Sunday, July 14, 2013

Here today, Gone Tomorrow- A review of Michael Grant's Gone

So there I was, at a book-fair, and I see these awesome hardcover books with a completely black cover (save for a colorful title) and brightly colored pages. The books, Hunger in orange, and Plague in red, were my first encounter with the Gone novels. I bought both, In this instance actually judging books by their cover because I had no idea what they were actually about. When I got home I did my research, and immediately ordered the first novel in the series; Gone. The story, in a sense a modernized version of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, is fast-paced and very enjoyable. But before I get into the review, read the summary after the jump.

Gone takes place in the fictional coastal town of Perdido Beach, California. The story follows Sam, a 14 year old who mostly keeps to himself, though he is friendly with most of the school and, though he isn't popular, many people know who he is.Sam likes surfing and hanging out with his best friend Quinn. Their world, and that of the other teens in Perdido beach is turned upside down when everyone over the age of 15 suddenly dissappears. Astrid, a bright fourteen-year-old Sam has secretly been crushing on for a while, quicly teams up with Quinn and Sam and together they try to unravel the mystery of the disappearances. The teens are left in charge, though it's obvious that they are in over their heads. they have to learn how to be grown-ups, cooking, cleaning, policing, taking care of younger ones. they encounter others, who turn out to be helpful and still others who turn out to be more dangerous than they could have ever though possible. Escape from Perdido Beach is impossible as the town is encapsulated by some kind of force field. Sam is aware of something else as well. He is changing, gaining abilities that are out of this world. and he's not the only one.

Now I've already mentioned that I'm a fan of YA novels and I feel that many are just as fun for non-young adults to read them- perhaps even more. Gone definitely fits into this category. there is no buildup to the disappearances. The story starts from the first page and branches out from there. It's nice to read a narrative written mostly from the perspective of a guy. It seems that most of the YA novels are written from a female perspective, though that might just be the ones I've read. The novel, though it clocks in at over 550 pages (at least my version does) reads pretty fast. It does not feature the same eloquence and intelligence within its characters as for example the characters in John Green's The Fault in Our Starts. Then again, the characters here are fourteen and younger so it's not all surprising. The sentence structure is sometimes a bit oversimplified to the point that it fits better as colloquial English than written English. Nonetheless, the characters and setting are richly described and extremely diverse. The novel, so much an allegory for the fears of growing up- the teens will literally disappear from the world they know once they hit 15-  touches upon many serious topics that are of importance to the reader. There is for example no guarantee in who is trustworthy, true friendships do not always last and new friendships are made in their stead. Responsibility is a burden that, while not impossible, comes at a price for those who are not ready for it. there is a high level of violence involved within the story, all involving young people obviously and some scenes (involving torture for example) are just al out crunchy. Nevertheless, these scenes are not that common and they pave the way for the sequels that follow. Gone is a wonderful coming of age story hidden within a science fiction/slight horror narrative. This is a great book for teens to read and hand it on to their parents. It allows for interesting conversation topics. And hey, if your not into that much talking. A lot of stuff gets blown up so I'd recommend it just for that.

You can buy Gone here:

A note on covers:
I'm not a big book cover fanatic, in that if I already own a book and another nicer-looking cover comes out I'm not the kind of person that has to go out and buy it again. That being said, in this case, I do admire the covers of the English version of the novel somewhat more (i.e. the versions i found at the book-fair) the picture attached to this post features the American cover. The link attached jumps to the British cover. Doesn't matter which one you buy, just buy one and get to reading, and if you have, comment if you liked the book as well and if you didn't why that is.

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