I first learned about Gone from a review of one of my own books.
The reviewer suggested that anyone who liked the Gone novels would like mine. This raised my curiosity for obvious reasons. So I read it.
The story of Gone starts when the main character, Sam, is in high school history class and his instructor disappears in front of his eyes. The students soon figure out that all of the adults, in fact all of the kids age 15 and older, have disappeared. Poof. Gone. They also find a strange, impenetrable barrier enclosing them inside a 20 mile diameter area centered on a nuclear power plant.
Many kids looked to Sam for leadership. He was known as a bit of a hero for saving a school bus full of kids when the driver had a heart attack. But Sam doesn’t want to be a leader. All he really wants to do is surf and of course spend time with the unattainable Astrid, a beautiful blonde brainiac.
Soon a group of teens from a different school called Coates Academy, known for being home to troubled kids, arrives in town and the charismatic leader Caine takes charge. Caine has a number of toadies and minions that do his bidding. Among these are the beautiful and cruel Diana, the tech whiz Computer Jack, and the horrifically sadistic Drake.
Apparently some strange things started happening prior to the disappearance of the grown ups. Some of the kids were developing special powers. Sam can shoot lasers from his hands. Caine can use the force and throw objects. There’s the chameleon. There’s one that can teleport and there’s one that’s really fast. And of course, they’re on both sides of this conflict between the Perdido kids and the Coates Academy kids.
There’s a neat little romance plot that goes throughout between Sam and Astrid. Our heroes are 14 years old, so it’s a constrained and appropriate romance. The focus of the book is certainly on figuring out what happened and dealing with the inevitable problems that occur in a town full of kids with no adult supervision.
I particularly liked the story line of I think it was Albert, a kid who took charge of the local McDonald’s and started to operate it, serving up chicken nuggets and interesting waffle burgers (the buns went stale). I also enjoyed the plot line with Lana who for most of the book is separate from the main story line. She has a horrific experience that leads her to discover her own powers.
I found Gone to be very fast paced, without excessive description and exposition. While the idea that suddenly all of these people would disappear at a specific age is far fetched, Michael Grant does a reasonable job of explaining why this happened. It doesn’t really matter, since I like far fetched plots.
I highly recommend Gone. It’s an easy read, an interesting one, and very engaging. It forced me to stay up well past my bedtime to finish it, and I struggled to sleep afterwards as I relived the climatic scenes of the story.