Random Review No. 1: Gone by Michael Grant

Welcome to Random Review. This is a new feature where I’ll talk about recent books that really wowed us!  Unlike the Book Bag, here we’ll only talk about one title at a time.

Title: Gone
author: Michael Grant
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008
Copy Type: advance reader copy

Audience: Read Together: 10 and up; Read Yourself: 12 and Up

The story opens with the kids sitting in school, going about their usual day. Then everything changes in a flash. The kids are doing double-takes: everyone 14 and older is gone. What’s left is something that will be called the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). In addition to the events at school, the author steps back to give us several perspectives of life around Perdido Beach: a kid in line at McDonalds, a girl whose car just went over a cliff (because an adult was driving); kids crying at the daycare; and a fire (with no firemen).  There are about four characters who emerge as major players, and each has his/her own circle of strong supporters. As you would expect, there are good guys and bad guys, and a less-than-simple process of getting to the other side of the FAYZ. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader asking questions, but not so many that they’ll be overwhelmed by too many plot changes.

First let me say that I am not normally a sci-fi fan. When it comes to chapter books, I gravitate to historical fiction, biographies, or mysteries.  Not only is Gone a sci-fi novel, it is also a long book.  By the time I had finished the first chapter, I was hooked. This is one of those books whose events and characters stay with you well past the time you stop reading it. The plot is fascinating and frightening, captivating and fierce. The author has created a cast of teens whom readers will instantly relate to, quickly choosing sides for themselves.

Now that the “parental reader” is finished, this book will go out for a target audience review. I can’t wait to see what they think!

You can see our full review at The Reading Tub.

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