The school day begins normally enough in Perdido Beach, California. Fourteen-year-old Sam sits in History class in Perdido Beach School when his teacher disappears. Not in a “We should hire a private detective” type of way, but in a “Poof! He’s gone!” kind of way. Not only has Sam’s teacher vanished, but so have all the other adults in the school, and even some of the students. Everyone fifteen years old and older is gone. No one answers at 911, the TV in the teacher’s lounge shows only static, and the children begin to panic. As they venture outside, they come to realize that it’s not just their school; whatever has happened has affected the whole town. Their mothers are gone, their fathers are gone, and no one is around to tell them what to do. While some of the children view this development as a good thing, others realize that this is not a dream come true.
Things begin to deteriorate rapidly. The children face the challenges of putting out a fire, finding food, taking care of infants in the local daycare, and finding children who are stranded alone in homes throughout town. In an attempt to locate an adult, and the edge of this disturbance, the children discover that there is a barrier separating them from the rest of the world. It appears to extend into the sky and under the earth without end. It cannot be broken, cannot be dug under, and burns to the touch. The children believe it to be a sphere, encircling the town of Perdido Beach and its outlying areas. They call this area the FAYZ, or Fallout Alley Youth Zone, due to the town’s close proximity to a nuclear power plant. Alliances begin to form, among both children anxious to work together to survive and among those who are eager to become the leaders of this new world. But just when things couldn’t get any weirder for these children, some of them begin to develop certain abilities which set them apart from the others.
Gone shares a bit in common with Stephen King’s The Stand, but written about teens for a young adult audience. It is the first in a series of what is intended to be six books, and promises to be quite the dystopian epic. The second volume, Hunger, is due to be published in May.
Check the WRL catalog for Gone.