Gone - Review

Gone by Lisa McMann
Publication date: February 9, 2010
ISBN 10/13: 1416979182 / 9781416979180

Category: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Sexy, Finale

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.

How I found out about this book: I've been following the Dream Catcher series ever since I snagged a copy of Wake at work... The truth is I stuck the book in my ARC closet (what, you don't have one of those? hrm.) and forgot about it until the sequel, Fade, was already out. Thank goodness--I hate year-long waits for sequels to hot books, like the one I just endured for Gone, so I was glad only a few hours went by between when I finished Book 1 (6 a.m.) and when I started Book 2 (3 p.m., same day).

Quickie: This series isn't for everyone, but I devoured every word. Initially I found Wake extremely shocking--it was unexpectedly graphic and blunt, with choppy sentences almost but not quite like stream of consciousness--but as soon as I got over my surprise I really enjoyed the ride. Gone, while not the best of the trilogy, gave me satisfying closure to a turbulent and emotionally wrenching series.

For more details, click on "Read More"
My review: Cabel. Cabel. Cabel. Cabel. Cabel Strumheller is why I keep coming back; not that I don't also like Janie--lots of readers don't like her at all, and I do--but man, her boyfriend is hot.


I really can't say very much about the books without giving away twists; if you are going to read the books I'd like for you to discover those on your own. So instead I'd like to talk about whether or not you should read the trilogy at all. Let me open with some warnings.

First of all, there is a lot of swearing. An. Effing. Lot. Janie's mom is an alcoholic single-parent--make that non-parent, since she does absolutely nothing for Janie except ruin her every waking moment. Add Janie's weird predisposition to getting sucked into the dreams of anyone asleep within a certain radius of her and you've got one pretty messed-up home life. If I were Janie, I'd be swearing up a storm, too.

Second of all, there's a lot of sex. Relax, not all of it is Janie's--she who has vowed not to repeat her mother's mistakes. When an average hormone-charged teenager falls asleep in school, chances are pretty high that the dream she's sucked into will have some form of public nudity (involving tests or public speaking) and/or fantasy intercourse with incredibly inappropriate partners. (Google "Freud" if you truly need more details.)

I continued reading the books because Janie drives herself to succeed, to pull herself up and out of that hellish situation she was born into. So she doesn't do it with a cheerful Little-House-on-the-Prairie gumption, so what? She seethes with frustration, trembles with exhaustion (in addition to work and school, her Dream Catcher condition is physically draining), and grits her teeth against the overwhelming self-pity that threatens to swamp her at any moment. I admire that, and I wish I'd had a little more of her toughness when it came to dealing with situations like that in my life.

While I've never had alcoholic or neglectful parents (mine are ridiculously competent) I can relate to the painful things that Janie has to deal with: the ugliness, sickness, and perversion of the real world: parents who can't support themselves let alone their children; malefactors who corrupt beauty and innocence; and those so twisted with despair that they destroy themselves and all they touch. McMann doesn't glorify the nightmares of reality--she reminds us that succumbing to fear and loathing gets us nowhere, that having your heart in the right place and standing up to adversity is the only way to fix what's broken.

Janie's courage and her loving bond with Cabel juxtaposed with the grim sordidness of real life (like it or not, fantasy readers--these things happen every day--perhaps that's why we retreat so far into fantasy?) kept me completely engrossed in their story, and I hope to find more readers who can look past the rotten shell and see the goodness within.

I also got to meet the author when she was out here in Southern California recently. ♥

Who should read this book: Ok, let's recap here: If you are ok with sexual topics, vulgar language, and choppy stream-of-consciousness-like prose, cheers! You're going to love this series. If this sounds like not your cup of tea, that's all right too. We'll drink it for you.

Photo taken by me! at Mrs. Nelson's on February 12, 2010.

Gone is Lisa McMann's 3rd novel. (It is the third and final book of the Dream Catcher series.)

Find the author at lisamcmann.com, on Twitter @lisa_mcmann

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/rnslgone

Find this book on goodreads.com, listen to a snippet at audible.com, or buy it now!


What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)

Just Five More Minutes, Ma...

Due out in the next year or so, look out for Cryer's Cross and The Unwanteds.
While you're at it, add them to your bookshelf and friend/fan Lisa on GoodReads so you don't forget!