Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Teen/YA Review: Gone

I finished up my June reading with an audio book for #BigBookSummer, Gone by Michael Grant, a YA science fiction thriller. It's book one of nine in a series, but this exciting, mysterious adventure stands well on it's own. 

In the small town of Perdido Beach on the California coast, a group of ninth-graders are in class one day when their teacher suddenly disappears. In fact, they soon discover that at the same instant, all over town, every person over the age of 15 disappeared. The kids frantically check their homes and soon confirm this horrifying fact. They don't know why this bizarre thing happened in their town, and attempts to leave the town don't work. The story focuses in on a few of these ninth-graders, including Sam, who considers himself an ordinary kid, not quite fitting into any of the middle-school cliques. Sam's best friend, Quinn, is the quintessential surfer dude, completely laid back, and the boys share their common passion of surfing. Astrid is well-known as the smartest girl in school, already taking AP and college classes. Sam's had a secret crush on her but doesn't think she notices him. And Edilio is the new kid in school, so no one knows him very well. These four come together to check their own houses and then just naturally begin trying to help the younger kids. Everyone is freaked out, so they try to organize things a bit. A classmate named Mary, along with her younger brother, takes over at the local daycare, where babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are panicked and alone. Of course, there is a group of bad guys in this apocalyptic tale, bullies who now see a chance to grab even more power. All of the kids are trying to survive, while also trying to figure out what happened and how to reverse it ... and they're wondering what will happen when these fourteen-year-olds begin to hit their birthdays? But the weirdest thing about this novel is that all the adults disappearing is not the weirdest thing to happen in the coming days! Not by a long shot.

As more bizarre, unexplainable things happen to the abandoned kids in Perdido Beach, the tension rises in this unique novel. It's described as "Lord of the Flies for the 21st-century," and that seems fairly accurate as things heat up between the bullies and the rest of the kids (why do apocalypses seem to bring out the worst in humanity?). But there are also all kinds of strange, fantastical things happening to the kids and in the town, bringing in elements of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. It's an action-packed, fast-paced thrill ride that grabs you from the first sentences and never lets go. I listened to it on audio, and I wasn't thrilled with the narrator, who attempted different voices for the different characters with varying degrees of success. The suspense and the high-wire tension kept me listening, though. The main characters are likable and fully fleshed-out, the action is intense, and the plot was filled with surprises. I very much enjoyed this bizarre, rollercoaster ride of a story.

576 pages, Katherine Tegen Books

Tantor Audio

This book fits in the following 2022 Reading Challenges:

Big Book Summer Challenge

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible.


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  1. What an interesting premise! I wondered, too, if they would disappear when they turned 15.

    1. That deadline creates a lot of suspense!