The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Figment Friday Recommendation! Guys and gals, I woke up feeling inspired today. What I’m actually inspired to do I haven’t quite figured out yet, but if I want to paint my favorite Harry Potter scene (Ron and Hermione kissing, duh) or write a symphony to rival Bella’s lullaby, I’m ready to take it on!

A great inspirational read is The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. In Quill, the world of The Unwanteds, creative kids aren’t rewarded with pictures on the fridge–they’re sentenced to death. Quill is divided into three groups: the Wanteds, the Necessaries, and the Unwanteds. The Wanteds are the cool kids–they serve in the Quillitary. (We see what you did there, McMann. LAWLZ.) The Necessaries work at all the lame jobs. But the worst thing to be is an Unwanted; being creative is useless in a society where thinking for oneself is strongly discouraged.

Twin bros Alex and Aaron Stowe are split up when Alex is declared an Unwanted–banished to the Death Farm due to the infraction of sketching a house into the ground with a stick–while Aaron is kept around as a Wanted to serve the Quillitary. But Alex and his fellow Unwanteds get a surprise at the Death Farm: they’re rescued by a Dumbledore-ish magician named Mr. Today who welcomes them to Artime, a safe haven for Unwanteds. Mr. Today offers to help the Unwanteds nurture their gifts and prepares them for a war against the Wanteds if their magical world is ever discovered.

I wanna see where The Unwanteds falls on the Figment Scale of Awesome, so let’s cut the chatter and get straight to it!

+321 for wicked cool magic. Being creative has never been cooler than it is in the life of an Unwanted! Sure, your ability to recite Shakespeare off the top of your head is cool and all, but what if you could knock an opponent off his feet with a soliloquy? Or lull anyone into a trance with your singing? Even cooler–painting yourself invisible! The opportunities are endless when you have the ability to turn ordinary art supplies into weapons. Go crazy. Be Unwanted.

+289 for taking a walk on the dark side. Aaron Stowe, resident bad guy, is a Wanted–and he’s, like, really, really, really, creepily excited to serve High Priestess Justine and her Quillitary. He’ll remind you of a young Tom Riddle or Anakin Skywalker, and I’m terrified excited to see who he’ll evolve into in the next 6 books. Evil characters FTW.

-40 for heartless parenting. We really hate orphans here at the Figment Headquarters, but I wouldn’t mind Alex’s parents biting the dust. I know that Quillens are kinda brain dead, but when your son is banished to the Death Farm to be disposed of in the Great Lake of Boiling Oil,  your first thought needs to be: “OH MY GOD! OUR SON IS GOING TO BOIL TO DEATH!” or you just suck. You do.

+70 for words hurting . . . a lot. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but there are a few carefully chosen words in this story that can outright kill you. Think twice before name-calling anyone in this part of town.

At 640 totally meaningful and soundly scientific pointsThe Unwanteds is easily one of my favorite books of this year, and truly a worthy successor to Harry Potter. From the eccentric characters, to the magic-nurturing academy, to that good old battle between good and evil, this is a book that belongs on everyone’s Christmas list.

3 thoughts on “The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

  1. I got to see Lisa McMann at the book release party. She’s an awesome writer and this book is a great one. You’re review does it justice!

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