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Unnameables, The

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  • Unnameables, The 
    Title: Unnameables, The
    Format: HARDCOVER
    Imprint: HARCOURT
    Price: $22.00
    Publishing status: ACTIVE

    From the Publisher:
    Medford lives on a neat, orderly island called—simply—Island.
    Islanders like names that say exactly what a thing (or a person) is or does. Nothing less.
    Islanders like things (and people) to do what their names say they will. Nothing more.
    In fact, everything on Island is named for its purpose, even the people who inhabit it. But Medford Runyuin is different. A foundling, he has a meaningless last name that is just one of many reminders that he's an outsider. And, to make matters worse, Medford's been keeping a big secret, one that could get him banished from Island forever. When the smelliest, strangest, unruliest creature Island has ever seen comes barreling right into his rigid world, Medford can’t help but start to question the rules he’s been trying to follow his entire life.

    A whimsical fantasy debut about belonging, the dangers of forgetting history, and the Usefulness of art, The Unnameables is one of the funniest stories of friendship you’ll ever read, with a cast of characters you’ll never forget.

    School Library Journal

    Gr 6-9

    This unusual debut novel is a fantasy set in the modern day. Teenaged Medford Runyuin has never really felt accepted by the island community where he's been raised. Orphaned after his parents drowned, he's being raised by Boyce, a wood-carver, and is training to follow his trade. Even though they trade with the Mainland for necessities, the community is self-sufficient and disdainful of technology. Its residents only name or create useful things, and their surnames denote what they do, like Baker or Tailor. When their children reach age 14, they Transition to adulthood and the Council Elders assigns them a permanent job and last name. Everyone's life is guided by "The Book," a compendium of household and etiquette tips handed down for generations and followed religiously. Citizens can be banished to the Mainland for committing infractions like making Unnameables-frivolous items. Despite the consequences, Medford has been secretly carving and hiding away beautiful wooden objects for years. One day, a part-man, part-goat washes up on the shore near his cabin. The Goatman can call up the wind but cannot control his gift so he was sent to the island to learn to master it. Both know it's just a matter of time before their secrets are discovered. The setting and the dawning rebellion of the island's inhabitants against tradition and conformity are well done. This novel, with certain plot points reminiscent of The Giver, will not appeal to all fantasy readers, but those who try it will find it has a style and charm of its own.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

    Kirkus Reviews
    On Island, "thou art thy name." At age 14, residents receive their names and their vocations from the Council. A cook becomes Cook, a tanner becomes Tanner and everyone follows the rules set forth in Capability C. Craft's Frugall Compendium of Home Arts and Farme Chores (1680). Thirteen-year-old foundling Medford Runyuin hopes to be designated Carver, like his foster father. He also hopes no one will discover the Unnameable objects he's created and hidden under his bed: They could cause his exile to Mainland forever. The Council puts off naming him, however, and he must continue to work hard for acceptance. When someone nameless and possibly Unnameable enters his life, all his plans-and the islanders' way of life-could be in for drastic changes . . . but after 300 years, is that necessarily a bad thing? Booraem's debut is an ever-surprising, genre-defying page-turner. Realistic characters deal with philosophical problems in vivid, flowing prose that is evocative and often funny. A sort of combination of witch-trial-era Salem and The Giver, this book offers a treat with nearly every page turn.

    ISBN: 9780152063689
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