Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
The Unwanteds #1
Aladdin – August 30, 2011
400 pages –Children’s Fiction, fantasy
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Twitter: @lisa_mcmann
Source: Louisville Free Public Library

Read what this book is about here.
                I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Unwanteds. I had read one of McMann’s older YA novels (part of a series that I need to get back to) and I liked the cover. To be honest, this probably would have stayed on my TBR list if I hadn’t gotten #2 to review.  (Nothing against this book, but trying to focus on reviews more than “fun” reading.) But I really enjoyed this one.  I can’t say that I was sitting on the edge of my seat with excitement. But, I was definitely into the story and it was a world that I was able to slide into easily. This is mean for children and I can see how they would be drawn to Artime.
                This was a pretty quick read for me. I loved that this wasn’t necessarily a light and fluffly read.  Alex and Aaron’s story had some meat to it, and I am sure that there is stuff that the first book didn’t go into. The characters didn’t seem like they were completely alive, I mean there was enough to picture them but they were missing a little bit of something. Depth! That’s the word I’m looking for. Now I loved the story, and it’s one that I will recommend to people looking for children’s books with substance and fun.  I’ll even have this in my library when I start teaching. But it felt like it was an introduction to the characters, it really felt like the beginning. There’s a very good reason for that – it is the first book. I only mention that because the story reads as if it could be a stand –alone and I don’t want readers to expect that whole character arc where the characters have gone from point a to point b and have grown in the process. Don’t get me wrong, all of the characters grow, especially Alex and Aaron. Even though this could be a stand-alone, it leaves you wanting more. You want to know what happens next in their life and you want to know more about the characters (good and bad) because you start caring about them. But all of that is not necessary to enjoy the story –to stay in the here and now.
                (Sorry for the tangent) There’s an assortment of characters – both good and bad. Alex and Aaron share the magic of being twins. When they end up on opposing sides they discover that they don’t really know each other as well as they thought that they did.  This is such a new experience for Samheed, Lani, Meghan and the rest of the newly Unwanteds. But we get to experience it with them and that makes it even more magical.
Recommendation: This was a quick and fun read. I think it was an excellent pick for older elementary students, especially those who don’t particularly enjoy reading.
What’s Next? Island of Silence

4 Stars ****

Always Shine,
Starr K

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