20 June 2010
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 558 Pages
Publisher: Harper Teen 7/1/08
Within a matter of seconds, half the town of San Perdido has disappeared. If you were over the age of 15, you are no longer in the town. It is up to the middle graders to run the town and take care of the small ones left behind. We are first introduced to Sam Temple. He is the first person that people go to because he's known as a local hero. With his best friend, Quinn and braniac, Astrid. They try to find out what has happened to the adults. Sam doesn't appreciate his Jesus-like status and does his best to stay out of the leadership role. But when the prep kids come into town, it is decisively split who will follow who. And it leads to a biblical showdown of epic proportions.
This is a difficult story to read. I've never read Lord of the Flies but I know enough of the storyline to know that Grant takes this story many steps ahead of that one. Of course my main reaction when everyone of the age of 15 disappears is what happens to the kids? But that is the mom in me. And we find out that not everyone child or baby can be accounted for. These 14 year olds are doing the best they can and trying to maintain a preschool, and the local McDonald's. But again, these are children and they are thrown into a very adult situation. Grant masterfully keeps the kids young, but forces them to grow up at the same time. As much as the boys hated to say it, they missed their moms.
There is so much packed into this story. This is dystopian at it's best. As the town tries to figure out what is going on, they realize that the nuclear power plant might have had something to do with it. Animals are changing (Coyotes are talking), cats are becoming part of books and even the humans are developing special powers that will rip the thread of the town.
Caine, a charismatic 14 year old from Coates Academy, a school for children with behavioral issues and perhaps special powers, decides that he will become the leader of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). When Caine deputizes bullies, people run to Sam, Quinn, Astrid and Edilio to help out the ones who are unable to take care of themselves. Grant creates some loathesome characters such as Drake, and Diana with whom Caine has a crush on.
A disturbing look into mania-type syndrome and what happens when there is no one to watch the kids.
Posted by Laura Benson
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