Review: Gone by Michael Grant

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GoneGone by Michael Grant (Egmont, 2009).

 

Blurb: In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

 

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.

 

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 disappear just like everyone else…

 

I came into this series very late—I hadn’t even heard of it but saw the books in a shop and was immediately drawn to the neon-and-black covers. The edges of the pages are the same color as the book title, so these are gorgeous all set up together in a shop display. The praise page included a quote from Stephen King, so I bought the five books that were then available.

 

The premise of the book intrigued me. I’ve always enjoyed “the adults are gone now what” stories, starting with Lord of the Flies. While this book has some similarities, it’s also very different. Having supernatural elements—special powers, the way in which the adults vanished—distinguishes it immediately and allows a whole other dimension of relationships and power inequalities to the kids’ society.

 

Sam is a good primary character. I’ve always liked reluctant heroes, especially when there’s a good villain for him to go up against—and in this book, there definitely is. Caine is the leader of the students from the exclusive private school on the hill, who immediately set themselves up as challengers to Sam and his “townie” classmates. Astrid, as Sam’s friend and confidante, manages to be wonderful and intelligent without being superior or annoying. In fact, I liked almost all of the characters, and I liked that they had distinct personalities and reacted in different ways to the events around them. Sometimes I was frustrated with them, but much of that is due to my being out of the target demographic. I would have loved these characters when I was a teenager.

 

The action moves quickly, and it’s well-paced. The book is some 500 pages, but the tension crackles from beginning to end and I didn’t think it ever got bogged down in detail or description or explanation. I finished the book and was very happy to have the next one—I wanted to find out what happened!

 

My rating: 4 stars

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