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Perhaps the most serious problem with current literacy campaigns is that they ignore, and even divert attention from, ... More
Summary: Now that he is 13, Alexander Stowe must accept his fate. He has known for years that he will be purged , but now it is reality. In Quill, you are Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Alex's twin brother Aaron is Wanted; his parents are Necessary; he is Unwanted. All because he drew a picture in the sand.
When he and the other teens purged this year arrive at the Death Farm they are shocked at how they are living. The people here are happy. Artime is a magical place. Literally. The kids go to school to discover their magic — music, acting, art. Headmaster Mr. Today is using magic to create an ever-expanding institution without taking up any more physical space. Alex loves it here, but he misses Aaron terribly. He also knows that if the secret of Artime is revealed, it could be the end for them all. This is the first title in a science fiction / fantasy series for middle grade readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, middle grade reader, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 & Up; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 5.7
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I couldn't stop reading. I stayed up later than I should have for several nights because the story and the characters are compelling. There is plenty of action, but what kept me going was the way the author set up the characters. I would judge one, only to go to Mr. Today's office down the hall and discover that I had misjudged him/her.
Pros: Lots of action, realistic characters, and some surprises will engage readers who love to read and those who aren't big readers, too.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book you'll read aloud with the kids in 4th or 5th grade, and they'll want to read again on their own in middle school. It would be an exceptional choice for a teen who loves magic, fantasy, and the creative arts.
Educational Themes: Fans of Harry Potter will love The Unwanteds. It is a story meant for pleasure reading, but could be a great entre to discussions about discovering your own talents, what the world is like when we are “all the same.”
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, dystopia, series
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2013
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.