her daughter is an actor, Kennedy McMann. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen books for young adults and children. So far she has written in genres including paranormal, realistic, dystopian, and fantasy. Some of her most well-known books are The Unwanteds series for middle grade readers and the Wake trilogy for young adults. Check out Lisa's website at, learn more about The Unwanteds Series at, and be sure to say hi on Instagram or Twitter (@Lisa_McMann), or Facebook (
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Rating details

37,340 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 45% (16,875)
4 31% (11,400)
3 17% (6,513)
2 5% (1,828)
1 2% (724)

Our customer reviews

The setting is the future in a place called Quill. Life there is not easy, especially if it is decided that you are an Unwanted. At the age of thirteen, it is determined that each citizen is in one of the following groups - Wanteds, Necessaries, or Unwanteds. The Wanteds are a privileged group given the opportunity for higher education and positions of power in society. The Necessaries are just that; they provide the necessary services required in daily life. The Unwanteds are sent to the Death Farm and exterminated. Alex and Aaron are identical twins turning thirteen. They already know their fates. Aaron will stay in Quill and become part of the Quillitary and most likely move up the ranks to become a powerful leader. As a young boy, Alex showed creative tendencies when he was caught drawing in the dirt with a chicken bone. Creativity is not valued in Quill, which means all those with artistic talents are classified as Unwanteds. The departure of the Unwanteds creates barely a ripple in the lives of those left behind in Quill. Alex's parents and brother almost seem annoyed during the brief farewell required when Alex leaves for the Death Farm. He joins the others headed toward their uncertain end, with only a hope that death will come quickly and painlessly. Alex and the others soon find that there is nothing to fear. Upon their arrival, they are welcomed by a mysterious magician named Mr. Today and countless other magical creatures. The world they have entered is called Artime, and it is filled with color and beauty beyond their wildest dreams. It is immediately obvious that life in Artime is all about living and enjoying the creative pursuits they were denied in Quill. After a brief introduction and orientation about the rules and requirements of Artime, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds begin to explore this amazing world. In addition to learning about art, music, and theater, theydevelop their own magical talents. They are free to roam and appreciate all Artime has to offer, but as Alex settles in he learns there is a definite separation between Quill and Artime. No one in Quill must know about the Unwanteds who escaped extermination. Contact with family and friends would threaten this wonderful world's very survival. Author Lisa McMann takes readers on an adventure very different than that in her previous novels. Her creation of these two extremely different worlds creates a sharp contrast that had this reader captivated. The underdog status of the Unwanteds pulled me into the story and had me cheering for them right up through the last page. If you are a fan of HARRY POTTER, THE HUNGER GAMES, or just enjoy fast-paced adventure and fantasy, you'll want to get your hands on this one. *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
by TeensReadToo
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