Alex is waiting to die. Well, technically, to be killed. His village, Quill, has determined that he is unwanted, so now that it is Purge Day, he is waiting to be dispatched. His twin brother, Aaron, however, is Wanted, so as soon as Alex has been removed, they will celebrate.
What happens to Alex when he arrives at the Boiling Lake surprises him (and all of the other Unwanteds), as they are transported not to the afterlife, but to Artime, a magical world in which those things that made them unwanted in their village are now celebrated, and even taught! Alex now has a chance to create the art that got him in trouble before.
Alex's deep loyalty to his twin, however, causes him to want to bring Aaron with him to Artime, even if Aaron is happy in his new role aiding the High Priest of the village. Alex's desire to be with his brother upsets the fragile peace between the strict rules of Quill and the strong freedoms of Artime.
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (Lexile: 880; Interest Level: Grades 3-8) is a very imaginative dystopian-like novel for younger readers who are not quite ready for the Hunger Games. Readers who are interested in alternative leadership styles and the battle between rules and creativity will really enjoy this book, and the series it starts. (416 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.