Gone – a review


A book series that I’ve been seeing around for years, and I’ve finally gotten to it! Gone is a staple of YA literature from when the age bracket was first starting to become prominent. Because it was considered to be more of a boys book I didn’t pick it up at the time (thanks mum) but I’ve seen it so often in charity shops since and had to pick it up and give it a go!

Within this book we follow 15 year old Sam, as well as a few others around the US town they live in. They’re just living their normal lives, going to school, trying to avoid the bullies, not getting on with their parents. Until in the blink of an eye everyone over 15 disappears. Suddenly it’s a world overrun by children. And shit breaks lose.

To start, as usual, with the negatives first. First up, fatphobia and discrimination of autistic people. There is rampant fatphobia throughout this book, which unfortunately was very common in YA books at the time this was published (in 2008), with the bad characters being stereotyped as larger and the main protagonists not having their size mentioned at all. One of the main characters younger brothers is autistic, and the discrimination against them is heavy. There is some that is noted as bad within the book itself, although the r-word is printed on page and most people don’t speak up. However, there are also aspects of his portrayal which are harmful against autistic people. There’s one instance I can think of which is built into the plot itself and made me uncomfortable. I’m not autistic however, so I would look for own voices reviews to know more on this.

One last negative is about the author. I don’t know much about this at all, as in nothing. But. I’ve heard he’s an awful person. A cursory google search suggests that this is mainly in regards to his views towards disabled people being burdens (which is fucking bullshit), but there may be more there as well that you might want to look into. This is something that I need to look into myself as I really enjoyed his Messenger of Fear novels and had intended to purchase the third book in the trilogy.

Now. Onto the positives! This was a really fun book! At the beginning I wasn’t that invested, most likely because I’ve seen this concept done before (thank you CBBC for the amazing Sparticle Mystery series!) so the set-up wasn’t interesting, I’d seen it done before. If you haven’t then it would probably be more interesting for you! But once it got into the action, getting into the specifics of each characters plight and their specific aims and intents whilst the adults were gone (as well as their reactions to turning 16), this was where the book really turned around for me. I was completely invested, rushing through the end half of this book and I was gripped for each twist and turn.

This is a standard last 00s YA dystopian so definitely take that into account if you’re going to pick this up. To be quite honest, other than the fomo there isn’t really any reason to pick this book up over many others that don’t have these problematic elements. But I totally understand fomo so no judgement there. I’ll be picking up Hunger, which is book 2, already sitting and waiting on my shelves. I don’t know if I’ll read any further into the series though. It all rests on book 2!

Spooky Reading Recommendations!

So I’m not great with scary things. They aren’t my favourite and I don’t enjoy scaring myself, so instead my recommendations for Halloween reads are more mystery, thriller and dark, rather than pure scary. I’ll start off with children’s books and move on through to adult literature, but definitely try out all you feel comfortable with! I also have this post in video format on my YouTube channel from last year, so click here if you prefer to listen to/watch the recommendations!


Sheets by Brenna Thummler

This cute little graphic novel is linked into Halloween with an adorable ghost who appears and wants to assist our protagonist. A nice and unspooky way to join in with the season. Find my full review here!


Kiss of DeathKiss of Death by Malcolm Rose

Something a little more creepy, two children pick up a coin on a school trip to a town which was previously ravaged by the plague. Taking this coin places a curse on the two and we see them struggle to come to this realisation and figure out a solution.

blood waterBlood Water by Dean Vincent Carter

There’s a “thing” in the water in this slightly scary teen read. It’s escaped from where it was being kept for research and is resulting in the gory deaths of those living nearby. Something a bit more creepy for those who want to test themselves. This isn’t a book I enjoyed personally but if the synopsis looks intriguing to you then check it out.

the black book of secretsThe Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins

Back to something not as scary again, this book (and the whole series) are very fun, creepy reads aimed at 11+ readers. This book focuses on a man who pays money to write peoples secrets in his black book, our protagonist doesn’t understand why he would pay for this. So he tries to find out.

Who Could That Be at This HourWho Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket

What creepy but not too scary book recs list would be complete without Lemony Snicket?! Obviously there is the whole Series of Unfortunate Events, however, another one of his series’ is called All The Wrong Questions and is more of a YA book. More of the Snicket we love with a more mature audience in mind.

skuldugerySkulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

One of my absolute favourite series’, that I’ve been following since the beginning and continue to pick up. These books are 11+ and follow a Skeleton detective and the niece of his best friend as they get into a lot of scrapes. So much fun, great Irish humour and perfect for Halloween! (Also not spooky at all, the only fear is when the characters get themselves into stupid situations haha)

the last apprenticeThe Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney 

This series goes by many names, in the UK (where I’m from!) it’s called Spooks, but in the US it is The Last Apprentice, and the first book has the same name. A little more of a creepy YA, we follow a young boy as he becomes the apprentice of the spook. A man who rounds up witches and keeps society safe from them. There are a few issues with this series, as it seems to be incredibly patriarchal with a mistrust of any female, however, I thought I would still mention it on this list as when I first read it at 15 I didn’t notice this and still really enjoyed the books. It’s up to you.

Messenger of FearMessenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Another one of my favourite books, I read this for the first time recently and couldn’t put both it and the sequel down. I’m waiting on tenderhooks for book #3!! This follows a girl who has been apprenticed to the Messenger of Fear. It’s a nasty job, but she chose to take it on, and doesn’t remember why as her memory was wiped. Lots of graphic violence and a little bit of creepiness. A lot of fun!!

cold bath streetCold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley

Not the most well heard of book, which is such a pity as this is yet another 5* read on this list! We follow a young boy names Preston when he has died, and how he copes in the world beyond. But there’s trouble, things aren’t following the route that they’re supposed to and he somehow gets himself entwined within this issue and aims to discover what is going on. Creepy (on a small scale, but more than some of the others on this list) and so engrossing! Find my full review here!

aliceAlice by Christina Henry

An Alice In Wonderland retelling with a twist. This book had me absolutely ensnared for well over a week after I finished reading it! It’s dark, gritty and you should probably forget about other retellings you’ve read as this doesn’t follow that tried and tested format. I loved the skewed, humanoid versions of our well-known characters within Wonderland and how this was dragged into more of a dystopian world than a mythical land. 100% recommend and love! This isn’t a YA read though, so don’t go in with that expectation. Find my full review here!


Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

A straight thriller, a common choice for this time of year. This one messed with my mind, and it’s why I gave it 5 stars! I’ll say straight off that not everyone will enjoy this book, for example, BooksandLala really didn’t like it due to the ending which she considered to be over the top (and I can see why), so keep that in mind. But personally, I loved it and was absolutely enraptured and unable to put it down. Find my full review here!

the end of mr yThe End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

This book is a lot less well known than it should be, in my opinion, and I only know about it as I spotted it in a charity shop. With a creepy mystery surrounding a long-lost book, death, fantasy and weird shit are all present in this great book!

25694617His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

This isn’t your traditional Halloween read, the only real gory section is that there is a murder. Our MC is being tried for a murder he committed, and we follow the events before, during and after the murder, as well as the trial itself. This is 100% not creepy, but it will make you think. Find my full review here!

the girl in 6EThe Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre

This thriller has it all, murderous tendencies, a creep that goes rogue and so much more. This will keep you on the edge of your seat and I personally came to really love our protagonist despite her obvious and glaring flaws.

the house of silkThe House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I had to include a traditional style mystery in here! I love reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle so whenever people add to their works and build upon their characters – I’m in! This book was brilliant and had me hooked, 100% recommend if you want to delve back into the world of Sherlock.

macbethMacbeth by William Shakespeare

Now for an original classic, this book has murder and witches and is thoroughly enjoyable! If you find play scripts difficult to read then there are many great film adaptations of the work, sometimes watching a performance before reading it can be helpful for those who don’t flow naturally into this different writing layout.

the damnedThe Damned vol 1 by Cullen Bunn, and illustrated by Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree

A dark, noir, gangster comic which definitely fits within the horror genre with its graphic panels, there are also fantasy elements within the story which allows it to break the walls of reality in an interesting manner. Check out my full review here!

ghosts of the pastGhosts of the Past by Serge LeTendre and David S. Khara, and illustrated by Frédéric Peynet

This is a mystery/crime comic which follows our protagonist as he deals with Nazi’s, both in the present day and also with what they did during WWII. Pretty dark, due to the topic that it deals with, however, there isn’t really a scare factor. Click for my review for more of my thoughts.

And that’s your lot! It’s a bit of a long list, and my video is almost 25 minutes long so I apologise for that, but hopefully, I’ve been able to provide some ideas for books to delve into this spoopy season!! If you want to see how I get along with my October reads (which have a bit of a spooky theme) then keep an eye on my channel for my October Reading Wrap Up!

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant, a review

This series is one of my absolute favourites, and I only got them because of their covers! Check out my review of book one, The Messenger of Fear, here.

I loved book two as much as I adored the first book, there is really great character development of our two main characters, Mara and the Messenger, as we learn a bit more about them and their backgrounds before the situation that they’re currently in. There is also a much larger cast of victims (or should I say perpetrators?) in this book compared to the first. If you’re unaware of the concept of this book, the Messenger is in a different plain (sort of) to living people, and when people have done wrong but avoid any consequences he gives them consequences. That’s the most basic way I can think of explaining this concept without spoiling too much within the books. Book one focused more on Mara and her personal story, so this book was more about following different perpetrators and seeing how they react and change due to the consequences from their behaviour which damaged their victims.

There is a novella, and apparently, a third book is going to come out at some point. I 100% need to read the novella and I really hope that book #3 is released soon as I sped through these two books with no break, reading the whole book in one sitting, and I just need more of this world and Grants writing!

Had you heard of these? Have you read them? Let me know in the comments!

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant, a review

My boyfriend treated me to this book, as he was there when I saw it for the first time. I’ll be honest, the original draw was the cover, for me it was absolutely stunning and I just needed it! (The sprayed edges were also not helping with how much I needed it!)

Now onto the content of the book, I read through this so ridiculously quickly. I found it very hard to put down and I flew through it at what felt like the speed of light. Time became a foreign concept, as 2/3 hours seemed to vanish in the blink of an eye, I was that engrossed within this novel. I found this dark concept so interesting, it’s not something that I’ve personally read before and also the writing style flowed so smoothly that I was completely engrossed within this horrific world that Michael Grant created.

Mara can remember her name, but nothing else about herself or why she’s here. The Messenger of Fear stands before her, solemn and mysterious. Suddenly what she knows is tipped on her head, gruesome games are abound where karma is the motivator. Everyone must receive a punishment for their worst indiscretions, and that is either by those in their life… or it’s by the Messenger. Why is Mara watching this unfold? Why must she bare witness? She’s going to find out, slowly, painfully, and maybe she’ll wish she hadn’t.

This dark and gritty book is not for the younger reader, I would suggest around 14 years old (using your own discretion for individuals) is a good age, but I also 100% recommend adults to read it! It’s a YA book but I fully enjoyed it and am waiting on tenterhooks for book 3 (and I will be devastated if its release is canceled). There are detailed descriptions of violence and gore, hence the age recommendation, but these are done so well and means that the images are incredibly vivid in the mind. So enjoyable!

I definitely need to read more from Michael Grant, I’m adding all his past and future works to my tbr!!