The cute plot of The Unnameables is weighed down by its slow start. Allow me to summarize the first 68 pages: A "goatman" (satyr-like creature) is in a boat, but let's leave him to spend 66 pages explaining the dull coming-of-age rituals of a small island community that holds to the puritanical view that only utilitarian objects and people should exist. Excessive time is given to characters correcting each other: Chickens aren't chickens, thank you, they are Egg Fowl, and goats are Lesser Horned Milk Creatures while cows are Greater Horned Milk Creatures. Calling a cow "a cow" breaks with the names given in the community's guidebook and will bring about the downfall of civilization.
While I felt like this book was a condemnation of strict, literal religious practices, the people in it aren't religious. They simply adhere to their joyless way of life because their ancestors allegedly wanted it that way.
The action finally starts when the goatman reaches the island. He's a goofy, harmless character, and the story stays fairly charming for a while as he and the hero get to know one another. Eventually, though, trouble finds them, and they plus two of the hero's friends wind up running all over the island and eventually turning the community's beliefs upside-down with the discovery of secret documents.
The plot is, as it sounds, quite convoluted, and the characters are extremely two-dimensional. I'm not sure why this book landed on a YA book list, either, since the cover clearly states it is for a younger age group. I would say younger middle schoolers might find this story more interesting than teens.
Recommend to: Ages 10-13, fantasy fans
Don't recommend to: High level readers, anyone from the Mayflower