Gone is the first book in a young-adult, supernatural series written by Michael Grant. The first book was written in 2008, and is based in a town called Perdido Beach, California. The story follows a group of teens that struggle to survive after everyone over the age of 14 disappears. When the adults disappeared though, a sort of shield suddenly surrounds the town with the center point at the power plant, this area becomes knows as the FAYZ or the Fallout Alley Youth Zone.
The adults’ disappearance happens right at the beginning of the novel and the rest of the book covers all the challenges the teens will face. One of the strange things that happened is some of the individuals develop “mutant” powers. This includes the protagonist Sam Temple, who gains the ability to shoot green fireballs from his hands. Both the first novel, Gone, and the rest of the series focus on the problems caused by the obvious division between the normals and the freaks and the shortages of food and other supplies as they slowly run out. The battles between the two types of humans who refuse to accept each other for what they are and one another.
In a sense this novel can be used as a metaphor for today’s society with different ethnicities and racism. I see this present in society as people judge and stereo type races different from their own. This happens a lot with some of my friends when they get teased about being Mexican. it is fairly obvious that the normal teens wish the freaks did not exist and vice versa.
The main theme, which is love in many ways, can be related back to this topic of accepting people. The theme can be seen many times in the novel with the relationship between the main protagonist Sam and his love interest Astrid. Of course, other characters show affection for each other in caring ways and ultimately they all need each other to survive.
I believe that the author, Michael Grant, is trying to show the relationships between people when they are put in situations that are strenuous. Not only that, but it catches teen conflict perfectly, especially when multiple personality types are forced to deal with one another. The complex personalities of teens is noted as they struggle to do jobs they would never have had to learn yet and now are put into situations that are stressful for their ages to accept. In some ways it can be like a high school drama in a projected real-life situation.
The author is very effective in showing the relationships certain characters have and in how they act and react with one another. An example of this is the relationship of Sam and Astrid, while both characters are simple in personalities, the hero who can do no wrong and helpful and sweet girl, they also feed off one another and it can be seen how their personalities complement one another. However, as most would know not everything can be perfect between characters and the same chemistry of conflict and peace is present when other characters interact.
The only time that the theme does not entirely go with what is happening in the book is when it is discovered that the antagonist, Caine, and protagonist, Sam, discover that they are actually twins and that one was really given up at birth. The discovery creates more tension but at the same time it is understood that the one twin was given up because the mother loved him enough so that he may have a chance at a better life.
Ultimately, I believe the book was successful with what the author was trying to show with his work. The characters may have been a bit simple in their personalities with nothing stunning or unique about them. While the characters are thin, the content does not make it hugely appropriate for younger teens. The readers are faced with a story that is hard to believe but still makes a thrilling and fast paced read for those who can handle the odd content. Of course this is only hard to believe if compared to real life.
The ending was a great disappointment for any reader who was waiting for some sort of conclusion and answer of what is happening. Absolutely no questions that have been asked are answered and there is absolutely no solution reached for escaping the FAYZ.
There absolutely has to be a sequel to this novel and I’ll be reading it and the series!