Book Club Pick: May 2016
Author: Michael Grant
Series: Gone series (Book #1)
Country: United States
First Published: 2009
299 Hours 54 Minutes
Suddenly it’s a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes.
A small town in southern California: In the blink of an eye everyone over the age of 15 disappears. Cut off from the outside world, those who are left are trapped, and there’s no help on the way. Chaos rules the streets.
Now a new world order is rising and, even scarier, some survivors have power – mutant power that no one has seen before . . .
Escapism just doesn’t get better than this.
‘One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next he was gone’ is the opening line to Michael Grant’s first novel in the Gone series.
14-year-old surfer Sam Temple is day dreaming in his third period history class when his teacher Mr. Trentlake disappears.
The basic premise is that in Perido Beach, a small Southern California surf town, everyone over the age of fifteen has mysteriously disappeared. There is an added twist in that some of the young people left behind have begun to develop strange powers.
Sam is the protagonist and the central focus for the story. He does not belong to any particular social group and only really has one true friend, Quinn Gaither. Although not overly popular Sam is known at school as ‘School Bus Sam’. A nickname he earned in the seventh grade when a bus driver had a heart attack and he steered the bus onto the shoulder of the road saving the lives of his fellow classmates. This makes people look to him as a leader. He struggles with the expectations of leadership, which are thrust upon him. He is the reluctant hero.
In a search for answers Sam is joined by Quinn, the school genius and his crush Astrid Ellison, and Edilio Escobar, a student who recently moved to the town from Honduras.
The rival school just out of town is Coates Academy, a private boarding school for rich troubled youth. The students of Coates arrive and elect Caine Soren as their new leader. He uses the bullies of Perido Beach to help police the town along with fellow Coates students Drake Merwin and Diana Ladris.
As you may expect Caine, along with Drake and Diana are the antagonists of the novel. Caine appears to know a bit more about these strange powers that the youth are developing and has a plan of his own. He also has a connection to Sam.
The novel is written in third person and switches perspectives between Sam and an ensemble of teens left to fend for themselves. There is Albert (my favourite) who has taken over the local McDonalds, Mary who runs the childcare centre caring for the babies between popping pills, and Lana who we first meet living alone on a ranch with her dog Patrick.
The novel has modern sci-Fi Lord of the Flies meets X-Men feel to it.
In 2013, it was announced that Sony Pictures Television had acquired the rights to the Gone series. This has yet to come to fruition.
Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my public library.