This is an audiobook feature:
Title: The UNWANTEDS [unabridged]
By: Lisa McMann
Read By Simon Jones
Running Time: 7.5 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio – Family Listening
Not sure what to expect from this title but we took it on the road with us as I thought this was one we would both enjoy. Now mind you, there were no children with us and we are well into our adulthood and yet we found this to be a very interesting premise that captivated us through all 7 cds.
In Quill, a world created by Lisa McMann thirteen-year-olds are sorted by their level of intelligence vs artistic abilities. If you fall into the later you are classified as an Unwanted and exiled to your death. The story begins on a sorting day, known at the Purge. The Unwanteds are loaded onto vehicles for the journey to meet the Eliminators to seal their fate.
Upon their arrival, the children are waiting for the worst to happen, but instead there is a HUGE revelation. Turn away if you do not want to know, but they are not going to be put to death. Instead, they enter a secret world that has been home to the Unwanteds since the beginning of the Purge.
The children are stunned and then welcomed into this new world called Artime. There is unlimited room for all of the Unwanteds and it is time for the talents of these creative children to be celebrated. Within the dormitory McMann has developed nice details that help to make Artime come to life. Each room features a talking board that reminded me of the the Wicked Queen’s mirror in Snow White, only much more fun. Also, a system of tubes transports students to any part of the vast building they reside in, so reminiscent of Star Trek ship’s elevator.
The leader of this alternate and invisible world of Artime is Mr. Today. Mr. Today is there to put out the fires or share wisdom. There is magic everywhere you turn and these passages were always among our favorites.
One of these children just transported to Artime was Alex Stowe. His identical twin Aaron was on the other side of the Artime gates in Quill and destined for the university. Alex is beside himself that he has been separated and never stops loosing hope in being reunited with his twin. With this compulsion Alex uncovers a secret which allows him to travel to the other world and reach out to his brother. What follows is not the chain of events that Alex dreamed of but rather the Unwanted’s world being exposed and a battle is waged.
While I do not like to draw Harry Potter correlations in general because I somehow feels it takes away from the other book. However, THE UNWANTEDS definitely stands on its own but like H.P. it is written for the younger set, yet all ages will enjoy the ride. Simon Jones lended a beautiful voice to the narration of this audiobook, he was particularly well suited to Mr. Today and some of the statutes.
If you are taking a road trip or have trouble keeping order in the car, I would recommend this audiobook. Not only will your middle school children love it but you will as well. The story, the worlds and the imagery captivated us from the start and we made up plenty of excuses to get in the car to return to adventure in Artime and Quill.
Note: Much thanks to Simon Audio for providing me a copy of this audiobook to listen to. The opinions express in this post are all my own.