Michael Grant Goes Way Out with ‘Gone’
Okay, so I am a grown-up. I’m older than 15. I’m older than 35. So in Michael Grant’s world, I am “Gone.”
It’s a normal school day in Perdido Beach, Calif., until the teacher blinks out of the classroom. Just poof, and empty air. The chalk drops to the floor.
The same thing occurs all over the school. Except, as the morning goes on, any student 15 years old or older also blips out.
I ventured into the young adult section of the book store one day because I have a teen and want to know what my kid is reading, what the school friends are reading, and what it is about.
One of them went gaga for Gone, so I had to pick it up myself. It’s as if Stephen King decided to write a young adult novel.
You see, all the adults are gone. Bullies from the private school on the hill take over the town, patrolling the streets in Hummers with automatic weapons. There’s a tall wall encircling the town, so no one gets into Perdido Beach and no one leaves. Food begins running out, the bullies use their powers for the forces of bad and a group of town kids decides to stand up for themselves.
This adolescent apocalypse has some weird stuff in it, like a kid who loses part of his arm and a malevolent force replaces it with a whip. There’s talking coyotes who want to learn better how to kill from the humans. And there’s a strange green light with some evil force behind it in an abandoned gold mine shaft.
Gone is mysterious, intriguing and odd. I wouldn’t recommend it for tweens, but for teens 13 and up, especially boys, I can see them eating this up. It did not appeal a lot to me, but then I am a grownup, a mom who would want to run in, take care of the littles, start planting crops to ensure a future food supply and go put the bullies in the town jail.
Without the advantage of maturity and experience, the 10-year-olds taking care of the two-year-olds are not always successful, but bless them, at least they try.
Michael Grant has written an adventure that will speak to those kids who, on a bad day, wonder what it would be like if all the teachers, adults and others who boss them around are gone.
By the last page, those same kids will be wishing the adults came back.
Grant has written a sequel, Hunger, which I will read and review next.
And don’t poof out anytime soon. Pay attention to your kids. They need you.
by Michael Grant
HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Lana F. Flowers is a gifted Arkansas reporter who can handle news about Walmart and retail, movie and book reviews, human interest stories, features and anything else you'd care to mention. She lives in Rogers, Ark., with her husband Jesse, daughter Layla, cats Lottie Boots and Emmy, and dog Fuzzy. Send an email -- firstname.lastname@example.org