I don’t remember how I stumbled onto Michael Grant’s book Gone I was probably cruising the YA aisles in Borders looking for something new and the cover caught with the large white letters caught my attention. I am so glad I selected the book. From the first page, the reader is plunged into a world where everything has gone topsy-turvy.
On an ordinary November morning an extraordinary event occurs. Everyone over the age of 14 disappeared from Perdido Beach, California. Poofed. Gone. No more parents, teachers, cops or authority figures. Left alone, the children must survive without phones, internet or any way to communicate to the outside world.
It’s a new, dangerous world. Nicknamed the FAYZ for the Fall-Out Youth Zone, the kids must learn to work together for survival. Bullies, mutating animals and a power-hungry sociopathic teen are only the start of the troubles that will plague the already scared kids. In addition, the "littles" need round-the-clock care and there is a small problem with kids beginning to develop strange powers. A war between good and evil is unavoidable.
Although Gone features multiple characters, keeping track of each is not difficult. The shifts in action are fluid. Author Grant easily maintains the balance between action and exposition. He builds the tension in the book effortlessly.
The reader becomes acquainted with Sam Temple, Astrid Ellison, her autistic brother Little Pete and Perdido Beach newcomer Edilio Escobar. We can’t overlook Sam’s best friend and surfing buddy Quinn Gaither either. Is he friend or foe? Other older children step up in the FAYZ to help keep things organized but when school bully Orc and his sidekick Howard get out of hand, keeping order will fall to Sam.
Sam can handle bullies, bossy Astrid and even manage his own developing powers, but can he handle the arrival of the Coates Academy newcomers? Do the boarding school students want to join forces with the town kids or is there something more sinister afoot? Caine, Diana, Drake and Computer Jack seem sincere but Astrid suspects a hidden agenda.
Gone's dialogue is believable teen dialogue. The conversations could have been plucked easily from any middle school. The banter between characters in enjoyable and Grant develops their relationships quickly, building on each throughout the book.
Gone by Michael Grant was originally released in 2008. There are currently three additional books available in this series: Hunger, Lies and Plague. Book number 5 is to be released in 2012 and is titled Fear. The concluding book will be titled Light. You can check out author Michael Grant on GoodReads or at Harper Teen.
Gone is a recommended read. This is now one of my favorite YA series and I am really looking forward to the release of Fear next year.