Dawn's Reviews > Gone

Gone by Michael  Grant
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Nov 28, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, ya, dystopian

Good not great.

I thought the concept was pretty brilliant: one day everyone fifteen and over disappears. They just poof away mid-teaching, mid-cooking, mid-driving, etc. Now imagine all the possibilities there are to explore. What would happen to the kids in school, the kids in day care? What about all the kids at home with their parents? What would happen to a kid who's riding in a car with an adult? Even once you dealt with all of these things, how could a group of kids 14 and younger live in a sustainable way? How long would water run, how long would lights stay on, how long would food last? Seriously, there are endless things to explore!

I felt the author did a good job of showing how bewildered and confused all of the kids are initially. However, he does not deal with any of the long-term issues. There is electricity and water without any adults working at the nuclear plant nearby, and no mention of where the water's from. There is only one grocery store and a McDonalds which apparently is supposed to sustain the kids forever. I know it could be boring to read about the minutiae of survival, but hand waving it away definitely ruins all of the world building.

Maybe the target audience won;t care as much, because this book seems like it would be for 11-14 year olds. I feel like writing all the 15+ out makes you feel like an outsider when reading the book. I'd assume if you are younger it would immediately get you thinking about how you react to this if it were to happen to you, whereas it was much more hypothetical for me, at 27, as I barely remember what I was and wasn't able to do at that age. However, I wouldn't go much lower than eleven because the book was pretty violent.

Anyway, the story centers around a kid named Sam who has been heroic in the past but isn't sure he want to step up and lead this group of kids. His best friend Quinn is a kind of stupid surfer dude who is much less able to cope in this new world. There's also the "love interest" Astrid who is very smart (everyone says she is a genius, but she isn't THAT smart). Astrid also has a younger autistic brother named Pete. Last of the group is Edilio, who is a good guy who steps up to the plate when this all goes down.

Then there's a group of bullies Orc and Howard and Cookie who want to take over and "rule". But then there's also a prep school called Coates Academy (for "problem" kids) which has its own group of kids who want to rule. So it's these three groups of kids half working together but also against each other. There's scheming and violence, and a couple of the kids are sociopaths, and then it turns out that some of them have super powers. Yeah, super powers. Then there's a whole other subplot with a girl named Lara who finds this "darkness" at the bottom of a mine shaft that's controlling talking coyotes, who have mutated just like the kids. Yeah, talking coyotes.

So how does this all fit together? It kind of doesn't. The author jumps from plot to plot. People appear and then don't get mentioned again for pages. People get lost but then turn up a hundred pages later with no real mention of what they've been doing. The narration shifts randomly, mostly focusing on Sam's group and the Coates kids, but then will flash over to Lara. It also occasionally jumps to the girl running the daycare and the boy cooking burgers at the McDonalds. So that's a bit of a mess, and there's no real character development.

I know I'm making it sound bad, but it's just very plot heavy with plenty of twists and turns. It keeps you interested (especially at the beginning), but eventually gets bogged down with all the characters and plots and everything.

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Reading Progress

November 28, 2011 – Shelved
December 3, 2011 – Started Reading
December 4, 2011 –
page 50
8.93%
December 11, 2011 –
page 100
17.86%
December 11, 2011 –
page 150
26.79%
December 12, 2011 –
page 200
35.71%
December 12, 2011 –
page 250
44.64%
December 13, 2011 –
page 300
53.57%
December 14, 2011 –
page 350
62.5%
December 15, 2011 –
page 400
71.43%
December 16, 2011 –
page 500
89.29%
December 16, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
December 16, 2011 – Shelved as: ya
December 16, 2011 – Finished Reading
December 24, 2011 – Shelved as: dystopian

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