It was just a typical day at school in Perdido Beach, CA, until the teacher disappeared…
Sam Temple and his best friend Quinn were sitting in history class, when their teacher and one of the other students suddenly disappeared. Not like ran out of the classroom, but POOF. Gone. Just like that.
As the students attempt to make sense of what’s just happend, the only thing that’s clear is that something is very wrong. Astrid “the genius” (and the girl Sam’s been crushing on) is the one to finally figure out that every person aged 15 or older has simply disappeared. While this might sound like a great time, it turns out life without adults can be much more difficult than one might expect. Just when the kids think they’re getting a handle on the situation, they discover other strange things are occurring as well. And when the kids begin to turn on each other, the stakes become life and death.
At first I found the short sentences and simple writing style in Gone slightly off-putting, and was concerned the book might be aimed at a younger audience than I generally like to read. But as the story progresses, things take some very dark and shocking turns, quickly putting those worries to rest.
The concept behind Gone was clever and (mostly) original. There are a number of sub-plots, which are a direct result of the disappearance but their link isn’t evident until the stories collide later in the novel. While this keeps things interesting, I did find the jumping between stories could be a bit distracting at times.
The characters in Gone were diverse and entertaining, though none were so compelling that I found myself really rooting for any of them. Sam was a likeable protagonist, but his apathy over being the hero made it difficult to care about his plight over any of the others. But as this story is much more plot driven than character driven, the characters themselves aren’t as important as what’s happening to them. Gone is the first book of six, and it leaves many loose ends at the conclusion of the novel. I felt that it was a good set-up for the next book in the series, but for those who aren’t fond of the cliffhanger, beware!
Gone was an interesting and enjoyable start to this new YA series. While it’s not one I’ll be rushing out to get, I do look forward to reading Hunger, the second book in the series.
*Gone is book #1 for the 2011 1st in a Series Challenge