Author: Michael Grant
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from publisher
First line: One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for anyone young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a 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 did.
I read one review that likened Gone to Lord of the Flies a la Stephen King plus a little X-Men. I couldn’t have described it better myself. First of all, really try to imagine what it would be like if, one day, everyone in your town aged 15 or over disappeared. Poof. Completely gone.
Stay-at-home moms disappear, leaving their toddlers and babies alone, unattended. Teachers, day care workers, doctors and nurses. Policemen, firefighters.
The young kids look to the older kids for answers, for protection. But the oldest one is only 14 years old. I wouldn’t even let a 14-year-old babysit my kids.
Grant does a good job of showing the horror without going overboard. While some tweens and young teens could handle the book, those with a strong sense of empathy might be disturbed by the predicaments in which these kids find themselves. A 14-year-old girl taking over at the daycare, trying to take care of all the babies and toddlers, with help from her 10-year-old brother. Searching a house and finding a baby that had starved to death. Bullies taking over as the self-proclaimed leadership, and ruling with baseball bats.
That sounds awful enough, doesn’t it? Then add the fact that there is some sort of weird membrane-like dome-shaped barrier encasing the entire area. And animals are mutating. And, kids are starting to develop powers. Some of the good kids, but some of the bullies, too. Oh, and on your 15th birthday, at the very minute of your birth, you disappear. Poof. Gone.
This book is extremely well-written, with the right amount of description to put the reader right into the action – smelling the smells, seeing the sights, feeling the fear and anxiety – but not to slow the pace. It kept me turning page after page. And I will definitely be picking up book two in the series to see what happens next. Don’t let the YA label keep any of you grown-ups from picking this up! If you love a good story, this book delivers.
(I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Gone from the publisher for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage.)