Gone by Michael Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t like books that make me think.
I’m not talking about novels with unfamiliar vocabulary words or twisted plots. It’s the stories that force me into an uncomfortable realm of self-inspection – the ones that bring my character flaws to the surface – that I abhor.
Reading is my escape from the mundalities of life. When I open a book, I want to be transported to a world where all the people are pretty, where there’s a burning romance or a tricky mystery.
If I wanted to know how to improve myself, I’d read my scriptures or self-help, not fiction.
I also don’t like books where children are forced into precarious positions that even adults would have difficulty facing.
Michael Grant’s 2008 novel, Gone, did both of those things. And yet, I really, really liked it even though the revelations it gave me about my fourteen-year-old self were pretty ugly.
If I was in junior high again and all the adults magically disappeared from the world, which character from the book would I be like? Would I be the bully’s sidekick? Or the backstabber? I know I wouldn’t have stepped up to take care of everyone else (maybe the children, I’ll give myself that much credit). I probably would have found the smartest, cutest guy and tried to become his arm candy and devoted follower (by the way, that character is in the book too).
Gone is intense and it poses some horrifying images – dead babies in garbage bags and children with machine guns are just the beginning. If you were to cross Lord of the Flies with X-Men (but subtract everyone over age of fifteen, including Hugh Jackman and his gorgeous abs), you’d have this novel’s concept.
The book is really long, 558 pages to be exact, and probably could have been divided into two smaller, more manageable novels. But it’s worth your time if you ever wondered what would happen if teenagers with magic powers ruled the world.
The next book in the series is titled Hunger. Do I want to read a book about children starving to death? Not really. Am I attached enough to the characters and the plot development that I’m going to anyway? You bet.
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