Seleste Reviews: Gone by Lisa McMann

Things should be great for Janie—she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. But deep down she’s panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll.

Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time—and he’s in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Price: $9.99
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416979212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416979210
  • Buy Gone at Amazon

As I said in the last review for this series, it’s rare for me to read books back to back. In this case, I’m glad I did because I think it gave a different perspective than reading them separately would have. Once again, this is a short YA novel (about 40,000 words) and therefore a quick read.

The good: Gone still doesn’t really go into where the dream-catching ability came from or why dream catchers exist or any of that. (It’s not even established if supernatural abilities are common in this world or if dream-catching is the only one.) It does, however, give more insight into what the ability means for Janie. Also, the book nicely wraps up all the issues brought out in Wake and Fade, ties them with a pretty bow, and puts the series to rest.

The bad: The whole crime-fighting thing established in Wake and that served as the main plot of Fade? Gone. There is no crime fighting or any of that action-y external conflict that made me enjoy book 2, even with how stressed it made me. Gone returns to the Janie of the beginning of book 1 who is dealing with her alcoholic mother and the realities of her ability and her relationship with Cabe. And she got whiny again. Really whiny. Enough in the early chapters that I wouldn’t have bothered finishing the book if it weren’t for the fact that I knew it was the last 200 pages of the series and I’d feel weird if I didn’t review them all. The whining did improve as things went on, but without the crime-fighting to balance out the internal conflict, the story here just didn’t suck me in.

Once again, stylistically, it stuck with the trend of the earlier books with short, choppy sentences and third person present tense (officially my least favorite combo after anything second person). And, as I found in the second book, this one didn’t have as many choppy paragraphs which made the style a bit easier to deal with.

It isn’t that Gone is a bad book. It does what most readers want in a series conclusion and wraps up all the loose ends. It’s just that, for me as a reader, I liked the Janie of book 2. She was strong, she was willing to take risks, and she was taking control of her ability and her life. The Janie in Gone felt like she was floundering again, both with her ability and her life. Perhaps if the series had been written as one long book with three parts where there was more overlap on both ends with the crime-fighting it wouldn’t have felt like I missed something, but that’s where I was reading Gone. It seemed as though the bridge between uber-crime-fighter and Oh-my-God-the-life-choices-I-have-suck-ass-and-I-hate-everything was missing. I understand why the character was having a tough time, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough continuity between the types of stories.

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