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Release Date: 8/30/2011
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About the Book: In the world of Quill, when you turn 13 you are either kept or sent to the Death Farm. Alex has always known that he was an Unwanted and that his twin brother, Aaron, was Wanted. When Alex arrives at the death farm expecting his end, he discovers a place called Artime. The leader, Mr. Today, explains that the Unwanteds are all creative children and will learn magic using music and art. But twins are dangerous to be seperated and Alex still feels a pull to his brother in Quill. A battle between Artime and Quill is brewing and both sides must learn to protect themselves, including brother fighting against brother.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I have seen many reviews and blurbs for this book describing it as The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter. The book is very much a dystopian Harry Potter and there are many similarities that made it seem like the story was borrowing a bit too much from Harry Potter's world. (A mysterious school, one friends who is very smart and excels in all her classes, a grumpy enemy, a "white wizard" type leader/mentor, mysterious creatures) I know these are all tropes of middle grade fantasy, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on these plot devices.
What I really loved was the premise that A group of creative kids are purged from a society because creativity is "unwanted" only to discover a whole new world where creativity equals magic. Not only are they wanted here but they are needed because they have power. As a kid who was interested in the arts than anything else, I felt that this was especially empowering to young readers.
I didn't really connect with any of the characters, which made the book a bit let interesting to me. This might have been due to the audiobook narrator, who was good, but also read in a bit of a deep, monotone at times. (I really liked him as a narrator, but his voice was very soothing and easy to listen to, I just would have liked more distinct character voices.) Alex was the most annoying to me. From the beginning, I got the impression that Aaron could care less about his twin, yet Alex is always wondering about Aaron and wanting to help him. I kept wanting to tell him to get over it already-his brother was mean and didn't care that Alex was being sent away to begin with so he should stop trying to risk things to contact him! I do think tween readers will connect with Alex though and maybe find him less frustrating than I did. I also felt that none of the other characters were fleshed out that well-I never really cared about any of them.
The story gets a bit dark, but it's no darker than other middle grade dystopian like Among the Hidden or Gregor the Overlander. Even though it wasn't really for me, I think tweens will eat it up. A good book if you have fantasy or dystopian fans who are looking for a new series.