Okay, first things first. I HATE the cover of this book. In fact, I had put off reading this book for so long because I was embarrassed to be seen reading a book with such a teen romance-y looking cover. But you know what they say…. about judgments and books and their covers.
We chose this book for our second book group book. The really big and exciting news? I got my boss at the bookstore set up with a skype account and we were able to skype the author (Michael Grant) for our meeting. We had some minor technical difficulties (sound, but no video) but it was still amazing. See what he had to say at the bottom of this review.
Summary: In an instant everyone over the age of fifteen disappears. Just like that, with no explanation, leaving only children ages 14 and under. To make things even more interesting (because a society completely run by kids is not interesting enough apparently), some of the kids start developing special powers like telekinesis or shooting rays of burning light out of their hands. Oh yes, and did I mention the mutant animals? Talking coyotes, flying snakes and such. Now add to the mix a power struggle between the kids at the private school academy and the kids from the public school and you have the makings of Michael Grant’s first book in his Gone series.
Review: Well, when I first read this book I had serious mixed feelings. I liked the power struggle between the kids. I liked seeing how they began to function as a society. I could even deal with the special powers. But the mutant animals? The shining green darkness in the cave? Not so much. It was a little bit overload for me.
But then our book group talked with the author and suddenly I am itching to read the next one, Hunger. Michael Grant is FUNNY. He discussed where he got inspiration for the book- watching Lost and watching The Sopranos. Okay, I watch those. I see the connection. He even said that when he first started writing the novel he realized that he was using a lot of different genres and that most adults would resist the combination of them (as I just previously stated), but that this book was written for teenagers and teenager were much more accepting and open to those kind of possibilites. And you know what? He was completely right. The kids in the book group LOVED this book. They were all drawing connections between themselves and the different characters. They were speculating what causes all the adults to disappear and where they were now. They were discussing a book because they liked it. Sigh. What every teacher wants to happen. I now feel safe about recommending this book to kids, I know firsthand that they will devour all 5oo and something pages of it and will want to read more.
So, I guess it is true. You can’t judge a book by its cover.