Author: Michael Grant
Published: April 2009 by Katherine Tegen Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Series (Book One)
Includes: Violence, Disturbing Scenes, Eating Disorders
First Lines: I never meant for it to happen like this. But if I had the chance, there's no way I would take it all back.
During school one day, all of the adults and teenagers just suddenly disappear. Gone completely. All that's left is anyone under the age of fifteen. At first, it's like a wonderful new life for the kids: no parental guidance or rules, no one to tell you to do chores or eat healthy. But soon, this strange new life becomes a nightmare. Caine, an older student from the private school nearby, comes to town with a big posse. It doesn't take long for him to strive to be the leader, and he won't let anything get in his way. Sam, the main character of the book, is the right guy to take up the leadership position though. As their fifteenth birthdays near, and they know they'll disappear soon, they'll both have to make some serious decisions.
From Page 21
Then, without warning, the truck veered off the road. Lana stared at the empty seat where her grandfather had been a split second earlier. He was gone. The truck was going straight down.
This first book of a series was like Lord of the Flies... but on steroids. There were many parallels between the two books, but Gone was more disturbing and exciting. The first few chapters of the book extremely held my attention. With the mysterious vanishing of anyone over the age of fifteen, all the kids that were left behind reacted differently. Some cried, others cheered, some went home, others formed groups, and some took charge. Like Sam. I really loved his character. For a fourteen year old, he was very mature and courageous. He immediately stepped up and sort of became all of the kids at Perdido Beach's leader. He had the help of his crush, Astrid, and his best friend, Quinn, to calm the chaos and set things straight. The characterization was spot on and I really got to know and understand the main characters well.
Michael Grant's writing style was very interesting. He included descriptive details, so I was easily able to visualize what was happening in the story. The book began thrilling and exciting, but about halfway through things started to wind down. I could tell that the author was trying to keep the pace fast, but I think that the book was just way too long. He could have condensed his writing and tiny side-plots, to make the story not take up almost six hundred pages. However, after the slow middle section, it gets interesting again. Very interesting. Some of the kids have powers: speed, strength, teleporting, healing, etc. Even some animals are producing abnormal powers. Caine wants to be the ultimate leader of every kid living in Perdido Beach. He's heartless and manipulative - especially to the kids with special powers. Even though he's the antagonist, I really liked his character in a bad-boy sort of way. He was very believable and unpredictable. The author did a terrific job setting up his character.
There were endless amounts of questions that remained unanswered even after I finished the book. Instead of answering major questions, the author simply created new ones. I desperately hope there is a reasonable explanation for everything in the second book of the series. It almost makes me think that the author himself is uncertain about his writing and ideas. Sure, a cliffhanger ending is good for books in a series, but it seems like this one shouldn't have quite ended like it did. Almost like the next book will be the wrap-up.
I'm so glad I took the time to read this book though. It was a disturbing and addicting read. It was adventurous and creative and I can't stress enough how awesome the characterization was, especially from third-person perspective. I wouldn't be surprised if this was made into a movie; if I was a director, I wouldn't hesitate to bring this one to life.
Cover Thoughts: It's alright; I don't hate it but I don't love it. It has an air of mystery to it and makes me wonder what the book is about though.