Gone, by Michael Grant

gone_michael grantAll 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
  • Publisher:HarperTeen
  • 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.

Grade: A-

22 Responses

  1. hmmmmm, talking coyotes? i do enjoy a good coyote. must be my mother’s influence, taking me to storytelling all the time. i may just have to read it anyway :)

    also! read ender’s game if you’re on a kick. give it a shot. i will write you an intriguing review. oh, wait. i did.

  2. now this is definitely right up my alley! onto the bookmooch queue it goes! ….although.. hmm… another series that i might get obsessed with before the whole series is written? ACK!

  3. I’m off to see if I can put it on hold but I might have reached my hold limit at the library. Sounds good and I enjoy the YA books too. I think I’m making up for the lost time because I was reading adult books when I was in elementary school.

  4. Becky: i loved that when you told me your librarian mother always read to you and your siblings. so many of my favorite childhood memories are about books!

    and SIGH fine I’ll try enders game. before the end of 2009 i promise ;)

    Alice: yay, another book we can have in common! told you i didn’t just read romance!

    Barbara: uh oh, there are hold limits?!?! i don’t think i’ve had more than 5-10 on hold at once. hope you can get your hands on Gone!

  5. heeeey this looks like a great book! and I have it at the library. Time to put it on hold! thanks for the info on this book!

  6. Sounds kickass and totally beach worthy… now if only I had a beach…

  7. Ok…. you had me at Harry Potter… LOL

    This sounds good, and I havent had a “cant put down” for a long time either!

  8. Hello, Lusty Reader! I love this book! I really enjoyed it. I even wrote a review of Gone in my blog. I can’t wait to read the second installment — Hunger.

  9. Lord of the Flies + Heroes?! It sounds like it’s so much better than the writing on the last season of Heroes.

    I really like the idea of a different take on the world building. So often we encounter the traditional set of accidents that bring it about.

  10. Karoline: heeey yourself! happy to spread the word of a good book, and yay for libraries, my bank account loves how often i go there.

    Lilu: i’ll be in a spot of sunshine in logan circle with a folding chair this weekend. we city folk take what we can. jury’s still out on whether i’ll wear a bathing suit or not.

    Sheila: HP is always a good comparison!

    Peter: hello to you too! So fun to hear about others who have enjoyed it too. I am on the waiting list at the library for Hunger, so hopefully I’ll get it soon!

    f.B: well, the thing is, i only saw the first two episodes of Heroes ever, and didn’t like it, but thought it was too apt a comparison to pass up. bad form of me i know.

  11. So glad you enjoyed this one! I can’t wait to see what you think of HUNGER ;) Even better, IMO.

    Great review!

  12. Guess I’m going book shopping (again) on my lunch hour…

  13. Thea: HIIIIII thanks for visiting! I’m a little nervous about Hunger actually, now that I went back and read your review again. Even DARKER storylines?! I’m skeered.

    Karen: sounds like a fabulous way to spend a lunch hour to me!

  14. […] by Lusty Reader As you may recall I read the first book in Michael Grant’s new series, Gone, and ADORED it, in fact it was my best read in July. Whenever I read something that grips me, that […]

  15. DAMNGOD!
    this book is amazing..
    I’ve got it as a present from my boyfriend and first I hated it. I mean, A BOOK?
    But as I started reading I couldn’t stop.. so, I guess my boyfriend knows me quite well :) To bad there aren’t movies .. There should be!

  16. best series EVER! if you like adventure and suspense you’ll freakin love this. so excited fr the third book Lies to come out!

  17. It was the best book I’ve EVER read! I’m half way through the second book which is “Hunger.” I thought twilight was the best until I read THIS! They’ve gotta make a movie! There’s soooo much mystery and action. :)

  18. omg i LOVE these books! i just finished hunger and i cant wait until lies comes out. i LOVE sam <3

  19. […] GONE series. I get the most hits on my reviews for the first two books in the series: Gone review and Hunger review. If you check those out you’ll see lots of little teenyboppers still like […]

  20. this book is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! best book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I just love this book… my mom is reading it and she just cant wait to get the 5th book… im on the 2nd & almost on the 3rd… they should defiantly make a movie out of the book… it would get a lot of reviews & many people would put their money up for it… cant wait for 5th & if he does a 6th… I also suggest the books THE HUNGER GAMES, I AM NUMBER FOUR, & THE UGLIES…

  22. The 5th book is called Fear!!!! Love The Series!!!

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