The Unwanteds

Lisa McMann, Author
Lisa McMann. S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0768-8
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4424-0770-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-4491-4
Open Ebook - 500 pages - 978-1-4424-9566-1
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-1-4424-0769-5
Paperback - 1328 pages - 978-1-4814-2188-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-4487-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-4585-0
Prebound-Other - 390 pages - 978-1-61383-651-4
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In her foray into middle-grade fiction, McMann (Cryer's Cross) delivers a fun mix of magic and science with a retro SF novel whose setting echoes classic artificial dystopias of the 1960s like Logan's Run and Make Room! Make Room! In the city of Quill, all signs of creativity are shunned, and any children who so much as sing or draw are declared "Unwanted" when they turn 13 and sent off to be killed. When Alex is culled from his family and sent to die, he is surprised to discover that the Unwanteds are actually taken to a hidden city called Artimé, where they are not only trained in the traditional arts, but also in the magic that these arts unlock. McMann juggles a handful of point-of-view characters nicely (focusing largely on Alex), showing their fear and wonder as they learn more about their world. The subplots—including young romance and murderous conspiracies—are skillfully interwoven, and if some of Quill's harshness borders on caricature (the city makes Sparta seem decadent), it serves the story well. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
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