All you need to know is I read all 558 pages straight through until 2:30 in the morning. I haven’t done that since the final Harry Potter book came out. Gone = Lord of the Flies+ Heroes TV show = AWESOME.
[And if you have ever read Tomorrow, When The War Began, it had VERY similar elements as well, but Lord of the Flies is obvi more well known.]
Now for the review proper.
- Title: Gone
- Author: Michael Grant
- Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
- Release Date: June 2008
- Standalone or Series: First book in projected six (6) book series.
Why I read this book: Thea of The Booksmugglers is responsible for keeping me up late, again! She wrote super intriguing reviews of both Gone and the second book, Hunger. And I’m on a bit of a YA kick right now, kid’s books for adults is my new thang.
Summary:In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young: Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. And just as suddenly there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to figure out what’s happened. And no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents – unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers – that grow stronger by the day. It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday you will disappear just like everyone else.
Review:So I have been typing and deleting for 10 minutes now, trying not to make my review sound like “squeee i’m a new fangirl” and failing.
I already told you I couldn’t put the book down until I turned the last page at 2:30am. That should tell you the pacing was excellent, every scene was in perpetual forward motion, every action gripping, every characters’ decision fascinating, every individual personality developed…
Grant’s world building was so unique, the point of the world being kids have to look out for themselves, and how he gets them to that point is so creative. No plane crash, no guerilla war from another country, no tidal wave, earthquake, etc. After finishing Gone it is still a mystery as to how and why everyone over 15 years old disappeared but we know it has something to do with the nuclear power plant, something to do with the magical powers the kids have developed, something to do with the bubble surrounding their California coastal town, and something to do with The Darkness personified, living in the bottom of an old mine.
Curious enough to read it yet? YOU SHOULD BE!
The main characters on the “good guy team” are Sam, a natural born leader who doesn’t want the leadership role, Astrid, the class genius who Sam has always had a crush on, Astrid’s autistic younger brother Pete, and Sam’s surfer buddy Quinn. The complications among their relationships are so absorbing in and of themselves! I can’t even begin to go into detail, but one of which is Quinn’s jealousy of Sam’s new Power [light/energy shooting out of his hands] and then Quinn’s subsequent betrayal of Sam to the “bad guys team.”
Curious enough to read it yet? YOU SHOULD BE!
The “bad guys team” and set up of the bullies trying to take power didn’t quite work as well for me. While Grant wrote motivations and depth for the bad guy characters, some of the scenes where the bullies started taking charge didn’t flow as naturally to me and were more choppy than the scenes with the “good guys team.”
The townies bullies are nothing compared to the Private School Kids who come down from their academy on The Hill. These kids are evil. And that was one of the things that surprised me the most.
Gone lept in with the evilness, murder [on the third day without adults, the first day the bullies take power one of the bullies kills an 11 year old girl by smashing her head in with an aluminum baseball bat], kids aiming machine guns at kids, and other horror elements. I was surprised at how dark the book was, and didn’t connect with that.
The kids on the good guys team DO have doubts about the violence, question whether its necessary, hesitate in using their weapons, and I liked that and thought it would provoke the kids reading these books to think harder about these topics.
One of the manifestations of evil is this pack of talking coyotes. Did you just snarf and laugh at that? Because I did…they obey The Darkness and go in league with the Bad Kids From The Private School to kill the Good Guys In The Town. It’s pretty ridiculous. Any scene with the talking coyotes yanked me right out of the story, suspension of disbelief gone, and had my eyes rolling.
Maybe the kids reading the books like those parts?
Overall though, it was an excellent, enjoyable, hypnotizing read. I already have the next book Hunger on hold at the library! It just came out last month, so we’ll have to wait a while for the 3rd installment of the series. I haven’t seen anything about a release date yet, but I think it’s called Lies.
Verdict: An action packed page turner with great characters and fascinating to watch how kids create a new society in bascially a dystopian world.