Gone Series #1
Everyone over the age of 15 has disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach. One moment they were there, and the next, nothing remained but empty space. At first, everything seems like a big party. Kids run around the town, eating as much ice cream and candy as they want with nobody to stop them, but Sam knows this won't last. After an incident where Sam runs into a burning building to try and save a stranded girl, he becomes a hero figure, looked up to by all of the kids in the town. Soon, Sam and his friends Quinn and Astrid go and explore the area, looking around for any adults. They find a strange, glassy wall that surrounds the town that shocks you at the touch and is unbreakable. Also, animals are beginning to develop strange mutations, and a few kids are developing unnatural powers. When a group of kids from a private school march into town and take control, Sam and his friends know something isn't right. After harsh discipline is enforced, resulting in the death of an innocent girl, Sam knows that he has to fight back and be the hero everyone wants him to be...
I'm sorry that that synopsis doesn't really give the book the exciting advertisement that it deserves, because this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It combines many elements of some of my recent favorite books: the special abilities of certain characters like in I Am Number Four, the society of only younger kids like the Skinjacker Trillogy or The Enemy, the strange barrier/alternate universe like Pathfinder, panicked hoarding of supplies like in Empty, as well as many other similarities. The similarities were definitely different enough from those other books that it didn't feel like a repeat of something I had already read, but it was fun to make some of those connections. The characters in the book were very realistic, having enough flaws for their strengths. Nobody is too good to be true. The rapid mutations of both people and animals keep changing the boundaries of the normal world, leading to a twisty plot line. Many questions posed in the book are not answered, hopefully to be answered in the later books of the series. The book was very suspenseful, and even though it was pretty long, I finished it in a day and a half, and then immediately purchased the sequel and began reading it. If that doesn't show you that it is a great book, I don't know what does.
Questions for Thought:
1. Hearing someone in the burning building, how would you approach the situation? Would you barge in like Sam, or would you get a hose and ladder like Edillio?
2. Would you try to help organize the kids in the FAYZ, or would you let someone else take the responsibility?
3. If you had the power, would you share it with anyone?
4. How would you set up rules in the town? What would you do for punishment?
5. Were you Sam, would you ever be able to really trust Quinn again?
6. Knowing that there is a choice, would you leave the FAYZ or stay?
Please leave your comments and answers!
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