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Publisher: Schibsted Format: Paperback Pages: 575 Source: Review copy ( I read this in Norwegian, and the cover in this post is the Norwegian cover for the book)
"Suddenly there are no adults, no answers. What would you do? In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive. But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power...Even kill. For Sam and Astrid, it is a race against time as they try to solve the questions that now dominate their lives...What is the mysterious wall that has encircled the town of Perdido Beach and trapped everyone within? Why have some kids developed strange powers? And can they defeat Caine and his gang of bullies before they turn fifteen and disappear too? It isn't until the world collapses around you that you find out what kind of person you really are. This book offers a chilling portrayal of a world with no rules. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes." ("Description from Amazon)
Background: Michael Grant is the pseudonym for Michael Reynolds, Grant / Reynolds co-authored the series Animorphs (1996 - 2001), but the Gone - series was his first debut on his own. The first book in the series, was published in 2008. He is also writing another series, Magnificent 12. The first book in this series, was published this August. The Gone - series is going to consist of a total of 6 books. Grant lives in Chapel Hill, California with his wife and two kids.
Story: "Gone" takes place in Perdido Beach. California and opens with a strange event. In a blink of an eye every adult and person over fifteen in the town just disappears. One moment they are there, and the next...gone! The children that are left behind are confused, in shock and do not understand what has just happened. As the hours go by, it becomes very clear that the missing people are not going to come back anytime soon. The remaining children also discover that a big wall of energy is surronding the town, making an escape impossible. The children are left to fend for themselves.
Main Character: At first glance, there appears to be many main characters in this book. Sam Temple is the main protagonist, but Astrid Ellison, her autistic brother Pete and Caine Soren do also appear frequently. The point of view shifts from chapter to chapter.
But back to Sam Temple: You may think that he is just an ordinary teenageboy, but Sam hides a secret. He is able to shot flames from his hands. The children in the town look upon him as some kind of hero, because he once saved the schoolbus from an accident. Sam is not comfortable with being named a hero. The author has done a great job portraying him. He is a character it is easy to like, but he has his flaws, which only makes him more human. It is also evident that he grows throughout this story. Sam is a character thas has great potential. I am looking forward to get to know him better.
The Book: I guess every child and teenager has one thought: the world would be a so much better place if there were' nt any adults around. In Perdido Beach this becomes a reality in a blink of an eye, but rather than celebrating, the children and the town are thrust into chaos. What are they going to do when all the adults are missing? Who will look after the babies and the younger children? What about food?
The children must try to organize themselves as best they can. Some rise to the occasion and show what they are truly made of. Some will be tempted to try to manipulate others and gain power all for themselves - and some will betray even their best friends in order to survive. On top of all this, it is soon revealed that there is more strange things going on. The teenagers develop superhuman powers and the animals mutate.
"Gone" was an absorbing read, very hard to put down. But it did take me some time to get absolutely engrossed in the story - but when I did, I read it until it was finished. I became deeply fascinated by the whole story, and the mystery that is always present: what has actually happened to the people over fifteen?
I am a big fan of Stephen King, and this was like Stephen King would have written for a young audience, I think. And it is appearent that Grant actually is a big fan. "The darkness" reminded me a bit of "It", by Stephen King. But you find a lot of other references to his work as well. I also thought about "Under the Dome", which was actually published after "Gone".
There were a lot of different characters, whick kept the story going and made it interesting to read. I liked the countdown, which starts off every chapter. I was eager to read on to find out what as going to happen at the end when Sam turns fifteen.
Add a bit of X-men, Heroes and Lord of the Flies, and you have Gone. A great sci-fi novel for young adults, packed with suspense and mystery. But is you buy this book, I suggest you buy two copies - because your mum or dad is also going to want to read it.
The book have a lot of pages, but you could finish it in one sitting. That's how good it actually is. It is engrossing. I am looking forward to the next installment, which is waiting for me in my bookshelf.