Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Review: "Gone" by Michael Grant


Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents-unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers-that grow stronger by the day. 

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.

The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, GONE is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

My Review:

Hopefully by now you guys have heard of this series.  Book 2 which is out already called "Hunger" is screaming for me to read it, but you guys know my rule... no two books in a series back to back.  Aarrgghh.... why did I ever have to promise myself that?!?!  So, hopefully you are getting the point that this one goes on my "DO NOT TOUCH UNLESS YOU ARE ME" bookshelf.  Still not sure how much I liked it?? When the Gang met Michael a few weeks ago and I heard what the book had in store for me, I already knew this was going to be a cool one.  I was 100% completely hooked after "Gone" kept me up at night like few books ever have.  In 3 nights, the book was completed.  Night 1-sleep at 6:00 am,  night 2-sleep at 4:30 am, and night 3-bed at 4:00 am.  Oh yeah, and I get up for work at 7:00 am.

So, here is the scoop and as usual, no spoilers, just the story line... Most of the book takes place in a tiny town called Perdido Beach and a private school called Coates academy as well as the surrounding area including a desert and some woods and the nuclear plant.  Everything is honkey-dorey and then right smack on the first page it happens, everyone over the age of 15 disappears- just vanishes. Talk about an opener.  It got my attention pretty quick.  Of course there is a reason why everyone over 14 vanishes, but telling you that would not be fair.  The other thing that goes on throughout the book is that if you were 14 when it started, and your 15th birthday comes along, well you just vanish as well.  The other quick fact before I get into the "meat" is that there is a border, a wall, which cuts through everything in it's path and is as high as the eye can see. This "wall" traps everyone inside it from leaving and everyone outside (if there is anyone outside) from entering.

With no adults and trapped within a zone, my first thought was "Lord of the Flies."  It did stick in my mind as jobs had to be established and maintained, food had to be rationed, some sort of law/justice system had to be put into place and a few other similarities.  There is a handful of main characters- the Perdido kids, led by Sam including Quinn, Astrid, her autistic, yet powerful unbeknownst to himself little brother Petey and Edilio to the Coates kids led by Caine including Drake, Diana, Computer Jack, Howard, and Orc.   Then you have Lana, who is kind of neither and does play a significant role as a "healer".  Another significant character, who happens to be a talking coyote (he was given the ability to do this by "the darkness", who I am not discussing at all) leads packs of coyotes and desires the knowledge to destroy all humans.  Shortly before people started to vanish, there was something strange going on, children developing powers such as super speed, the ability to levitate and move objects and people, a strange and powerful light beam shooting from people's hands, teleportation, and a few others that i'm leaving out intentionally.  So really there are 2 mysteries going on here.  First, what caused the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and second, where did these strange powers, which are measured by a few kids who can "read" people's strength on a scale similar to that of the reception bars on your cell.  By the end of the book, you know a bit about who and/or what started these situations, but not totally why or how.  I believe the series is going to be 5 or 6 books so there is plenty of room to figure that stuff out later.

The problem that occurs, besides the expected, like food starting to run out, people just vanishing on their 15th birthday, is really that the FAYZ ends up with 2 groups.  One leader, (Sam from Perdido) being the intelligent, good natured guy who only takes somewhat of a lead because he believes it can help his people who are looking up to him for answers to the other leader, (Caine from Coates) who is totally into the power trip (by the way, both happen to be at least a 4 bar, which is the highest power ranking detected so far) so much that he even wants to take over the Perdido crowd and be the # 1 all around.

With Sam and Caine's time running out until their 15th B-Days (which happen to be pretty close to each other, hmmm...), and the two of them, the leaders, trying to figure out what is going on, why it's going on, how things happened, and what the future holds for everyone and the FAYZ itself is a the chunk of the book.  The conflicts between both sides builds throughout and leads to a sort of war at the end between both sides.  The book ends a tiny bit after Sam and Caine's 15th birthday.

Now, I left a whole lot out intentionally (the book is appx. 550 pages), but I will tell you this... the author Michael Grant, with expert precision, had surprises and new developments around every corner, exactly where you'd least expect them but most hoped for them.  This is what made the book so hard to put down and kept me up all night.  Every time I told myself, "ok, right after this chapter, I'm done until tomorrow" there was something that shocking and exciting that I just kept going until I passed out.  The character's were each so unique and thorough, you developed feelings for each, and held emotions for them as well.  Did I forget to mention what you had probably guessed by now, that there is a tiny bit of romance involved?  I will tell you just this... Sam and Astrid, and Caine and Diana.

One of the top books I have read all year, Michael basically said when we met him that there is much more to come and it only gets better.  I can not wait to dive into "Hunger" but I will wait, as long as I can hold off! Once again, if you have read "Gone", please feel free to add your thoughts and anything else you want into the comments.  The books are widely popular, so I was hoping there would be a few out there who have something to say about this.  My most important from me--- read "Gone" asap, you won't be sorry!



  1. Hi Dave,

    I have heard of this book and I thought it sounded pretty cool. Now I know I will have to get it. Great review!

  2. I've heard about this book and I thought the idea sounded pretty cool. Nice review.

  3. Hmm... Gone does sound like a pretty good story, now that I know what it's about.

    You sound like you really liked it! ^_^ hehe

    Sorry about not commenting on the last couple posts.

  4. I've got this book on my TBR list but I think I need to move it closer to the top! Great review. I really want to read it now.

    Question - Are you guys on Twitter?

  5. I've seen this book around the blogging world. It looks and sounds good. doesn't seem like something I would read...:(

  6. This book sounds amazing - I'd heard of it before, but this is actually the first review I've read. Looks like I'm going to have to check it out.
    And what's this about no two books from a series back to back? That is pure craziness if you ask me! But I guess you didn't. :-P

  7. Oh Dave, I have read Hunger, you are going to want to totally break that rule of yours. If you thought that Gone was addicting, Hunger was twice as amazing. I'm so glad that you liked Gone though! It makes me so happy people actually like this book, and that it is getting so many positive reviews. I'm hoping to use this book as away to get my little brother into reading, although he's put off by how big it is.

    (Find the Time to Read)

  8. Jess,

    Ya know, I did actually read "Hush, Hush" after GONE and am going to review it tonight. AND Hunger is by one of the publishers that are sponsoring the contest, so I guess technically it wouldn't break either of my rules, 1. don't read 2 books of the same series back to back and 2. only read books from publishers who participated in the contest during the contest period. I finished "Hush Hush" last night, which by the way, I LOVED!!! I have not yet picked out the next book to read.... I think you might have just influenced me. I am a very fast reader, so I guess it wouldn't hurt. As long as nothing comes in the mail today (im expecting a few shipments from pubs) that JUMPS out at me and forces me to read it, my mind is made up... "Hunger" will start to be read tonight! I was kind of looking for an excuse to read it anyway and now I can blame you! In the mean time, I will review "Hush Hush" by Rebecca (or Becca) Fitzpatrick later on but it is a MUST READ, LIKE ASAP!



  9. I read Gone a while ago and I loved it. The entire premise is just so different and interesting. I honestly don't remember all of the characters because it's been so long, but I know I read it pretty quickly. I haven't read Hunger yet (I don't know why), but I have to pick it up soon.

    When I read Hunger, I definitely got a Lord of the Flies vibe from it. It amazes me that people, children, can act so harshly towards one another, but what happens is probably similar to what would happen in the given situation. It's very Lord of the Flies, but still unique at the same time. The whole situation with Caine and Sam and their connection was so intense and now that I'm thinking about it, I really want to read Hunger. I found the fight at the end of the book gripping and I was happy that Quinn was able to redeem himself a bit. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't stand Quinn, so I'm happy he could pull through and help someone other than himself.

    I think I could go on for a while, so I'll just end now by saying awesome review for an awesome book.
    :D Nikki

  10. I've seen ads up for this but hadn't taken the time to find out what the general premise was. Good to know, and interesting!

  11. Ok, forgive the mass comments all at once, but I was sick and it wasn't pretty.
    Anyways, I actually own this book but am hesitant to read it for only one reason. Can anyone explain to me WHY when there is an apocalyptic event it's always the teenagers who survive?
    Truly bewildering.

  12. I just requested this from the library because you make it sound so amazing! I can't wait to read it now! And I love books in a series because it's something to look forward too! Aw sad I'm over the age limit, I would be a goner. =[

  13. I hadn't heard of this and from your review it sounds like I need to go check it out.

  14. I loved this book! It looked so thick I didn't think I would be able to read it as fast as I did, but I couldn't put it down either! Can't wait to read the second book!

  15. I have heard a little bit about this book and thought the idea was interesting. Although I wasnt sure. You wrote such a great review though that I think I will be checking this out sooner rather than later.

  16. I've got this book on my TBR pile. I need to read it, so I can talk it up to my students. I think it's one they'd enjoy. Thanks for the review.

  17. Well, I read the first few chapters of this on the publisher's website, and found it fascinating, especially the description of how Lana discovers her healing powers. Finding out that there will be five or six books in the series made me groan, however, because I am not a patient person, and I usually want to read everything at once.