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The Gone Away Place

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  31 reviews
From Stonewall Honor author Christopher Barzak comes a haunting novel of love and loss, in which a series of tornadoes rips through a small midwest town, forever altering the lives of those who live there.

Ellie heads up her high school yearbook, and until the tornadoes come, her biggest worry is how to raise enough money to print them. But since the day when a rash of powe
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Another completely biased review.
Adah McMillan
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The girl who sat slumped over in the folding metal chair in front of me wasn’t sure if she wanted to live or die. She couldn’t articulate her problem in those words, but after two decades of treating people who’ve suffered sudden catastrophic loss, I find it easy to recognize the signs. She’d survived when Death came on dark wings and slid his sword through the earth around her. And though she’d survived, she didn’t understand that the sword had cut a wound deep inside her as well, in the most ...more
Jenny Ashby
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book yesterday and have been mulling it over, trying to make a decision about what I think the main theme is, a way to sum up my feelings about it, and how to put into words all the things it is. What I have decided is that The Gone Away Place is too many things for me to put one word on it because the scope of emotions and thoughts in the book is awesome. However, the closest I can come to summing up the book for me is the word "grief". People think they know what grief means bu ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though it's not a long book it took me about two months to finish this, because I had to read it in short bursts--partially because Christopher Barzak's writing is so hauntingly beautiful that I wanted to take time to process it, and partially because the entire book was an emotional sucker punch to the gut. I don't think I've ever read another book quite like this, especially not one aimed at teens, but I think I'll remember Ellie and her friends for a very very long time.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of tragedy and grief, and how we use that as fuel to pick up the pieces. Bravo, Chris.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read much of Christopher’s work, and I’m always taken by how the tone matches the story. The tender pace here keeps readers where they need to be as they navigate Ellie’s deeply changed world with her.

The afterword struck me especially because when the 1985 tornadoes hit, I was dating (briefly) a cute guy who would go on to be a lifelong, dear friend. His uncle’s home had been destroyed in the outbreak, and my friend and his family spent the summer rebuilding it. My friend died suddenly ea
Liz Hill
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a satisfying read because it explored important themes - death, loss, grief and survivor guilt- through the lens of rich and completely believable characters. Ellie’s story, as one who accidentally survived a disaster at her school, was amplified through the added dimension of the ghosts. Their existence was deepened by the fact that Ellie wasn't alone in seeing them-- and I loved the fact that the story was not about “are the ghosts real or not?” but “what do the ghosts want and how do ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting this book to be one that struck close to home (figuratively and literally). I grew up where these tornados hit, but I wasn't living here at the time, but came to visit after and saw the devastation. Barzak did more than make this about an incident in his childhood, I think he managed to make it a story that rings true for any and all disasters that can affect one or many people.
This story could be read by the the victims of all the mass shootings, the earthquakes, the floods,
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another enthralling entry in Chris Barzak's growing library of stories about grief and the transformative power of loss. While The Gone Away Place spends most of its time dealing with ghosts, it's the survivor who is the focus. It's her journey through the tragedy that shocked her town but spared her life. The regret, the pain, and the proxy suffering is tangible on the page. When she begins to interact with the ghosts of her friends, it's even more touching and real. Filled with incredibly cons ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fictional story about a major tornado that comes through an Ohio area and the tragic events that happened to a group of high school students. Most of the students have died, but Ellie is alive. It’s a hauntingly eerie fictional story that will leave you anxious to turn the page.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A moving, heartfelt examination of community grief in the wake of mass tragedy, AKA a character study of America in 2018.
Ammar Al-Rawi
Wow. A great novel.
It has been said that disasters bring out both the best and the worst in humans, and that is clearly evident in this fascinating novel. Clearly, it is hard for the survivors of a natural disaster to go on, especially when they feel guilty for surviving or seek closure with those that have died. While its main themes seem to focus on grief, loss, and recovery, there are interesting supernatural elements in the book too. Ellie Frame is sure that she should have been in her high school along with h ...more
Jeremy Howell
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Following a fight with her boyfriend, Ellie dips out of school and retreats to the lighthouse to brood. She falls asleep thinking of the time they share there together, and the other girl her boyfriend has been spending an uncomfortable amount of time with, threatening an end to those quiet moments.

Ellie awakes to a great storm, and exits to witness an outbreak of tornadoes that essentially level the town. The school is destroyed, taking the lives of her best friends, her boyfriend, and the girl
A great middle grade novel crossing the border from realistic fiction to fantasy with some very prominent ghost stories. After picking a fight with her boyfriend, Ellie Frame cuts school, a decision which saves her life. After a series of tornados (and the resulting aftermath) destroys her school, most of her closest friends and her boyfriend are dead. Overwhelmed with grief, she ends up struggling to accept that she is not okay, and her struggle grows when she sees the ghosts of her friends...b ...more
Amanda Sanders
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a "6th Sense" or Dean Koontz feel. I would actually give it 4.5 stars if I could. The only thing I thought it lacked was a little more intensity in the climax. In the story, Ellie survives a devastating tornado that takes the life of her boyfriend and best friends. The author's description of the events that caused the tragedy were vivid and intense. The main character's reactions to the tragedy were well-thought out.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ms-appropriate
I liked it, and it is a good exploration of grief and loss. I recently finished reading George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo, and this book was an interesting companion to it. The ideas of the spirits of dead people hanging around and that place being unsafe were in both novels, which is so interesting to me.
Curt Jarrell
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New YA Fiction. Inspired by real events with a touch of the supernatural added. Relevant and powerful, a moving examination of the path forward when faced with unimaginable loss. It will speak to today's teens.
Pedro Marroquín
Este autor siempre acierta conmigo. La historia quizás sea algo juvenil, pero te acaba llegando al corazón. 6/5
Dani Walters
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, I liked the concept but overall felt it was lackluster
Sam FZ
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home
Despite the theme of this novel, the first thing that comes to my mind to qualify it is "down to earth". Chris has a way to write characters, making them so real and so not cliché, that never ceases to amaze me. The story itself was rather hard to read for me due to the main themes of loss and grieving, but in the end, it is such a lovely and hopeful story to read.

I clearly recommend reading it!
Ellie and her boyfriend, Noah, have a fight one morning before school so instead of heading inside, she huffs off and drives across town to sulk in a nearby lighthouse. That's when the tornadoes come... In the wake of the "outbreak"; nearly 100 people in a town of barely 2,000 in Ohio are dead; the area is declared a disaster zone, and Ellie had watched in stunned disbelief from her vantage point in the lighthouse as her high school exploded. This is the story of a town trying to cope with the m ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I want to say that the premise of this book is very good: a small town recovering after a natural disaster that destroyed buildings and took lives. Having lived with tornadoes for years and living through hurricanes more recently, I can understand the feeling of coming out of it and seeing how much has been lost.

I like what this book was doing in showing the grieving process. I like how it could vary by individual and culture, and the rules on who saw the ghosts and how they moved aro
Leslie Stokes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara Schultz
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected when I read the synopsis, in a good way. Also it got better the further in I got. But. I don't know. It feels fragmented with all the disconnected stories. Still. Bits of it is really good. I really did feel with so many of the side story people. Just maybe not so much with the main character.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written and full of emotion, but something just kept me from LOVING it, and I can't decide what it is. Still, I'm glad I picked it up.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, amazon-vine
Please see my review on under C. Wong. Thank you.
Steven Gellman
Didn’t enjoy this book as much as his last book Wonders of the invisible world which I really loved but still a nice book about loss and grieving.
When Ellie Frame picked a fight with her boyfriend in the school parking lot, she didn't know it would be the last time she would see Noah alive. After a freak tornado event takes out most of her school and kills 90 people in her small town, including her boyfriend and best friends, Ellie doesn't know how to cope, except to pretend she is fine. Pretend with her mom, pretend with her dad, pretend with the psychologist her parents make her see. Pretend she doesn't feel enormous guilt for surviving ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience with this author, and I'll admit to having some high hopes after reading the premise. A small Ohio town is left devastated in the wake of an outbreak of tornadoes. The main character, a senior in high school, Ellie Frame, is lucky to have not been with her friends on that fateful day. A fight with her boyfriend drives her to cut class and hide away, leaving her as the only one left alive. Wracked with grief and survivor's guilt, Ellie is not alone in seeing those who ...more
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Christopher Barzak is the author of the Crawford Award winning novel, One for Sorrow, which was made into the Sundance feature film, Jamie Marks is Dead. His second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards. His third novel, Wonders of the Invisible World, is a Stonewall Honor Book. He is also the author of Before and Afterlives, which won the Shirl ...more