Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant

gone2Title: Gone
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.)

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23 Responses to Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant

  1. Kathy says:

    This sounds like a teenagers dream until it actually happens – then it would be a nightmare. I think the book sounds great!
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review: Lone Star Legend =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – exactly! Most kids think “no parents – cool!” until the reality of it sets in.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I think my daughter would like this. She seems to be attracted to the dystopian novels. I’m off to the library website!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..When Teachers Talk – Rosalyn S. Schnall =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – revisiting this review has reminded me that I want to read it aloud to my kids!

  3. Alita says:

    Your description of what life is like without adults had me mesmerized. Great review! I really want to read this series.
    .-= Alita´s last blog ..Monday Round Up (01.25.10) =-.

  4. The description and premise reminds me of the tv series Jeremiah (I think that’s what it’s called). A strange disease wiped out all post-puberty people, leaving all the children to fend for themselves. It’s a pretty harsh world-view, but it would most likely be a bleak world.
    .-= The Kool-Aid Mom´s last blog ..She Is Too Fond of Books ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kool-Aid – I’ve never heard of Jeremiah – but sounds like something I would like. I’ll have to see if it’s available on DVD.

  5. Kristen Howe says:

    Sounds like an eerie futuristic book to read, that you really enjoyed. From the way you reviewed the book, it sounds like you’ve nailed it down. An interesting premise. P.S. I’ve just starting out and learning about ARC reviewing. Any tips? I got mine from Book Chick City’s Suspense/Thriller Challenge to do real soon.
    .-= Kristen Howe´s last blog ..Evil Be Aware =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kristen – in my experience, if you continue to write well-written reviews, the publishers and/or authors will find you and you’ll be offered ARCs to review. It does take some time, though.

  6. Debbie
    Twitter: debworldofbooks

    I really enjoyed this one but didn’t care for book 2 as much. The part about the poor babies and toddlers was one of the worst parts for me since I can’t imagine what would happen to my 2yr old in that sort of situation.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Street Game by Christine Feehan =-.

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  8. Tarik says:

    I absolutely loved reading this book. It is an fantastic novel by Michael Grant. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves reading. It`s quiet a thick book, but the author did a wonderfull job to make it a great page-turner.
    Tarik from The Netherlands

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Tarik – it is a great page-turner – I’m reading it again – this time aloud to my kids, and we’re all enjoying it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey dude, it’s everyone 15 and older not 14 like everyone keeps saying. I mean they talk about their next birthday, when they turn 15. The entire group they focus on are 14. I don’t see how everyone misses it, they say it all the time.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Hey, Anonymous Dude – I reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book. That is a copy that is not the final published book, and changes are often made. In the Advanced Copy, the age was 14. It got changed before publication. Dude.

  10. Ivy says:

    So, apparently you all don’t know Stephen King very well. Or maybe I’m just a big fan. But here’s a quote for you all that I conveniently found on the back cover of the book:

    “If Stephen King had written Lord of the Flies, it might have been a little like this.”

    Yes, it would have been exactly like this. The entire book made me a little irritated. Grant has pulled key points from Stephen King’s works and warped them into something a ten year old- or a somewhat dull teen- would read easily.

    Desperation, The Regulators, and Under The Dome share enormous amounts of similarities with Grant’s book. It’s as if all three were ripped apart, crushed together, and twisted into a strange children’s novel that could remind some of us vaguely of Lord of the Flies. Yes, it’s long. Yes, Grant has some idea of what he’s doing, but I would almost guess what was going to happen next after the coyotes began to pop up.

    Solution: Kill it with fire.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Ivy – Isn’t it great when a book provokes such a strong reaction? I admit that I don’t know King’s work very well, as horror is one of the few genres I don’t read – although I did enjoy his memoir, On Writing. I enjoyed Gone; my kids enjoyed Gone when I read it aloud to them, and I know others who thought it was just okay. Variety of opinion is what’s so great about the book world. I will point out, however, that King’s Under the Dome came out after Grant’s Gone, so Grant couldn’t have stolen any elements from that particular book.

  11. Mark
    Twitter: mvching


    I just finished Gone. Did you know that Under the Dome was published in 2009, while Gone was published in 2008? Did you know that there is evidence that Stephen King had read Gone in late 2008, or early 2009? So who copied who?

    I am a Stephen King fan too, but all these accusations of Gone copying Stephen King should be halted. Stephen loves the Gone series, so we should read them and love them, too.

  12. Steph says:

    Really scary book- totally agree with reviewer.
    By the way, they actually disappear at 15, not 14…

  13. DEATHMACHINE says:

    even im 11 but this book is awesome i would love too be sam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. DEATHMACHINE says:

    im 11 but this book is awsome i would love too be sam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11