I always think its kind of lazy to compare books to other novels, but I almost have to in this instance. Gone by Michael Grant is a delicious mix of one part Lord of the Flies, one part Stephen King's The Stand and one part Harry Potter. Since those are three of my all-time favorite books, its safe to say that I enjoyed Gone. A lot.
Gone is an interesting blend of horror, romance and sci-fi written with a young adult audience in mind, but adults will enjoy this book, too. There's a lot going on in the story -- which seems to be the first of at least a trilogy, based on the open ending and numerous loose ends still waving in the air. I hope this is the case, because I'm eager to learn more about what lies ahead for Sam, Astrid, Caine and the others.
It's hard to review this book without spoiling the complex and fantastic plot. Basically, the story begins when every adult over the age of 14 "poofs" out of existance. Suddenly, 14-year-olds are running the town, trying to ration food, deal with bullies, and care for the "littles" too young to look after themselves now that their parents have vanished. Natural leaders emerge, as well as the unavoidable power struggles that go hand-in-hand with crisis. More interesting, though, something else is also emerging. Animals are going through rapid evolutionary changes -- snakes can suddenly fly, seagulls have talons, and then there are the coyotes....
The kids in town are also having their own changes to deal with. Some suddenly are experiencing strange powers that they don't understand and can't control. Searching for help would seem like the logical option, if it weren't for the seamless dome that suddenly has appeared around a 10 mile radius of town....
This is an excellent read. Very engrossing and though disturbing at times (the parent in me just can't get past very bad things happening to very young children, even in a work of fiction!) one I would recommend to any lover of science fiction.
One minute life is normal at Perdido Beach for fourteen-year-old Sam and his friends. The next, everyone fifteen and older is gone in a blink, disappeared without a trace. The startled remaining kids must find some inner strength in order to survive in a world without adults.
For Sam, it isn't just about survival, it's also about racing against the clock. His fifteenth birthday is days away, and he needs to find out how to survive it without disappearing like the others did. Sam can't just sit back and ponder about that particular moment, however. He and his new and old friends Quinn, Astrid, Edilio, and others must battle dim-witted local bullies such as Orc and his sidekick Howard, as well as face new challenges from the corrupt crew of Coates Academy kids--the private boarding school up the road said to house troubled rich kids--led by the power-hungry Caine.
To make matters even direr, it isn't JUST about the bullies and the dangerous outsiders. More and more kids are discovering that they have impossible magical powers. These include the powers to heal, transport...and to destroy. The rift between the "freaks" and the "normals" widen, which Sam is afraid of, because they must all bond together in the face of a common impending doom...or else they will all perish.
GONE is a high-action, high-concept rollercoaster of a read. Don't be daunted by its 500-plus pages; after all, Harry Potter books had more! Prepare to be excited and awed by the extent of Grant's admittedly crazy imagination.
Reviewed by The Story Siren for TeensReadToo.com
This is my first exposure to Michael Grant's writing, and he totally blew me away. Maybe it was because I am partial to the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but truthfully I don't think that had anything to do with it. This story was just.... WOW!
Imagine sitting in class one day, maybe you are paying attention to your teacher, maybe you are daydreaming about surfing, then all of a sudden your teacher disappears. What would you do?
It just so happens that this very scenario happens to Sam Temple in his history class. It turns out his teacher isn't the only one missing; everyone over the age of thirteen is missing. Not just missing but disappeared. No cell phones, no television, no Internet. Poof, gone!
Sam has been in a horrific experience like this before. Well, maybe not exactly like this. Sam had saved a bunch of kids on a school bus after the driver had a heart attack, good ole' School Bus Sam. Sam was a natural leader, but he didn't feel like it. Now everyone is looking up to him for answers, but all Sam feels is guilt. Guilt because there is a possibility that this was his fault. Sam has this little problem -- he can shoot beams of light and burn people's hands off. Literally. But I guess things like that happen when you live in Fallout Alley.
Thankfully, Sam isn't alone. He has his best friend and surfer brah, Quinn; the genius, Astrid, who Sam has secret feelings for; and the faithful and dependable Edilio.
Of course, in any untamed civilization, there is always a power struggle, those who have it and those who want to take it away. It turns out that Sam isn't the only one who has "powers." When the kids from the private school, Coates Academy, show up, Sam and Astrid realize there is something more going on. It also doesn't help that the kids from Coates and the kids from Perdido don't exactly get along.
Caine from Coates Academy comes in, dazzles everyone with his charm, and takes control of the FAYZ, a.k.a. Fallout Alley Youth Zone. Caine has his own secrets. He has powers of his own. And if he thinks your powers might be a threat to him, he takes care of you one way or another. But when Caine's sinister sidekick, Drake, allows a girl to be beaten to death with a baseball bat for doing a "magic trick," things go from bad to worse.
Caine knows that everyone looks up to Sam as a leader; so begins the battle of good vs. evil. Besides, Caine has his own hidden agenda toward Sam. Oh! And did I mention that when you turn fourteen, you poof, too? So not only does Sam have to save this new world, but he will also be fourteen in a week or so. No worries, though. Yeah, right!
There are so many twists and turns in the plot of GONE that you won't be able to put this book down until it's, well, gone. But don't fret, this is only the beginning of a six-part series. The characters are well-developed. I love when you feel like you really connect with characters, and this was one of those experiences. You not only get to experience Sam's part of the story but the views of many other characters. There is action, suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy all rolled into one.
GONE is a spectacular beginning to what I can only hope will be a thrilling series! Amazing!!!
My 11 year old daughter...
"No adults. Anyone 15 or over disappears. Everyone looks up to School Bus Sam Temple for help.
In 12 days Sam will disappear like everyone else, leaving them behind to fend for themselves from coyotes, bullies, kids from Coates Acadamy. Most of all Sam wants to get rid of the two most dangerous kids, Caine and Drake from Coates Acadamy. Will Sam find a way to NOT disappear? Will he defeat Caine and Drake for good?
AMAZING! I loved this book! The clearness, perfect pace, and the amazing characters made me NOT put down GONE! Anyone will enjoy the mysterious case of GONE. I cant wait to read the next book in the series Hunger.
Put GONE on your to-read list!"
Adult reviewer here. I found this a captivating book. Very exciting. But it also has sadistic and creepy elements that might not be for everyone, particularly younger readers. (The Lord of the Flies with a paranormal edge.) Much is left unresolved for the sequel.....which I'll be reading.