What to Read After... Gone
Published on: 22 July 2018 Author: Emily Drabble
It's so easy for teenagers and young adults to get hooked on Michael Grant's fantastic dystopian book series Gone, but which other stories could possibly grip them as much? We have some ideas and we want your recommendations too...
From the very first paragraph of Michael Grant's Gone, young people aged 11+ are hooked into the series - even those who think of themselves as gamers more than readers.
Every human aged 15 and older suddenly vanishes, the remaining children have to rebuild society and work out what's happened to the adults, and there's also the issue of their developing superpowers.
And there are six books in the main series: Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear and Light, followed by Monster, which is set four years later - and, news just in, a sequel to that called Villain, which is due out in October 2018.
So what makes them so alluring? The action moves so fast, so the experience of reading these books is almost like watching a film. But what happens when it's over? And what should young fans try next?
For those who got a kick out of the disappearing adults...
No nagging, no school, no pressure. The premise of Gone is a heady one (and just goes to show that you should be careful what you wish for!) Try Charlie Higson's Enemy series, which follows what happens after every adult over 14 got sick, the lucky ones died, and the others are awful zombies! It's not very nice, but the series is perfect for Gone fans (and it was recommended by @newtie13 on Twitter, too).
James Dashner's Maze Runner series might also be just the ticket. And check out Alex Wheatle's Crongton series, starting with Liccle Bit. There are adults around, but on the tough streets of South Crong, it's all about the kids. Oh, and of course there's the classic that triggered them all - William Golding's The Lord of the Flies.
For those who love the mutants and superpowers in the Gone series
As the Gone series unfolds, an awful lot of the inhabitants of the FAYZ (aka the Fallout Alley Youth Zone, the barrier cutting the area off from the outside world) develop superpowers or start to mutate. For similar themes, try Brandon Sanderson's Reckoner series, starting with Steelheart. Like Gone, it's set in our world, except something exploded in the sky and stayed there. It gifted certain people called Epics incredible superpowers, but every single one of them turned out to be evil...
Next, check out Taran Matharu's Summoner series, beginning with The Novice; it's set in a fantasy world but the summoning powers are awesome. Also highly recommended for older teens is Marie Lu's The Young Elites series, where the survivors of a deadly illness were left with strange markings and mysterious gifts.
For those who want more dystopia
Those who have fallen in love with the now-dark world of Perdido Beach in Gone should try Moira Young's Dustlands series starting with Blood Red Road, set in a horrible environmentally degraded world. Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses series - set in a 21st century world world where white people are oppressed after African people gained a technological advantage over European people, rather than the other way around - is brilliantly exciting, important and must not be missed.
For those who love a fast-paced book with non stop action
The Blood Guard by Carter Roy - where two 13 year-olds have to save humanity - is a good next step, or try the I Am Number Four series by Pittacus Lore which follows nine survivors from an alien planet who fled to Earth - brillant for anyone who loves Gone.
Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave is also a great read, telling the story of a girl who could be the last survivor after a murderous alien invasion, and try Helen Dennis' River of Ink too (this one was backed by @Jake_Hope on Twitter, who said it has 'grapple-like hooks'). All of these books are suitable for younger teens.
For much older teenagers who want a recommendation from Michael Grant himself...
Gone was conceived by me as in the Stephen King vein. I am happy to recommend The Shining, The Stand, Under The Dome and pretty much everything he writes. We have very different approaches - I tend toward the hooky opening that drops you right in the action. King does the long, slow tightening of the screw, the mounting dread. I'm re-reading Pet Sematary at the moment and despite reading with a writer's eye for technique, he still gets me. I still find that I have to remind myself to breathe.
A quick note from BookTrust, though: this is a recommendation only for older teenagers who are ready to read very scary adult books!
We also asked Lucas Maxwell, reigning School Librarian of the Year, for his recommendations.
Try The Territory by Sarah Govett, a thrilling dystopian series set in the year 2059. Nobody wants to fail their exams, but in this world, anyone who fails will be shipped off to the Wetlands, a world brimming with disease and terror! This is marketed at ages 12+, but Sarah visited our Year 7 students and it was fine for them despite the bleak premise!
Also try The Six by Mark Alpert. It tells the tale of Adam, who plays virtual reality games as a form of escape from his terminal illness. When a deadly artificial intelligence virus called Sigma hacks its way into Adam's game, he's recruited to become a weaponised robot along with five other teens. Can the Six destroy Sigma before it's too late?
But Lucas couldn't quite resist adding a few more suggestions on Twitter - he went on to recommend giving Delirium by Lauren Oliver, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Scythe by Neal Shusterman and The Call by Peadar O'Guilin a go.
For those who just want more from Michael Grant!
The good news is that the Gone series is not quite finished. Set four years after the first six books, Monster came out last year, Villain is out in October and then Hero will follow next year! Also try Michael's Front Lines, an alternative history of the second world war for 14+, the BZRK futuristic trilogy and Messenger of Fear for older teens.
Once again, you really came up with the goods on social media, recommending some brilliant titles for fans of Gone to try! Here are some of the ideas you had:
- Children's book consultant @Jake_Hope had some fantastic suggestions, including Alice Broadway's Ink and Spark (which he said have an 'equally irresistible concept'). He also recommended Cathy Macphail's Nemesis series ('brilliant... high octane, high concept, highly readable!')
- School librarians are always fantastic at offering recommendations, and this was no different. @Sars_68 had a few ideas based on the students at Hazeley Library: Marie Lu's Legend and Rose Elite series, Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
- That wasn't the only recommendation from a school - @DHFSLrc revealed that Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 series is very popular with their students, while @Sarah111well said: 'Some of the Gone readers at school went on to read Will Hill's Department 19 series.' (Numbers are apparently the way to go!)
- @lounge_learning had a lot of love for Tom Hoyle's books Survivor, The Challenge, Thirteen and Spiders, describing them as 'gripping page-turners'. But that wasn't all, as they also suggested Charlie Higson's The Dead series and Demon Road by Derek Landy: 'I always recommend them and they love it.'
- We'll finish things off with a few more ideas: Life as We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer came recommended by @Glibbyglopgloob, while @NicoleAndreiiii backed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. Finally, @abihennig proposed Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld and Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe.
Well, that little lot should keep you going for a while - but it's not too late to share your own recommendations! Get involved in the comments below or by tweeting us @BookTrust.