Gone by Michael Grant
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Goodreads Says: In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...
OK, maybe that was a bit dramatic. I don't REALLY wish I had gone poof like all of the adults in this town. However, the reality of it is that I didn't enjoy Gone as much as everyone else who has given this book awesome ratings and glowing reviews.
I finished Gone a long time ago and I wasn't sure if I wanted to review it or not. There are over 20,000 five star reviews on Goodreads alone and I didn't feel like my review would contribute to anything.
Yeah, but I cave and now I review.
One very normal day, everyone aged 15 and up disappear. They literally just blink out of existence, leaving everyone aged 14 and under to fend for themselves in this small town in California. This is where the book takes on a very Lord of the Flies on steroid approach, seasoned with some Heroes (TV show) and garnished with some Stephen King.
To say this book had a lot going on is an understatement. I think perhaps it had too much going on but even then the theme wasn't that hard to follow. You did have to wait a long time for anything to happen because the pacing in this book was very slow. Because you are constantly being introduced to new characters you don't really get to know any of them, keep up with them or care about them too much. Sadly, I was OK with that. Yes, a world without adults could get very chaotic. It was scary to think there were that many kids who were power hungry and flat out psychotic. I wasn't totally immune to the horrible things that took place in Gone, it's just that I was intrigued by all the crazy sci-fi stuff being thrown in.
The two major issues I had with the book were:
1. Heavy, heavy, heavy Christianity.
2. The non stop derogatory terms being used by one character in regards to one of the major characters in the book.
Let me make something very clear. I'm not bashing religion. NOT AT ALL. I'm very spiritual and not very religious for very personal reasons. However, I find beauty in EVERY religion. I'm also not against religion being in fiction. In fact, one of my favorite books is By the River Piedra I Sat and Wept by Paulo Coelho and I plan to read all of his books. The religion in this book just felt out of place. I feel that I can't go into much detail without offending someone. Simply put I didn't think that teenagers and children like the kids in this book would speak about God in the way they did. The prayers and the talks about punishment by God included in the book felt more like the author's agenda than that of children who are supposed to represent the majority of children reading the book. The little bit of background given on the characters didn't allow me to even try to pretend that they spoke like this on a norm. Believe me, I went to Catholic grade school and high school. Kids don't talk like this.
With that said, it totally irritated me that there was one character that kept using derogatory terms when speaking to one of the other major characters. Clearly, a strong theme in the book was one of good vs evil. Yet the "good" guy kept using these words when speaking to his friend. I didn't understand why it was necessary to include this language. What purpose did it serve? If you've read the book and you know why, please enlighten me.
On a serious tip...These two points bothered me so much that I jumped online and searched reviews on Goodreads to see if anyone else had mentioned the things about this book that rubbed me the wrong way. Can you believe that not one person mentioned anything at all about these things? OK, I just found one that spoke on the derogatory comments.
I don't know. Maybe I'm too sensitive... Nope, I don't think that was it.
I am going to close by saying that there are some books you need to read yourself and I have found that there are others that I'm ok with someone just telling me about it. I'm good with being told about the rest of this series. I read this book with my son and although he felt the same way I did about pretty much everything I wrote in this review, he wants to continue reading the series to know how it all ends. He's on book 2. So far, he says that the book is pretty good.
On to the next...