Unwanteds

Unwanteds

Why are children so creative? So imaginative? So observant? Children, especially the younger ones, have little knowledge of the world and how it works, so their minds are open and their ideas are amazing. Not usually logical, but super crazy and creative.

As I was thinking about how jealous I am of children and their imaginations, I, being the book-loving maniac I am, thought of a book called Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Before I get into why I thought of this book, I’ll give you a general summary.

This story takes place in the future in a dystopian society called Quill that highly discourages any creativity of any kind. When children turn thirteen, they are sorted into three categories: Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. The Wanteds are the most intelligent children, the Necessaries are average, and the Unwanteds are children who have disobeyed the law and done something artistic like telling stories or drawing. The Unwanteds are sent off in a bus to be killed in the lake of fire. Or so everyone thinks. While Aaron Stowe becomes a Wanted, his twin brother Alex Stowe becomes an Unwanted condemned to death because he broke the law and drew a picture. At the end of the bus ride, instead of being thrown into a lake of fire, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are welcomed into a magical world called Artime, which was created by Mr. Today. Here, citizens are free to express themselves and practice their artistic abilities. In Artime, strange creatures and talking statues abound and the Unwanteds learn to use their creativity as weapons…literally.

Quick fangirl moment: Amazing series! It’s not over yet either. The next book come out in the fall. Is this series for ages 8-12? Yep. And do I care? Nope, not really. I think I like these books for younger children because then I don’t have to deal with ridiculous teenage drama/romance/angst blah blah blah. *cough cough*…Oh, I’m not even going to say it! You probably know what series I’m thinking of. Of course, not all teenage books are like this, I’m just complaining about a lot of them. With middle school books, I can focus on the amazingness of the story itself! Alright, fangirl moment over. Back to the topic at hand.

So why did I think of this book? Probably because I admire the creativity of this story. In this story, art is magic. You can fold an origami dragon and bring it to life or draw a door that can take you anywhere. Basically, its my dream come true. It reminds me of when I was a child and I played make-believe with my friends. I would always pretend that I had a magic pencil that would make anything I drew come to life.

I think that children’s ability to notice and admire the most mundane objects also contributes to their imagination. They see and marvel at little details that older people often fail to notice. Like the swirling of colors on a bubble, the fine pattern of veins on a leaf, even the fascinating map work of cracks on an old sidewalk. I mean, sure, we see a rainbow and we think “Wow, look a rainbow! It’s so beautiful! We hardly ever see those!” I’m not saying anything bad about rainbows; I love them, but I think we often overlook the little beautiful details we see everyday, like the sparkle of dew in the grass in the early morning. Believe me when I say that little kids notice these things; I know. I have LOTS of little siblings. Too many in fact (Just kidding guys, I love you!) Anyway, their fascinating ideas and observations never fail to amuse me. I followed their example; now, when I go for walks or have to ride my bike somewhere, I try to spot interesting details in my surroundings. I found that when I slowed down a bit when I rode my bike and paid close attention to details around me, the ride was much less boring. When I did this, I also began to reflect on things I usually don’t even think about. This activity opened my mind. I know you’re probably all very busy, and that’s probably why older people don’t notice little things as much, but next time you go somewhere, pay close attention to details. It’ll make the journey more interesting!

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Matched

Matched

Here in America, we are proud of our individual rights and freedoms. We like to be able to make our own choices about where we live, where we work, whom we marry, and whom we vote to be our leader. However, sometimes it is challenging to have to make all of your own decisions, especially when it is something you are not accustomed to doing. For example, when slavery was abolished in America and slaves were set free from captivity, many of them had difficulty adjusting. As slaves, although their lives may have been terrible, they at least knew what they had to do to survive. Once they were set free, no one told them what to do or when to do it anymore; they had to make their own decisions, and that meant having to find their own food and shelter.

Similarly, in Matched by Allie Condie, the people are like slaves to their society. Just about every part of their life is carefully controlled. Citizens in this future society cannot choose where they work, where they live, whom they marry, what they wear, what they eat, or even when they die. However, most people, like Cassia have always been happy in their society. It always seems to choose what is best for them. That is, until the day of Cassia’s Matching Ceremony. This is a ceremony in which society chooses the perfect mate for a person who wants to get married. When Cassia’s best friend Xavier appears on the screen as her match, she is happy, until she begins to fall in love with Ky. For the first time, Cassia begins to doubt her perfect society. Now she has a choice to make. She can take the easy path and submit to her society where she will be well-taken care of or she can venture out into the unknown in order to fight to be with the one she loves.