Series: Gone (#1)
Author: Michael Grant
Published: June 24th, 2008
Summary: The first in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's breathtaking dystopian, sci-fi saga, Gone is a page-turning thriller that invokes the classic The Lord of the Flies along with the horror of Stephen King.
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.
There are teens, but not one single adult. 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...
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
“But if all they did was kill time, time would end up killing them.”
This book was a lot darker than I expected it to be when I picked it up. I thought it'd be a sort of adventure book aimed at 12-14 years old (since that's how old all the main characters are), and most books for young teens are not particularly dark. The kids in this novel went through so much pain and evil that you had to feel bad for them. Many of them die in painful ways, and those who don't manage to get killed off suffer right alongside them.
So pretty much the setting goes like this: there's a small town that lives right next to this giant nuclear power plant. Years ago there was a "once-in-a-million-years" accident, and even though all the radiation's been cleaned up the area's nicknamed "Fallout Alley."
Then, one day, the impossible happens. Every single person age 15 or above disappears in a heartbeat. No lights, no screams, just popping out of reality. All the kids freak (as to be expected), and try to figure out where their families, teachers, neighbors, and classmates went. While trying to figure this mystery out, they find a wall of some type of energy surrounding them, preventing them from leaving the area around town. All the adults are missing and they can't find help. They're stuck on their own. TO make things even more shaky, the students at a school for troubled kids on top of the hill are coming down to see what's going on, and no one knows if they can be trusted.
Sam, who's turning 15 in a few weeks, tries to figure out what's going on with a few of his friends (Astrid, Quinn, and Edilio). Everything they manage to find out makes less sense than what they started out with, and they begin to notice changes in the wildlife and themselves. Some things in the "FAYZ" (what the kids nicknamed the bubble they're stuck in) are beginning to mutate.
Like I said above, I thought this would be sort of an adventure novel. Instead, I picked up a survival novel. It wasn't a bad thing, just unexpected. The kids in this book are in an all-out war against each other and the ultimate issue of running out of supplies. The mutations lead the kids to become scared of others and themselves, and bring violence and death. I have to admit, the cover also lead me down the wrong path, along with the fact that the first few chapters were not super serious either. But then I came across sentences like this...
“The pain was her whole world now. Pain and fear.”
Woah! Dark. At times (especially stuff that Drake does *shudder*) the book got all-out morbid. Some of the characters don't even feel remorse for such terrible acts of inhumanity. Some examples (highlight to see): they stuck kids's hands in cement for weeks to stop them from using powers, a girl gets beat to death by a baseball bat, a boy gets his arm amputated, along with several other horrid things. When I read them I was just stunned. Everyone was so young, but some of the were, by no means of exaggeration, psychopaths! Not for the faint of heart. One kid also is an alcoholic at age fourteen, because he feels such extreme guilt for the death of another kid since the FAYZ began. That bit threw me off a bit, since he's fourteen. But anyway, I've made my point, violence level is high and there are some other mature parts that were shocking since everyone in this book's a kid. Moving on!
One thing I wasn't exactly on board with was Quinn's character. Sam's always like "oh, he's my best friend. We're like brothers," but while Sam is valiant and smart, Quinn is rude and cowardly. He makes racist jokes, chooses the safe route instead of protecting his friends, and overall just seems like a prime character to punch in the face. I sort of thought at the start that Sam, Astrid, and Quinn were like a perfect reflection of Harry, Hermione, and Ron from the Harry Potter series (they are respectively supposed to be brave, smart, and funny) but in the places Ron seemed funny and witty, Quinn was a jerk.
I liked the book mostly, although it's nowhere close to being a favorite. If I can find a copy of the next book at my local library (Hunger), i may read it, but I won't put it towards the top of my to-read list. I recommend it to dystopian fans, especially ones who are still teens.
Some Other Reviews for "Gone" (may contain spoilers):