Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Man alive, my students are going to flip over this one. Fantasy is huge in fifth grade. Students devour it on a regular basis. And McMann will have them eating out of the palm of her hand.

The story begins in Quill. Once a year they have "the Purge" where the society gets rid of any member that shows creativity. Alex Stowe is categorized as an "unwanted" and will therefore be eliminated. His brother, Aaron, has been classified as a "wanted" meaning he will go to train to be at the top of society. The final category is called "necessary" which their parents are. Alex gets sent off to be eliminated with not much thought from his parents or brother. However instead of being eliminated he finds there is a magical place called Artime that is a safe haven for all of the Unwanteds. Here Alex learns to embrace his creativity, meets friends, and strives to find his purpose. This can't keep him from longing to see his brother and a desire to reunite. This conflict is the heart of the book.

I book talked this novel to my classes last week. Kids were clamoring for the book, and for me to hurry up and read it. They called out books it was reminiscent of - Harry Potter, Matched, Divergent, Hunger Games. All favorites. I think The Unwanteds is going to find a spot within my students favorite books of the year and I am sure they will all be begging for a sequel.

Reading level: 4th - 6th
Genre: Fantasy
Appeals to: Boys and Girls
Rating: Four Stars
Release date: August 2011