Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant
When their teacher literally disappears from the classroom, students in Perdido Beach,
California discovers that all the adults as well as anyone over the age of fourteen are gone as well. In the panic that ensues, Sam Temple, his best friend, Quinn, and a girl they only know as Astrid the Genius struggle to figure out what is going on. No phones are working, internet is down, and they soon realize they are trapped inside an egg-shaped wall around their community.
As the local bullies start to take-over, the three search for Astrid’s autistic brother, Pete. Their journey takes them through the Clifftop Hotel and all the way to the nuclear plant before they find him playing his video game. They return to town to find the kids from Coates Academy, a rich kid and somewhat juvenile delinquent school, want to assert leadership over everything. The leader, Caine, and his girlfriend, Diana, size things up including the different powers that many of those left behind are beginning to exhibit.
Soon the town bullies and Caine’s “sheriff,” Drake come head to head until Drake takes complete control. When a girl they know is beaten by the thugs and dies shortly after, Sam feels helpless as to what to do. He doesn’t want to be the captain everyone expects of him. He just wants to surf and be a regular kid. Caine thinks Sam is a threat to his rule and sends Drake to kidnap Astrid and Pete. To his grief, he learns that Quinn is the one who turned him in for being “different.” Caine explains that Sam’s parents were also his. Sam’s mother gave Caine up for adoption but kept Sam. Caine is overwhelmed with hatred for Sam and plans to kill him. Drake busts in with the information that Astrid and Pete escaped—just poofed in the air. Later when Quinn begs Sam’s forgiveness and helps him escape, they rush to find Astrid and Pete before Drake and his team do.
Sam rescues both in the nick of time and they outrun Caine’s people onto another part of the town where they meet, Lana, a girl who has the power to heal. She saves them from an attack by coyotes that have somehow mutated in size and the ability to talk. They see other mutations in other animals as well. She tells them of the “Darkness,” something down in the mine that controls the animals and is bent on destroying humans. Sam begins to work on learning how to use his powers. He realizes they have to go back to town and face Caine before both of their fifteenth’s birthday in two days. There seems to be something that makes a person disappear when they reach that number, though it’s uncertain whether they die or just leave The Fayz, as the kids have renamed the town.
I LOVED this book. I picked it up in the library by chance and don’t regret it. The characters are real. They’re not perfect, they lose faith, get angry, hurt, pulled out of themselves. They learn to defeat the chaos and evil that has triumphed till now, they need to join together and fight. It was a bit confusing in tiny spots as to what the “Darkness” is and why it’s in the story but I feel confident the author will show us in the books ahead. Yes, this is Book One. Next would be, The Hunger. I’m going to put that book in my tbr pile as soon as I’m able. Enjoy, everyone.