Review: Gone by Michael Grant

images-1Okay, 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.


9 thoughts on “Review: Gone by Michael Grant

  1. I liked this book even though I am not a sci-fi/apocalypse kind of reader. The characters are interesting and the struggle between good and evil=Caine and Sam is very intriguing. I like to see how they are problem-solving and I do like some of the super powers. I am reading Hunger right now and think it is a very good sequel.

  2. I was so with you about this cover. I first saw it when I saw an offer for Hunger and that cover totally turned me off and then I saw this cover and passed on requesting a copy of Hunger. I totally regretted it once I read Gone and was itching to find out what happened next. Now I am waiting for the next one since Hunger was sort of a cliff hanger.

  3. May I ask, even though most people do not know the answer, who are the people on the cover of this book?

    I realize that they are portrayed as Sam, Astrid, Caine, and Diana, but I really would like to know who the real people are.

  4. I agree with you on the cover. I wouldn’t pick this one up based on the cover but that’s what I love about book groups. You tend to read books that you wouldn’t normally pick up on your own.

    I think it’s awesome that you got to Skype with the author. Social Media and applications like Skype make authors so accessible these days.

  5. I’m kind of not a big fan of the covers, either. I think the British publisher got it right. But I try to limit my bitching.

    It was fun Skyping your kids and I still don’t know what went wrong with the video. Current working theory: the light reflected from my giant bald head burned out the camera.

    Thanks for the kind remark about my sense of humor. The GONE books don’t exactly give me much opportunity for humor, what with the kids with their hands encased in cement and all. But my middle grade series, the MAGNIFICENT 12, coming out in fall of 2010, is actually intended to be funny.

    This is no guarantee that it actually will be funny. But we’re all very hopeful.

  6. JenniLee:

    Sorry, but I don’t know. The cover shoots are all handled in New York and I’m only tangentially involved. Apparently there’s some rule that all cover models will be hot, regardless of how I describe them. As it happens, Sam, Astrid, Caine and Diana are all described as attractive, but I’m waiting for the day they tell me they’re putting Orc on the cover and the model looks like Brad Pitt.

  7. I loooove the Gone series. My little brother originally borrowed it from a library. I read the back cover and was immediately intrigued! That night I stayed up to 4am reading it, and I finished it the next night! I agree that there’s not much character development, and at times it might be a little cliched, but I think it gets better in Hunger. I am impatiently awaiting the next book this May!!

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