The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

1st in series.  In Quill, the annual Purge sends the Wanted children who obey rules and show intelligence to a military university and the Unwanteds who break the rules and show artistic abilities to their deaths.  As soon as the Unwanteds are taken away, their families are expected to forget about them completely and immediately.  Unbeknownst to the High Priestess of Quill, the man who is supposed to ensure the demise of the Unwanteds has instead built a magical place where art and imagination are not only valued but turned into weapons for a fight with the Quillary that will inevitably come some day.  When twins Aaron and Alex are separated in the purge, they can’t stop thinking about each other and Alex becomes determined to “save” Aaron, an action that could have disastrous consequences for the Unwanteds.  A solid fantasy for middle school readers with an underlying message that the unusual kids of the world are of great value.  Both male and female characters are given equal power and influence.  Some parents may feel that kids using art, language, music, and drama as potentially fatal weapons goes too far but there is little actual death in the book, though some parts are quite scary.

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