One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone. (First line of the book)
Within seconds everyone over 15 years old disappears in Perdido Beach, leaving all the children to fend for themselves – in a world that isn’t behaving normally. Animals mutating, humans causing things to move through the air at will.
Sam Temple doesn’t want to lead. Yet, as no adults appear, and it becomes apparent that babies are now unattended, and fires are breaking out, everyone looks to Sam to take charge. But, all Sam wants to do is find his mother and help Astrid the Genius find her autistic brother.
There is no respite for Sam, though. Once, Little Pete, Astrid’s brother is located, a new threat shows itself as the children from the boarding school, Coates, a school for rich, pampered children that had been kicked out of every other school they attended, roll into town in an orchestrated show of power and leadership. Caine, a charismatic, handsome and slick boy from the boarding school names himself leader… and begins taking control of all parts of the children’s lives. Some of the things he does are for the good of everyone and the logic can be seen in his actions…but some things are obvious power grabs that begin to strike fear in the other children. To make matters even worse, when someone turns 15 they like the others disappear! Could things get any worse for the abandoned children of Perdido Beach?
This is one of the best young adult novels I have read in a very long time. I couldn’t put this book down as I went through the length of the novel within one day. It wasn’t an easy read either. The darkness of the novel, the atrocity that is the abandonment and slow death of children is not something that I want to be faced with. Especially as I look over at my two-year-old and think, what would happen to her if I just disappeared? Yet, I couldn’t stop reading. The characters that Grant created were in your face, real-life characters. They were flawed children, with numerous problems and uncertainties, but they were larger than life and through this challenge they changed, grew on you and became a part of your own life. I even felt for the bad-guys – for they, like all the others, were only children…
I highly l recommend this book to young and old alike. A teen would be chilled by this book, because they could put themselves in the shoes of the characters, imagining what life would be like if their parents and guardians were not there to bail them out of the tight spots they find themselves in all the time. Yet, adults will find a different, more chilling story within these pages…something every parent fears…what would happen to their child if they were suddenly not there anymore?