GONE DARK, by Amanda Panitch, Margaret K. McElderry Books, April 12, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
A 17-year-old draws on her survivalist skills as she leads her friends across the country following a mass power failure in Gone Dark, by Amanda Panitch.
When 17-year-old Zara escaped her father’s backwoods survivalist compound five years ago, she traded crossbows and skinning hides for electricity and video games…and tried to forget the tragedy that drove her away.
Until a malware attack on the United States electrical grids cuts off the entire country’s power.
In the wake of the disaster and the chaos that ensues, Zara is forced to call upon skills she thought she’d never use again — and her best bet to survive is to go back to the home she left behind. Drawing upon a resilience she didn’t know she had, Zara leads a growing group of friends on an epic journey across a crumbling country back to her father’s compound, where their only hope for salvation lies.
But with every step she takes, Zara wonders if she truly has what it takes to face her father and the secrets of her past, or if she’d be better off hiding in the dark. —Synopsis provided by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Gone Dark is a story of “what ifs?” What if the power goes out? What if the power outage lasts more than a day? A week? What if the entire country loses power? How will people/humanity survive?
Zara knows exactly what to do. She spent her childhood learning how to live off the grid. She’d rather do just about anything than go back to living that way, but it’s been stamped into her. Zara is strong, smart and resilient.
Author Amanda Panitch does an excellent job setting the scene. Tension, suspense, a bit of mystery. They’re all there. Heightened emotions — especially fear — really bring the story to life.
There is one part where Zara ends up in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints compound, and that group feels more like a fundamental sect than mainstream Mormon, but otherwise, Gone Dark feels believable.
Gone Dark is a fast-paced apocalyptic story that will have you wondering if you’re prepared for whatever might come your way.
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