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Gone Hardcover – June 24, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—"One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone." Just vanished—along with everyone else over the age of 13 in a 20-mile radius around Perdido Beach, CA. The children left behind find themselves battling hunger, fear, and one another in a novel strongly reminiscent of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Things go from bad to worse when some of the children begin exhibiting strange powers, animals show signs of freakish mutations, and people disappear as soon as they turn 14. Though an excellent premise for a novel, Gone suffers from a couple of problems. First, it is just too long. After opening with a bang, the initial 200 or so pages limp along before the action begins to really pick up. Secondly, based on the themes of violence, death, and implied sexual intimidation, this is clearly written for an older teen audience who may not appreciate the fact that no one in the book is older than 13. In spite of its faults, Gone is a gripping and gritty read with enough creepy gruesomeness to satisfy readers who have a taste for the macabre. Give this one to the readers who aren't quite ready for Stephen King or Dean Koontz.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
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*Starred Review* It’s a scenario that every kid has dreamed about: adults suddenly disappear, and kids have free reign. In this case, though, it’s everyone 14 and older who disappears, and the harsh reality of such unreal circumstances isn’t a joyride after all. A girl driving with her grandfather plunges into a horrific car wreck; gas burners left on ignite a home with a young child trapped inside; food and medical supplies dwindle; and malicious youths take over as the remaining children attempt to set up some form of workable society. Even stranger than the disappearance of much of humanity, though, are the bizarre, sometimes terrifying powers that some of the kids are developing, not to mention the rapidly mutating animals or the impenetrable wall 20 miles in diameter that encircles them. This intense, marvelously plotted, paced, and characterized story will immediately garner comparisons to Lord of the Flies, or even the long-playing world shifts of Stephen King, with just a dash of X-Men for good measure. A potent mix of action and thoughtfulness—centered around good and evil, courage and cowardice—renders this a tour-de-force that will leave readers dazed, disturbed, and utterly breathless. Grant’s novel is presumably the first in a series, and while many will want to scream when they find out the end is not the end, they’ll be glad there’s more in store. Grades 6-9. --Ian Chipman
Top Customer Reviews
So how would you update it for the 21st century? How do you achieve the sudden enforced isolation of a group in an alien environment? In an era of GPS and satellite communications, it's hard to disappear, impossible to isolate. "The Truman Show" suggested a way that might work for one person, and "Gone" borrows some ideas from this world-in-a-bubble, but as the idiom goes "that doesn't scale". How about the characters - and the audience? And who is the audience, anyway? Golding wrote his masterpiece as an allegory for all ages, but that's a rare achievement.
Michael Grant decides to focus on the "young adult" audience, which means that the book has to compete in a world of "Buffy", reality TV, and videogames. In keeping with the zeigeist, the isolation of the young protagonists is achieved through a science fiction device: a "rapture of the adults". And the games begin.
OK, so I'm not the target audience of this book, but no matter. If adults can cross over to "Harry Potter", I don't see why I can't enjoy "Gone". And I did. Mostly. The first half of the book is really strong: some great scenes that Golding would have enjoyed.Read more ›
The kids from Coates Academy come down to the town of Perdido Beach, and one of them, named Caine, basically takes over. He acts as if he's benevolent, but people are dying, and it's because his sheriff and Captain Orc's little gang of bullies keep beating people up who break the rules imposed on them by Caine. And while some of these rules are actually valid, others prevent people from gaining any power to oppose Caine.
Sam, Quinn, Edilio, Astrid, and Little Pete find themselves thrown together for survival. Sam knows that something is off about Caine, and he also has a power to shoot fire from his hands. They are constantly running from Caine or one of his allies. They eventually meet a girl Lana, who is a healer, and discover that Little Pete has special abilities of his own. When they save a bunch of kids with power from Caine, who had them imprisoned with their hands cemented in blocks, the kids join their movement to take Caine down. The struggle escalates, and all their lives are at stake.
When I first read the summary for this book, I was extremely intrigued. This new world is almost like a parallel universe.Read more ›
Where do I start with this review? I wanted so badly to love this book, but halfway through I told my husband, "I love the plot, but I can't stand the characters." Still, I was perfectly prepared to give this book a give 4- or 5-star recommendation... until the last 20 pages. Light spoilers ahead.
The plot is everything you could want from a dystopian sci-fi YA novel. On the first page, everyone in town over the age of 14 disappears completely, and it's immediately up to the remaining kids to figure out how to survive in a world that becomes increasingly creepy. The children are obviously ill-prepared to take care of, say, all the abandoned babies in town, and the result is dark, gritty, and satisfyingly creepy. In addition to all this, the town is also enclosed in a mystical soap bubble, and the town threatens to be overrun by talking coyotes and flying rattlesnakes. Seriously, this is an awesome plot.
But the characters...! This book feels like it was written by taking a bunch of recent popular YA books and trying to Frankenstein the characters together out of various YA tropes. There's Sam "Harry Potter" Everyman, a nice, strong, solid, dependable, totally average guy with a propensity towards heroics and to whom everyone instinctively looks up. There's Astrid "Percy Jackson" Sexy-Smart, whose job is to provide exposition and romantic angst and who is literally referred to in-text as both a "Genius" and a "Barbie" doll. (Astrid, being female, will not be allowed to do anything useful in the novel that doesn't entail snogging the protagonist or looking after small children.) And, of course, there's the ineffectual Sidekick Guy who spends the whole novel sulking because he's not as cool as his protagonist buddy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hoping to get to know the characters better in the next book in this series. The story is very cool.Published 22 days ago by Dominik Eugene Cyr
Gone is a great book. I love the characters. I definitely recommend this book.Published 2 months ago by christine bishop
Easy teenage drama. Reminds me of under the dome by Stephen King...but with a better plot. Going to but the next book.Published 3 months ago