As a fan of apocalyptic science fiction, I was very excited to read GONE by Michael Grant.
In the blink of an eye, everyone over the age of fourteen disappears. POOF! Teachers in the middle of a lesson, mothers preparing their babies’ bottles, people driving down the road – all just GONE! Panic begins to spread and no one knows what to do. Sam, who proved himself a hero in the past, is automatically given the role of leader in Perdido Beach or the FAYZ as it becomes known.
Sam, together with Astrid, her autistic brother Little Petey, Quinn, and Edilio begin to attempt to piece together what happened. They eventually discover a transparent barrier surrounding the area and the power plant at its center. The barrier forms a ten mile radius around the plant. It is painful to the touch and there don’t appear to be any openings.
On top of being forced to care for themselves, Sam and the others must make sure that the young children are cared for. Several people take up the task of caring for the babies and toddlers at the day care. One young man even inventories stock and continues to run the local McDonalds so people can come in for something to eat. Everyone is nervous, but things seem to be under control – until the kids from Coates Academy show up.
Coates Academy is the prestigious boarding school up the hill from Perdido Beach. The Coates Academy leader is Caine and he makes it very clear that he intends to take charge of the town. Things start to take a turn for the worse shortly after Caine takes charge. Bullies are the ones running the town and many don’t feel safe.
Three other things are causing everyone to feel scared:
1) Some of the kids are gaining powers. Some can heal wounds, others can move things around with their mind, and some develop super speed.
2) Animals are mutating. There are seagulls with talons, coyotes that can talk, and cats that can teleport from place to place.
3) Once you hit your fifteenth birthday (exactly to the minute you were born) you POOF!
It’s a frightening world. Bullies against the weak; Rich kids against the townies. Lines are drawn and sides are chosen and everyone prepares for battle. If you enjoy science fiction or liked LORD OF THE FLIES , this is a book for you. Don’t let the length scare you off because it is definately worth the read. My only complaint is the ending. It leaves you with many unanswered questions. Nothing was really solved. Michael Grant has said that he plans this to be a six book series and is finishing up book #2 now. He intends for a book to be released every summer until the series is complete.