The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret–behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime. In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Book Worms Discussion Date: August 15, 2013 and April 16, 2015

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think you would have been one of the “Unwanteds”? Why or why not?
  2. Why was creativity banned in Quill?
  3. In what ways are Quill and Artime different? Which of the two would you prefer?
  4. Would you have reported the infractions of your neighbors, like Aaron did?
  5. How were Alex and Aaron different? the same?
  6. What role does Isolationism play in Quill?
  7. Why doesn’t anyone challenge the High Priest Justine?
  8. Did Mr. Today do the right thing by delaying Alex’s magic training? Why do you think he did it?
  9. Why do you think Lani kept trying her spells on Alex? Why didn’t she understand his reaction?
  10. Why did Samheed go along with Will Blair’s plans? Why didn’t he report him?
  11. How would you choose to fight? Would you use lethal weapons? Why or why not?
  12. How would you react when faced with your parent trying to kill you? What do you think of Samheed and Lani’s reactions?
  13. Once they are discovered, why does Mr. Today choose not to seal off Artime from the people of Quill?
  14. Is fighting less violent if you are using “artistic weapons”?
  15. What will happen to Quill now?

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