One second they’re there, the next – poof. Gone. Blinked out. Disappeared. Everything is normal at Perdido Beach, California, until everyone over the age of fifteen vanishes at the same time. Normal crashes and burns. The kids are on their own, and they’re fighting not only for survival, but for power. And some kids are changing. As in developing strange powers.
This book follows Sam Temple, a fourteen year old boy who was known as ‘Schoolbus Sam’ after saving the bus when the bus driver had a heart attack many years ago on a field trip. Astrid the Genius, the girl he’s admired for years, his best buddy Quinn and many other friends, new and old, join Sam as he tries to maintain peace in this strange new world known as the FAYZ.
This book is a bit hard to explain: everyone over the age of fifteen disappears. Some kids are developing or have developed in the months leading up to the disaster, strange powers such as the ability to create light and to suspend gravity. Animals are mutating as well. And the kids are stuck in this strange new world, unable to leave the new world as there is an impenetrable barrier blocking every possible route of escape.
The characters in Gone are diverse and many. There are the typical bad guys, Caine, Drake and Diana from Coates Academy. Then you’ve got your heroes, Sam, Astrid, Quinn and Edilio. There are a score of other characters on either side, as well as many neutral characters including the many kids who have not developed these strange powers.
The first thing to do is settle who shall be the leader, and the two main candidates are Sam and the charming, yet evil, Caine. Who will win in an epic battle and will the kids discover how to get everything back to normal, whatever that is?
Gone was fast-paced and exciting. The characters were well fleshed out and explored and the way the book was told was quite interesting; each chapter was told in third-person, although from the point of view of a different character almost every time. The action was intense and Grant’s descriptions were amazingly vivid and beautiful.
I thought Sam was a very likeable protagonist, and also liked Astrid and Edilio. I found Quinn to be a very interesting character and I hope he’ll be explored more later. Caine is also very interesting and well put together, but one of my favourite characters is Diana. I feel she has a lot of potential to really change and develop over the course of the series and I would like to see her progress throughout the series.
The plot was gripping and nothing like I had ever seen before. I honestly felt I could not put this book down because I was so eager to find out what would happen next. However, the sheer length of this book was daunting yet time flew as I read it, indicating that it was a great read.
All in all, Gone was a unique and gripping book. It was a great read and I will be staying tuned for the other books in this series.