Forget the Hunger Games, why don’t they make a movie franchise out of Michael Grant’s Gone teen books?
By Michael Grant, Harper Teen
Most teen reads are exactly that: great reading for teens and not so great for older folks, unless they’re easy-to-please kidults – middle-aged persons who participates in youth culture – of course.
Michael Grant’s Gone novels are the lucky exception (so are the Harry Potter books, let’s be honest here) – this is something that will appeal to older, more savvy readers too.
Hunger is the sequel to 2008′s Gone in which all the people older than 14 in a small California coastal town simply blink from existence one morning. As if that isn’t bad enough, the town is now surrounded by an invisible force field which has isolated it from the outside world and some of the kids (but not all) have slowly begun to develop superpowers such as super-strength, super-speed, heat rays, and so forth.
Hunger picks up the action from several months later on from Gone.
The invisible and impenetrable force field is still in place and the adults are still missing. The town is split between the rich bratty kids of the local private school and the regular kids. Also, the split between those kids with and without mutant superpowers are also become more marked. But the biggest problem facing the kids is that the existing food supplies are practically finished up and everyone in the small coastal town is staring starvation in the face . . .
Think Lord of the Flies meet Heroes and you’ll have a good idea of what the Gone novels are about. What makes Gone and now Hunger both exceptional is that neither tries to tone the material at hand down as is often the case with literature aimed at the Grade 7 and up demographic. Hunger pulls no punches: it is violent, addresses issues such as teen alcoholism, anorexia, etc.
But if this makes Hunger sound too heavy on teen issues, then relax: Hunger is simply an entertaining and exciting read. Along the way it makes some points about how it is human nature to act in self-interest and not out of altruism, which is why we need incentives to work. By the end of the book the kids have reinvented money and capitalism again. But the low-down is that Hunger is a worthy sequel to Gone. Few books deserve the page-turner moniker, but Hunger belongs to that fortunate category.
A book which teens as well as their parents can enjoy. Don’t be put off by the dread teen read label or the horrible cover; Hunger is one of those slickly-written books that make for great holiday reading.