Series: Gone #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 24, 2008
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In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.
There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
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, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your 15th birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...
Sam just wants to continue flying under the radar and hang out with his best friend. But after a mysterious event leaves him and a motley crew of teenagers and kids looking for answers in a town with no adults, he’s forced to step up and take a leadership position. Unfortunately, not everyone is in support of his decisions and it leads to an all our war zone in what was once a small, quiet beach town. And weird things keep happening. People are developing powers, animals are mutating, and who knows what else is coming.
I was surprised with how much I loved this book. It was a non stop, action packed adventure from start to finish. Though the story is told from multiple character’s perspectives, it mainly follows the story of Sam, an unlikely hero who has no interest in being a hero. I really enjoyed the multiple narratives as it really gave a lot of insight into who everyone was and what they wanted. You had some people who just wanted their parents, some who were hungry for power, some who wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of, and some people who flat out did not give a crap. It was really cool to see all these different personalities and perspectives clashing and coming together. It was an entire world on a smaller scale, being made sense of by kids and honestly, it was pretty damn interesting. The world of the series is strange because it takes place in a small beach town by some sort of nuclear reactor and it introduces the idea of mutation in both the animals and the kids, allowing for a setting that is doubly dangerous and one that will keep you guessing.
The characters are well rendered and fleshed out nicely. Although we do follow Sam more than most other characters, I still felt like all the characters were developed and unique. The fact that they all had different ideologies and methods for coping with the events in the novel made for some truly amazing moments of understanding and empathy. It felt realistic in a way that could be applied to any world when confronted with a cataclysmic event and the fact that our entire cast is under 15 was such a great idea and provided substantial commentary on the way the world sees and understands (or doesn’t understand) young people. Because I’m 31 and I have no idea how I’d react to something like this, but I certainly saw myself in some of these characters and it made me happy.
There are so many different sorts of relationships represented in these pages and they all go through significant development and change and I found it pretty remarkable. Because most things evolve under different kinds of pressure and this was no different. Sam grapples with the deterioration of his relationship with his best friend, the loss of his parents, the burgeoning romance between him and a classmate he’s had a crush on, and the complicated dynamic between him and his enemies and the people who want to be in charge. The writing itself, though simplistic, was fraught with tension and anticipation and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. In fact, as soon as I finished, I went out and bought the rest of the series. It was that compelling. This book is the kind of book you don’t realize you’re still thinking about days later. It sneaks up on you and at first you think it’s a story about a bunch of kids being kids in a world gone to hell, but that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about choosing what sort of person you want to be and leading by example. I think we all sort of find out what we’re made of when the chips start falling and this entire novel describes that process and it was awesome. If you like science fiction or dystopian novels with a cast of complex characters coming to terms with who they are and the world they live in WITH SUPERPOWERS, check this out. You won’t be disappointed.