Lisa McMann's The Unwanteds: Where Creativity is a Crime

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 6th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Children's Books

Lisa McMann's series, THE UNWANTEDS, tells a tale of twin boys. One is Wanted. One is not. In a world where creativity is a crime and military might is desired, how might you fare? I know I would be among THE UNWANTEDS.

Imagine -- if you Dare!

Imagine a world where art, music, and creativity are forbidden. If caught singing, dancing, drawing, or telling stories, the punishment is condemnation to a concentration-camp-like Death Farm. No one has ever returned from the Death Farm.

Alex had to face this fate and this fear. He convinced his twin brother Aaron to draw a stick figure of a house in the mud with a stick. They got caught. Making matters worse, Alex took the blame for Aaron, and his father went along with it.

Death sentences were not immediate. Once a year, there was a Purge. Thirteen year olds got sorted into Wanteds. Necessaries, and Unwanteds. Aaron was chosen as a Wanted. Alex was part of the Unwanteds – the group to be Purged. Wanteds and Necessaries are instructed to forget Unwanteds.

*YouTube video courtesy of YouTube, Lisa McMann, and Simon and Shuster

Game-Changer

Author Lisa McMann drives readers to the brink of sympathy and despair for the Unwanted teens. Then, she changes the game. Behind closed doors, the Death Farm becomes a place of life, art, and magic – a Utopia for creative souls. In stark contrast, the land of Quill is gray and militaristic. Each twin deals with struggles while experiencing successes and rising to power – each in his almost-perfect Utopia. At the same time, though, neither twin can stop thinking of his brother – and for different reasons.


*Author image is courtesy of the Lisa McMann website.

Action-Packed and Emotional Tale

On the book cover, Kirkus reviews The Unwanteds as “the Hunger Games Meets Harry Potter.” This is a very good description of this Dystopian/Utopian Young Adult novel, first in the Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann. On one hand, McMann has a very predictable plot with elements of many established and successful authors of the genre – the Death Farm really isn’t, forbidden magic one place is encouraged elsewhere, one twin betrays the other in predictable ways. But where McMann holds her own is by combining these elements into a story that is action-packed without overwhelming, and really using appropriate emotional characters to drive the story only she could tell. The result is certainly a magic all her own, and an absolute pleasure to read.

*Book cover image is courtesy of the Lisa McMann website.

Unwanted Series and Word of Caution

If interested in the series, book 2 is Islands of Silence, then Islands of Fire and Islands of Legends – which just came out September 2, 2014. My son and I greatly enjoyed the first three books in the series, and will tackle the fourth when we take a break from Chris D’Lacey’s Dragon Chronicles. As a parent, I will warn those who read aloud that there are a couple of places in each book where I was crying too hard to read. I even started reading a few chapters ahead in the hopes that I could keep my emotions in check the second time around – it didn’t work. McMann is just too good at pulling on my heartstrings.

*Book cover images are courtesy of the Lisa McMann website.

Further Reading

Looking for other books to tickle your fancy? You might be interested in:

Genre:
Dystopian Fiction

Books/Series:
Artemis Fowl
Divergent
The Fire Within
The Fledgling
Frog Princess Tales
Her Blood's Warning
Magic Wakes
Perilous
Wall and the Wing

Short Stories:
Blue Tent (short story)
Tesla's Secret (short story)

*Image this section courtesy Chris D'Lacey and Goodreads.

Tags

Aaron, Alex, Artime, Book Review, Dystopian, Lisa Mcmann, Magic, Military, Quill, Unwanteds, Ya Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Lee Hansen
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Phyl this looks like a different but intresting book to read, It seems like it might be an emotional roller coaster.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Oct 2014 (#)

I definitely thought so!!

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author avatar snerfu
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Theme is interesting and I guess the plot too is, since Phyl commends it. But it may be because you like people too much Phyl. Nice write up like always.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Oct 2014 (#)

I DO like people. Too much? Perhaps. Thanks, snerfu!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Good review, thanks Phyl..Nice to see that talented writers with fertile imagination are able to score big on present day literary firmament and get the needed encouragement - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Siva!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Very intriguing...thanks Phyl.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for reading!

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author avatar Utah Jay
8th Oct 2014 (#)

Yes, it sounds like something I could get into…Thanks Phyl.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
9th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Utah.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
9th Oct 2014 (#)

You did a perfect review; thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Oct 2014 (#)

Wow. High praise, n.c.! Thanks so much!

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author avatar Carol
9th Oct 2014 (#)

A very interesting review, many thanks Phyl

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carol! It is a great book and series.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Oct 2014 (#)

You are the top guns of book reviewing my dear Phyl, cheers!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Oct 2014 (#)

You are the top guns of book reviewing my dear Phyl, cheers!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Fern. This is my 25th book review for Wikinut. The authors I have critiqued (by and large, a few have ignored me, and that's OK) have been very supportive on Twitter; the positive feedback makes it worth my while to craft 25 more in the days to come!!

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author avatar Kingwell
13th Oct 2014 (#)

Thank you Phyl for another good review. Sounds different but intriguing.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
14th Oct 2014 (#)

you are really doing great work on these reviews...marvellous...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
14th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, dear. I had not really thought about how many I had until Fern brought it up. Tweeting them every Thursday has really captured the attention of other authors I aspire to be successful as -- and that's a great feeling!

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author avatar tafmona
15th Oct 2014 (#)

thanks a lot for sharing this, nice to meet you here, keep up

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
15th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks! Nice to meet you, too!

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author avatar Ptrikha
21st Oct 2014 (#)

Well written!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Ptrikha!

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author avatar micheal
23rd Oct 2014 (#)

good article and great info, cheers

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
24th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Micheal. So glad you stopped by!

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author avatar AjaySinghChauhan
25th Oct 2014 (#)

very interesting, thanks for sharing it with us

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
26th Oct 2014 (#)

Phyl, all I can say is Wow! I love books like this. This was an excellent review.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks, Nancy. This whole series has been just wonderful!

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author avatar puncakceria
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Informative article. Thank you for sharing this.

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