Gone by Michael Grant
From the hallway they heard a rising cacophony of voices. Loud, scared, some babbling as if it would be okay as long as they didn’t stop talking. Some voices were just wild.
It wasn’t a good sound. It was frightening all by itself, that sound.
“Come with us, Astrid, okay?” Sam said. “We’ll be safer together.”
Astrid flinched at the word “safer.” But she nodded.
This school was dangerous now. Scared people did scary things sometimes, even kids. Sam knew that from personal experience. Fear could be dangerous. Fear could get people hurt. And there was nothing but fear running crazy through the school.
Life in Perdido Beach had changed. Something big and terrible had happened.
Sam hoped he was not the cause.
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Without any warning, everyone over 14-years-old disappears. Poof. Gone. There are no adults, but there’s also no communication out or in. The area surrounding Perdido Beach is cut off from the rest of the world with no escape. Bullies take over, and weird things start to happen. Kids develop strange powers. Animals mutate. And the moment you turn 15, you disappear like everyone else.
This was a fun read, and I can see how it would appeal to teens. These kids parents are gone, their teachers, cops, doctors, everyone in their life who has ever taken care of them have disappeared. And as much as teens like to be in charge of their own lives, the idea of all the adults being gone is terrifying. Especially since the oldest people there are only 14. It’s not even like these are kids who have jobs, drive cars, or have any sort of adult responsibilities. Anyway, the concept of the book is genius. I felt moments of panic just like the characters did.
And then there are the bullies, made ten times worse because now they have powers. All kids deal with bullies at some time or another, so I thought this part of the story would also really hit home with teens reading this book. These bullies are more than just the steal-your-lunch-money type–these guys can and will kill you.
I think what I enjoyed the most is that the fear in this book plays off fears that teen readers can imagine easily, so they can really experience the emotions the characters are experiencing. I also loved the main characters. Sam Temple, the one who we see most of the story from, is an average boy who has always tried to fade into the background–like so many 14-year-old boys do–but in the face of these deadly bullies, he can’t do that any more. And he has to struggle with who he is, because he has power to kill just like the bullies. He has to make a conscious decision to not allow his power to overtake him.
Great read for teens. And a good one for teen guys too. Eventually, I will read the next book. I am a little exhausted after reading all 558 pages of this one. It’s an intense read, and I need a bit of a break before moving on.
*news about gone*
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