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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: gone, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 16 of 16
1. Dear Michael (a letter to Michael Grant about GONE)

November 17, 2016

Dear Michael Grant,

Our conversation yesterday at Jason Low's opinion piece for School Library Journal didn't go well, did it? I entered it, annoyed at what you said last year in your "On Diversity" post. There, you said:

Let me put this right up front: there is no YA or middle grade author of any gender, or of any race, who has put more diversity into more books than me. Period.
Then you had a list where you were more specific about that diversity. Of Native characters, you said:
Native American main character? No. Australian aboriginal main character, but not a Native American. Hmmm.
You do, in fact, have a Native character in Gone. I'd read it but didn't write about it. So when you commented to Jason in the way that you did, I responded as I did, saying you'd erased a Native character right away in one of your books. With that in mind, and your claim that you've done more than anyone regarding diversity, I said you're part of the problem. You wanted to know what book I was talking about. Indeed, you were quite irate in your demands that I name it. You offered to donate $1000 to a charity of my choice if I could name the book. You seemed to think I could not, and that I was slandering you. 

In that long thread, I eventually named the book but you said I was wrong in what I'd said. So, here's a review. I hope it helps you see what I meant, but based on all that I've seen thus far, I'm doubtful. 

Here's a description of the book:
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened. Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else. . . .
Chapter one is set at a school in California. It opens with a character named Sam, who is listening to his teacher talk about the Civil War. Suddenly the teacher is gone. It seems funny at first but then they realize that other teachers are gone, and so is everyone who is 15 years old, or older. In chapter two, Sam, his friend Quinn, and Astrid (she's introduced in chapter one as a smart girl) head home, sure they'll find their parents. They don't. 

Partway through chapter two, you introduce us to Lana Arwen Lazar, who is riding in a truck that is being driven by her, grandfather, Grandpa Luke, who is described as follows (p. 19-20):
He was old, Grandpa Luke. Lots of kids had kind of young grandparents. In fact, Lana’s other grandparents, her Las Vegas grandparents, were much younger. But Grandpa Luke was old in that wrinkled-up-leather kind of way. His face and hands were dark brown, partly from the sun, partly because he was Chumash Indian.
At first, I thought, "cool." You were bringing a tribally specific character into the story! If he's Chumash, then, Lana is, too! There's whole chapters about her. She's a main character. But, you didn't remember her. Or maybe, in your responses at SLJ, you were too irate to remember her?

Anyway, I wasn't keen on the "wrinkled-up-leather" and "dark brown" skin because you're replicating stereotypical ideas about what Native people look like.

As I continued reading, however, it was clear to me that you were just using the Chumash as decoration. You clearly did some research, though. You've got Grandpa Luke, for example, pointing with his chin. Thing is: I've been seeing that a lot. It makes me wonder if white people have a checklist for a Native character that says "make sure the character points with the chin rather than fingers."

Back to chapter two... Grandpa Luke pointed (with his chin) to a hill. Lana tells him she saw a coyote there and he tells her not to worry (p. 20):
“Coyote’s harmless. Mostly. Old brother coyote’s too smart to go messing with humans.” He pronounced coyote “kie-oat.”
Hmmm... Grandpa Luke... teaching Lana about coyote? That sounds a bit... like the chin thing. I'm seeing lot of stories where writers drop in coyote. Is that on a check list, too?

Next, we learn that Lana is with her grandpa because her dad caught her sneaking vodka out of their house to give it to another kid named Tony. Lana defends what she did, saying that Tony would have used a fake ID and that he might have gotten into trouble. Her grandpa says (p. 21):
“No maybe about it. Fifteen-year-old boy drinking booze, he’s going to find trouble. I started drinking when I was your age, fourteen. Thirty years of my life I wasted on the bottle. Sober now for thirty-one years, six months, five days, thank God above and your grandmother, rest her soul.”
Oh-oh. Alcohol? That must be on the checklist, too. I've seen a lot of books wherein a Native character is alcoholic.

Lana teases her grandpa, he laughs, and then the truck veers off the road and crashes. Grandpa Luke is gone. Just like the other adults. Lana lies in the truck, injured. Her dog, Patrick, is with her. The chapter ends and you spend time with the other characters.

His being gone is what I was referring to when I said that you erased him. At SLJ, you strongly objected to me saying that. You interpreted that as me saying you're anti-Native. You said that "every adult is disappeared." That you did that to "African-Americans, Polish-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Norwegian-Americans, French-Americans, Italian-Americans..." Yes. They all go away in your story, and because they do, you think it is wrong for me to object. That's when I said to you that you're clearly not reading any of the many writings about depictions of Native people. It just isn't ok to create Native characters and then get rid of them like that. Later in the SLJ thread, you said:
"I threw the reference to the Chumash in as an effort to at least acknowledge that there are still Native Americans in SoCal. That was it. It's a throwaway character we see for three pages out of a 1500 page series." 
Really, Michael? That's pretty awful. I hope someone amongst your writing friends can help you see why that doesn't work!

Lana is back in chapter seven. A mountain lion appears. Patrick fights it and it takes off, but Patrick has a bad wound. Lana drifts off to sleep again, holding Patrick's wound to stop the blood. She wakes, part way through chapter ten. Patrick isn't with her but comes bounding over, all healed! Lana wonders if she had healed him. She glances at her mangled arm, which is now getting infected. She touches it, drifts off, and when she wakes it, too is healed. Next she heals her broken leg. All better, she stands up.

So---Lana is a healer, Michael? That, too, is over in checklist land (Native characters who heal others).

In chapter fifteen, Lana and Patrick set out to find food and water and hopefully, her grandfather's ranch. After several hours of walking in the heat, they find the wall that is an important feature of the story, and then, a patch of green grass. There's a water hose and a small cabin. They drink, and she washes the dried blood off her face and hair.

In chapter eighteen, Lana wakes in the cabin, and remembers the last few weeks. She remembers putting the bottle of vodka in a bag with "the beadwork she liked" (p. 203). My guess, given that her grandfather is Chumash, is that the bag we're meant to imagine is one with Native beadwork designs on it.

Lana hears scratching at the door, like the way a dog scratches at a door, and she hears a whispered "Come out." Oh-oh (again), Michael! Native people who can communicate with animals! That on the checklist, too? Patrick's hackles are raised, his fur bristles. They finally open the door and go out out but don't see anyone. She uses the bathroom in an outhouse. When Lana and Patrick head back to the cabin, a coyote is standing there, between the outhouse and the cabin. This coyote, however, is the size of a wolf. She thinks back on what she learned about coyotes, from Grandpa Luke (p. 207):
“Shoo,” Lana yelled, and waved her hands as her grandfather had taught her to do if she ever came too close to a coyote.
It didn't move, though. Behind it were a few more. Patrick wouldn't attack them, so, Lana yelled and charged right at them. The coyote recoiled in surprise. Lana was a flash of something dark, and the coyote yelped in pain. She made it to the cabin. She heard the coyotes crying in pain and rage. The next day, she found the one who she'd charged at (p. 207):
Still attached to its muzzle was half a snake with a broad, diamond-shaped head. Its body had been chewed in half but not before the venom had flowed into the coyote’s bloodstream.
What does that mean? Does Lana's healing power mean snakes will defend her? Or, that she can summon them to help her? Or is the appearance of these snakes just coincidental and has nothing to do, really, with Lana?

In chapter twenty-five, two days have passed since Lana's encounter with the coyotes. Lana and Patrick eat the food they find in the cabin, and learn that it belonged to a guy named Jim Brown. He has 38 books in the cabin. Lana passes time reading them. At one point, she realizes there's a space underneath the cabin. In it, she finds gold bricks. She remembers the picks and shovels she saw outside, and the tire tracks leading to a ridge and thinks that, perhaps, Jim and his truck are there. She fills a water jug, and the two set off, following the tire tracks.

In chapter twenty-seven, Lana and Patrick reach an abandoned mining town. She look for keys to the truck they find, and, they peek into the mine shaft. Suddenly they hear coyotes. It seems Lana can hear them saying "food." Lana and Patrick enter the mine, but the coyotes don't follow them. Then, one of them talks to her, telling her to leave the mine. They rush in and attack her but then stop, clearly afraid themselves. She's now their prisoner. They nudge her down, deeper into the mine. She senses something there, hears a loud voice, passes out, and wakes, outside.

In chapter twenty nine, the coyotes push her on through the desert. She thinks of the lead coyote as "Pack Leader." He's the one who speaks to her. She asks him why they don't kill her. He says (p. 326):
“The Darkness says no kill,” Pack Leader said in his tortured, high-pitched, inhuman voice.
That "Darkness" is the voice she heard in the mine. It wants her to teach Pack Leader...  She asks Pack Leader to take her back to the cabin so she can get human food there. Later on, Darkness speaks through Lara.

Ok--Michael--I've spelled out how your depictions of Lana fail. There's so much stereotyping in there. I gotta take off on a road trip now. I may be back, later, to clarify this letter. I think it is clear but may be missing something in my re-read of it. If you care to respond, please do!

Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature

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2. Trailer Tuesday: Fear and Spectral

Fear: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Click here to read our review or write your own!

Spectral by Shannon Duffy
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Have you read it? Click here to write your review of this book.

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3. Stay Calm, Stay Calm... On Second Thought, PANIC!

All right, I know I'm behind on the Battle winner roundup. But I leave for Florida on Sunday (What? That's it? That's all the time I have?!?!) and things are taking a little longer to get straightened out than I originally thought. I'm busy packing, doing last minute preparations (and panicking), but if I have a spare moment before I leave I will try to get them up.

Otherwise I will see you sometime next week, hopefully Monday if I can get my internet access up right away. *cross fingers*

Wish me luck!

2 Comments on Stay Calm, Stay Calm... On Second Thought, PANIC!, last added: 5/15/2010
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4. Back... Sort Of

Okay, I'm offically moved into my new Florida home and ready to blog again. Unfortunately my internet's being a little grumpy, so I'm going to have to work on the posts I've been planning in stages. But I will blog when I can! I know I'm really behind on posting results from Round 1 (for those of you who haven't seen the judges own posts yet) and I will try to get those up ASAP, as well as getting to know a few more of our judges again before Round 2 ends.

More later when I can!

4 Comments on Back... Sort Of, last added: 5/19/2010
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5. Gone for a bit

Hey everyone. My internet suddenly quit on me yesterday so I'm borrowing a few minutes on a public wi-fi connection to let everyone know I'll be gone the next few days until it's fixed. It really sucks it had to break over the weekend. :( Anyway, if you email me and I don't respond right away, now you know what happened.

Back when I can!

3 Comments on Gone for a bit, last added: 8/30/2010
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6. Stuff Boiling in the Background

Hey everyone,

I know that I've been absent for a few days, since announcing the voting for the book battle.  The main reason is because I've been working on lots of behind the scenes stuff (organization, new features, and some other miscellaneous) projects in the meantime. 

Oh, and it was my birthday on Sunday.  So I wasn't on the computer much yesterday.  : )

Anyway, my main focus of the moment is getting the battle at least initially organized.  So expect the first call for volunteers to go out in a couple days.  Those of you who want to and/or have emailed to be judges, calls for that should go out as soon as I know the theme, since the theme will change the organization and therefore the number of volunteers needed. 

Speaking of which, if you haven't voted on your favorite theme yet, make sure you do.  I didn't get any new votes submitted yesterday, so if the voting has slacked off, I think I'll close the poll early. 

Keep your eye out.  There's a lot going on, even if you can't tell yet!

2 Comments on Stuff Boiling in the Background, last added: 3/15/2011
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7. About the next six weeks... and GONE (Wake book 3)

In case you haven't heard, FADE (Wake book 2) is out!! You can find it in stores and online everywhere.

And now, it's time for me to hibernate and really focus, to pour my heart into the third and final book, GONE, so that we have something fantastic to deliver to you in spring 2010. I have a lot of work to do on it yet before I go on tour at the end of March (with Cassandra Clare, yay!).

So if you cannot find me in real time online, or if you have sent me fan mail and haven't heard back yet, or if I haven't responded to your Facebook, Myspace, or Goodreads message or comment, please understand that it's because I need to focus on making GONE the best book I can make it.

Thanks to all of you for your awesome support and for buying WAKE and FADE!! I'll come out to play more often when GONE is all shiny and awesome. :)

xox and love,


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8. GONE will be out February 9, 2010!

Random things to talk about today:

1. Yes, GONE (the last book in the trilogy) is scheduled for February 9, 2010. Yay! Hope to show you a cover sometime soon, too. I'm especially proud of the GONE cover, but I'm not going to tell you why until you see it.

2. Hello Poland! I hope you are enjoying WAKE (or DREAM, I think you're calling it)! I heard that it's out in Poland now -- I've even gotten some fan mail from there already. Welcome to my website and blog!

3. Bloggers! Hi! I just want to say a special thanks to all the awesome book bloggers who are patient and good and know how to wait for a reply to an interview request. Almost all of you are awesome like that, yay! You don't bombard me with requests when you haven't heard from me immediately, and you don't make up fake "blog supporters" to beseech me on your behalf, and you don't harrass Other Important People In My Life in order to get me to respond to you -- wow, MOST of you are really freaking terrific and amazingly non-stalkerish, and for that, I am SO GRATEFUL! Thank you!!

4. The WAKE trilogy as audiobooks: Sometime in January, WAKE and FADE will be available as audiobooks! And the GONE audiobook will come out in sync with the GONE hardcover, Feb 9 or thereabouts.

5. I cannot wait for the Harry Potter movie. Can you?

12 Comments on GONE will be out February 9, 2010!, last added: 6/29/2009
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9. GONE description

I got the GONE cover in the mail today. It says:


Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

And the back flap is a quote from the book:

He reaches toward her, his fingers black and bloody, his eyes deranged, unblinking. Janie is paralyzed. his cold hands reach around her neck, squeezing tight, tighter, until Janie has no breath left. She's unable to move, unable to think. As his grasp tightens further around Janie's neck, his face turns sickly alabaster. He strains harder and begins to shake.

Janie is dying.
She has no fight left in her.
It's over.

30 Comments on GONE description, last added: 7/29/2009
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10. Unexpected Absense

Once again, I'm posting to let everyone know things might be a little slow around here for the next few days.

My grandmother passed away yesterday. As you can imagine, things have been pretty busy trying to make arrangements so we can attend the funeral on Monday. I'll be driving down there soon and we'll be there for a few days. I may have time to blog, but maybe not. At this point I'm going to play it by ear.

In the meantime, sign ups are still coming along for the virtual swap. We've got a few participants, so it looks like it's going to be lots of fun. Anyone who has signed up/will sign up, I haven't forgotten about you, but I'll be taking a break from it for a few days. So go ahead and fill out the form and I'll get back to you when I get back into town. And don't forget to enter for a chance to win Yesterday's Magic too.

I'll be back when I can. Until then, go read something fun for me.

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11. I'm Back

Well, I'm back and thoroughly exhausted from the funeral and surrounding travel/family mingling. Things might still be a little slow around here as I catch up on things.

Also, my email program apparently decided to quit on me. So if you sent me an email recently, I will get back to you as soon as my stupid email program decides to let me view my messages.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone else is having a pleasant day...

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12. Where am I?

Don't worry, I'm still around. I just have a few things that have been keeping me from the blog lately. First of all, our family is currently hosting an Australian exchange student for the next two weeks, so lots of my evenings are busy with that. Secondly, my dad happened to pass on his latest cold, so I've been spending a lot of time trying to rid myself of migraine headaches caused by sinus pressure. Yuck.

And lastly, I'm kind of tired out by all the action lately. First the Cybils, then A Shady Glade Christmas, and then the 12 Blogs of Christmas was a lot of work. And I think it's time to rest for a little bit.

I'm not going to disappear completely, but I may be posting a little less for the next week or so. I'm going to try and catch up on my reading too, so hopefully I'll have some new reviews for you coming soon.

In the meantime, here's wishing all of you happy reading adventures.

4 Comments on Where am I?, last added: 1/9/2010
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13. I'm On Hold...

*Please note: This is a future-dated post so it will remain at the top of the blog for a few days. Scroll down for new content*

I've tried to keep up with the blog this week, but have failed miserably. Why, you ask? Well, it's the Olympics. I love watching the Olympics and due to the fact that I missed the 2008 games and this is the first chance I've had to watch a lot of the events (thanks to the miracle of DVR), I'm spending a lot of my time catching up on that. Which means I'm not blogging.

So I may be scarce these next few days until the games are done. In the meantime, you should go watch them too!

I'd like to leave you with this quote from the CEO John Furlong’s speech at opening ceremonies:

The Olympic Flame has touched many millions and prompted spontaneous, peaceful celebration. Reminding us all that those values that unite and inspire the best in us we must never abandon. As the Olympic Cauldron is lit, the unique magic of the Olympic Games will be released upon us.

Magic so rare that it cannot be controlled by borders. The kind of magic that invades the human heart touching people of all cultures and beliefs. Magic that calls for the best that human beings have to offer. Magic that causes the athletes of the world to soar and the rest of us to dream.
(Emphasis mine)

6 Comments on I'm On Hold..., last added: 2/22/2010
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14. Ahem...

Well, I have an announcement to make. I hadn't decided when I was going to post this, but seeing as my brother spilled the beans in his blog post on Sunday** I guess it's time for me to share the news.

The reason I've been gone so much of the past few weeks is I've been working on a job application. This job application:

That's right. I'm going back to work at Walt Disney World this summer. Readers who have been with this blog since 2008 (and before) now that I started by Disney-related blog, Disney World Girl, to chronicle my adventures during my experiences of The Disney College Program. Well, now I've been invited back to participate in an alumni program from May to August this summer.

So what does this mean for you? Well, this will have a big impact on my blogging schedule, although I don't know how much. Last time I pretty much only did Disney blogging, and that took a lot of time. But I will try to keep up the book blogs this time too, because I did A LOT of reading last time around. So we'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm starting a new feature on that other blog to celebrate the countdown of my departure for Florida. It's called Ask a Cast Member, where you can ask me any Disney-related question you can think of. Head over to the introduction post to learn more, or you can jump straight to the form too.

Anyway, now you know what's going on. More news about this as it comes, although most of it will be on the other blog, so make sure you follow that one if you're interested.

**Incidentally if you visit my brother's blog, make sure you ooh and ah at the header. I made it myself using only Paint and I am very proud of it. :)

5 Comments on Ahem..., last added: 3/26/2010
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15. YALOLcat, with a bonus

I think [info]tltrent had a good idea, so here is the thread to post your YA LoLcats. I'll start it with her suggestion for my MoggetLOL:

And for fun, a bonus LOL with [info]selimsa803's suggestion, which has nothing to do with YA lit:

Now, it's your turn! Make your own YA LOLcat and post it here in the comments or link to your own journal.

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16. Gone by Michael Grant

Gone, the first novel in a planned six book series, starts off with a bang. Or, should I say, with a poof?

Sam Temple is in history class when the teacher suddenly disappears. As in, was there one moment, and the next he was gone. Sam and his classmates soon realize that EVERYONE over the age of 14 disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach. While the other kids in town quickly look to Sam for leadership, Sam just wants to find a way to escape and discover what really happened, worried about his recently discovered ability to create light from his hands and to do harm with the light. Into this leadership void step the Perdido Beach School bullies and, eventually, a small group of students from Coates Academy, a boarding school for wealthy troublemakers, who have an agenda of their own. Led by the charismatic Caine Soren, they quickly move to consolidate power, enforcing order and creating new rules. Caine immediately realizes Sam is their biggest obstacle, both because of how the Perdido Beach kids look to him and because the strength of Sam’s superpowers may rival Caine’s own. And if the Coates kids need to eliminate Sam to retain power, then that’s what they’ll do.

Even at 558 pages, Gone is a pretty quick read. Despite its length, though, there isn’t much character development, something I’m willing to let slide since it’s plenty entertaining on plot alone and this is the first book in the series, setting things up for future books. For readers who like action or who just want to be entertained, the lack of extensive character development won’t be a problem, as Grant manages to sustain the fast pace by combining multiple sources of suspense—why did people disappear? What do the hours and minutes running down before each chapter mean? Why can’t the kids leave? Will they have enough resources to survive?* What caused all the superpowers and mutations? Will there be a Coates Academy vs. Perdido Beach showdown—in such a way that enhances the momentum of the story instead of bogging it down. Just be sure to let them know that this is the first book of a series, since this is not mentioned anywhere on or in the book, and that while some questions are answered, there are still a lot of loose ends.** A part of me feels that more issues (maybe even all of them) could have been resolved in this book, though it would necessitate more pages or perhaps two shorter books, but I am still sufficiently intrigued to look forward to the next book.

Among the reviews: Book Envy and Teen Book Review.

* You can tell how much you’ve been affected by Life as We Knew It and the dead & the gone when you immediately start worrying about food running out.

** Why? Why do publishers do this? I had a teen complain about the same thing with Lauren Henderson’s Kiss Me Kill Me, which had an abrupt ending and no mention of it being the first book in a series.

9 Comments on Gone by Michael Grant, last added: 9/23/2008
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