Excerpt: The Unwanteds — Thematic Essay by Rhys Wheaton

In a world where being creative is frowned upon, and moments of expressing yourself are called infractions, it is to no doubt that children are preparing themselves for the worst possible fate: being killed for being yourself. In The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann children are killed for being creative; however, there is a separate world that has been created in secret from the government that allows children to be innovative and express their emotions. One main theme of this book is how society hampers children’s self-esteem, and beating them down for being themselves.

When people are expected to fit into a certain category and act a certain way and then chastised and put down when we don’t, this negatively affects our mindsets and how we view ourselves, not only in the book, but in our society today.

Excerpt: Instincts From The Maze Runner by Piper Aaronson

James Dashner’s The Maze Runner takes place in a maze, where survival is everything. The main character, Thomas, starts out just like everybody else, confused. All of the boys there wake up with no past memories. He wakes up in a place where they call themselves the Gladers. In The Maze Runner, the theme is to trust your instincts and to not second guess yourself.