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Literature / Gone

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One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.

He just vanished - along with everyone else over the age of 14 in a 20-mile radius around Perdido Beach, California, which is also now enclosed by an opaque, impenetrable dome. The children left behind find themselves battling hunger, fear, and one another in a novel strongly reminiscent of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Things go from bad to worse when some of the children begin exhibiting strange powers, animals show signs of freakish mutations, and people disappear as soon as they turn 15.

Written by Michael Grant.

There are six books in the series:

  • Gone (2008)
  • Hunger (2009)
  • Lies (2010)
  • Plague (2011)
  • Fear (2012)
  • Light (2013)

Now has a character sheet.

In July 2013, author Michael Grant announced that he had sold the rights of the series to Sony TV, who claimed to be interested in adapting the series into a TV show. As of 2018, the project is in Development Hell.

A Sequel Series titled Monster started in 2017. It is a trilogy, consisting of:

  • Monster (2017)
  • Villain (2018)
  • Hero (2019)

No relation to the 2012 Amanda Seyfried film of the same name.

The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abdicate the Throne: The leadership of Perdido Beach is like a game of musical chairs. Caine waltzed in and took over, but left after the end of Gone. Sam then took over for Hunger, and then got tired of the responsibility and gave the leadership to the Town Council in Lies, run by Astrid. That turned out to be a disaster, so Sam returned as of Plague. Sam then left again for the Lake Tramonto settlement at the end, so Caine came back and became the absolute ruler of Perdido Beach. That works for a little while, but only until Light - Sam and Caine both leave to look for Gaia, so Edilio becomes the final Mayor of Perdido Beach, and actually maintains that position until the barrier comes down.
  • Above the Influence: Averted every time the characters drink.
    • In Plague, Taylor took advantage of Sam and made out with him when he was drunk.
    • Orc's entire character arc consists of this, particularly in Plague, when he accidentally kills a little kid when he was drunk.
    • In Fear, Cigar gets drunk and accidentally kills a fellow fisherman.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Sam, after eating canned asparagus.
  • Action Girl: Lana, Dekka, Brianna, Taylor, Penny, Brittany..... it would be easier to list the exceptions (Astrid, Mary, and Diana), though even they have their moments. As of Fear Astrid definitely counts as a full on Action Girl
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Well, they aren't even there... And when one gets pulled in by accident, he quickly goes insane and inadvertently helps resurrect Drake.
    • Averted in Fear when Connie attempts to stop the government from bombing the FAYZ.
  • Aerith and Bob: We go all the way from Sam to Drake to Astrid to Caine to Zil to Orsay.
    • Lampshaded with Nerezza:
    Turk: Weird name.
    Nerezza: Yes, it is.
  • Alliterative Name: Lana Lazar and Edilio Escobar.
  • And I Must Scream: Brittney and Drake being buried alive.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Dekka to Brianna during her "surgery". Brianna doesn't take it too well.
  • Anyone Can Die: At the beginning of Hunger, the list of people alive in Perdido Beach is at 332, and at least sixty names come up on a regular basis. By the end, 136 are dead.
  • Arc Words:
    • For everyone in Hunger: "Hungry in the dark."
    • For Astrid in Plague: "A simple act of murder..."
    • For Little Pete in Light: "It is not okay to hit."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Drake, he burns frogs, microwaves a puppy, and draws pictures of weapons.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Lampshaded when Astrid points out that there is no gene for shooting lasers out of your hands. Justified, however, when it is revealed that the meteor that carried The Darkness seems to have broken reality.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Little Pete, after his body dies at the end of Plague.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Zil Sperry. Whenever he gets a Character Focus chapter, a lot of it is him admiring Lance and his looks.
  • Anyone Can Die: Following in the footsteps of Remnants, the series has a surprisingly high body count for a YA book series. For the record, those who are confirmed to have made it out of the FAYZ are Sam, Astrid, Diana, Edilio, Dekka, Quinn, Lana, Albert, Taylor and the Artful Roger. This is just the major characters - anyone else's fates are debatable.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Sam takes the lead during the FAYZ, despite being completely average during normal circumstances. Taking charge when things get tough and attempting (not always succeeding) to go back to being a Ordinary High-School Student is an established character trait for Sam. Even before the FAYZ, when he saved a busload of his classmates from going over a cliff. Though, completely averted with most of the other characters.
  • Back from the Dead: Drake and Brittany. Together.
  • Badass Bookworm: Computer Jack, highly capable in computers... And kicking your ass. As of Fear this trope applies to Astrid as well
  • Badass Normal: Edilio. Drake and Orc were also this before gaining powers.
  • Berserk Button: Little Pete is quite sensitive to loud noises, roughhousing, and threatening Astrid. His yet-to-be-clarified power makes this an extremely dangerous button to press.
    • Do not threaten Brianna in Jack's presence. It makes him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
      • Threatening Brianna seems to be a bad idea all around. Dekka had a similar if not worse reaction.
    • Drake pushes this intentionally to draw Sam, Dekka and Jack out. Thanks to Toto, it doesn't work.
    Drake: I whipped her, Sam. I broke her legs so she couldn't run. I think she liked it. (grins) She was screaming, but she liked it.
  • Big Blackout: In Hunger, the entire FAYZ undergoes a blackout due to the Coates students, manipulated by the Gaiaphage, messing with the local power plant. They are never able to get electricity back.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The bugs from Plague.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Only a little more than half the kids in the FAYZ actually survive, and they're highly traumatized, with 3 committing suicide, an unknown number getting addicted to drugs and alcohol and most if not all breaking down crying in shopping malls or grocery stores. Exactly as you'd expect. The lead characters do end up in a better situation, however: Sam's emancipated and living on his own with Astrid, who's now rich due to her movie deal; Diana, despite losing Caine is living with them, Lana and Quinn's lives return to normal quickly, Edilio is still living in the U.S., is openly gay and has Roger, and Dekka's parents don't harass her about her sexuality and she pays tribute to Brianna.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: Some of the kids develop powers due to the meteorite spreading the nuclear fallout.
  • Blatant Lies: Caine's expertise.
    Emily: You can get the lights back on?
    Caine: I can. It would take about a week.
    • Surprisingly averted by Howard in Lies when Astrid wants him to lie about Brittney and Drake.
  • Body Horror:
    • E.Z (and later Cigar) getting eating alive from the inside out by mutated killer worms in Hunger and Fear respectively.
    • The parasitic insects in Plague grow inside their human victims, and eat their insides before bursting out of their chests.
    • Also from Plague, Brittney/Drake being cut in three by Brianna.
      • Brittney/Drake goes through a lot, starting right when they got to claw their way out of a grave.
    • In Fear it is revealed what happened to Francis and Mary, who "poofed" in Lies. They lose their eyes and mouths, their memories are mangled, and they are apparently too disgusting to describe in detail. The person who found Mary called animal control first because he thought she was a dead bear.
      • Also in Fear, Cigar is left at Penny's mercy from sunrise to sunset, and she, among other brutalities, makes him claw his own eyes out.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Brianna is a tough fighter who is very enthusiastic about her power and skill, and wanting to be a "superhero" who takes charge in every fight.
  • Break the Cutie: Most of the characters undergo this at some point
    • Special note goes out to Brittany. When introduced she is a sweet, loving, devoutly Christian girl. Then she: A. Is brutally murdered; B. Finds out her power is scoring a IV on the Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration; C. Suffers hallucinations of what appears to be her dead little brother; and D. Is Sharing a Body with Drake Merwin. It's no wonder the poor girl snaps when she finally meets the Darkness.
    • Also from Fear: Dekka is forced to believe that the bugs are inside her again by Penny, reducing her to a sobbing mess in the dirt:
      Have a good laugh. See what you did to me. Make me brave and then break me. Make me strong and leave me weeping in the dirt.
  • Bring Me My Brown Pants:
    • Andrew wets himself when he realizes Caine has come back to Coates.
    • Drake wets himself after Sam burns his arm off.
  • Broken Ace: Lance is smart, athletic, handsome, and was popular before the poof. He's also a Fantastic Racist.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: The romance between Jack and Brianna is absolutely hilarious if you've seen this quote from his wife, K. A. Applegate:
    I don't usually use real people. Michael used the kids for Gone and then ended up horrified when he realized he'd hooked up our "son" and "daughter" romantically.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The attitude of 90% of the Perdido Beach kids.
  • Came Back Wrong: Brittney's powers allow her to come Back from the Dead, which turns horrifying when Drake gets attached to her and regenerates with her, leaving to them being fused into one person with Drake taking over at times. Brittney is horrified by having to share a body with The Sociopath Drake, and desperately wants to die to save everyone from him.
  • Came from the Sky: In the backstory, a meteor crashed into Perdido Beach's nuclear power plant and killed a worker there, which turned out to contain a being created by aliens to spread life to other worlds, which is mutated by the radiation to become the Gaiaphage, which becomes a Mass Super-Empowering Event as well as the Big Bad of the series.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Astrid's power disappeared after book one. She forgot about it, her boyfriend did, and you're supposed to, too. Michael Grant has said in interviews that he wishes he'd never put it in.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The missiles in the train car that Sam, Dekka, Toto, and Jack discover in Plague. They become a minor plot point in Fear, and one of them ends up killing Orc in Light.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Duck Zhang in Hunger. He has the power to change his mass, from able to float to sinking through the ground. The sinking through the ground part turns out to be the only way to defeat the Gaiaphage, pulling it down to the bottom of the ball where it's trapped for a few books.
  • Children Are Innocent: Averted, subverted, inverted, played every way but straight.
  • Child Soldiers: Edilio trains soldiers, including Brittney, to defend the power plant in Hunger. Given that there are no adults around, said soldiers are all children under 15.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Brianna, or "Breeze". She spends most of her time rushing off to impress people with her powers and will, whenever trouble arises, blindly try to take out the threat herself - which nearly gets her killed several times. This is deconstructed during her POV chapters in Fear; the "stain" means she will not be able to use her powers, and she's afraid of being a disappointment to Sam if she doesn't kill Drake before that happens.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A lot of minor characters end up subject to this e.g. Cookie, John, Lisa and Jill.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Drake's speciality
    • Most obvious example is in Hunger when he forces Sam to submit to a vicious whipping, with no intent of stopping before killing him
    • Also, in Fear Penny does this, first to Cigar, and then to Dekka. Caine employs her for this very reason, to act as a punishment for lawbreakers.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Drake. Attacking him usually results in him cheering that he's "unkillable" and then murdering you.
    • To make matters creepier, he gets stabbed in the chest and finds it hilarious.
    Drake: (grins) "This should be fun." Then with his real hand, he drew the knife out of his chest, slowly, as if relishing every inch of steel.
  • Covers Always Lie: The author has expressed some confusion over the fact that the American covers appear to have been designed for a romance.
  • Crapsack World: Having no adults around leads to things quickly falling apart, with the characters having to deal with starvation, lack of water, and constant political chaos, along with the difficulties that come with taking care of the young children with no adults around. Add to that the mutated animals like intelligent, ruthless coyotes and worms that eat people alive, the horrible and sociopathic people running around including some who are spreading hate against people with powers to the point of lynch mobs, and the Eldritch Abomination that wants to kill them all, and things aren't very fun. By the end, 40% of the FAYZ's population ends up dead.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Too many to count, but EZ being eaten alive by mutated worms certainly comes to mind. And anyone who Drake kills, with his favored method of slowly whipping people to death. And the kids eaten by coyotes during the Thanksgiving Battle. And the kids who get thrown through a wall by Caine. And Panda's suicide, particularly because of what happened afterwards. Much of the deaths in Plague count as well.
  • Cruel Coyotes: Lana encounters a pack of coyotes who have enhanced intelligence, with the leader being able to talk. They serve the Gaiaphage (the Eldritch Abomination Big Bad) and kill many children in the FAYZ.
  • Cycle of Revenge: We get one throughout Fear, filled with Disproportionate Retribution. It starts out when Cigar gets drunk and accidentally murders a fellow fisherman. As punishment, Caine sentences him to a day with Penny. She causes him to go insane and gouge his own eyes out. To avenge this, Quinn and the other fisherman refuse to fish until Caine makes Penny leave. So, he tries to, but this makes Penny mad. As revenge, she drugs him, cements his hands, and staples an aluminum crown to his forehead. Finally, Caine ends the cycle when he crushes Penny's head with a rock, killing her.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Anybody 15 and up disappears when the FAYZ is formed, and if you turn 15 while inside the FAYZ then you disappear as well. Although the kids learn how to stay there by the end of the first book.
  • Dark Is Evil: Seeing as how the Big Bad is literally called "The Darkness", that's definitely a no-brainer.
  • Darker and Edgier: Each book seems to get progressively darker, except for Lies, which was about on the same level as Hunger. Not that it started out on a light note, though. Fear is this on a very literal level.
    • Light is a really good example.
  • Death of a Child: And how. Sam and some others find a dead baby inside an abandoned house. Also, the final battle scene in the end of Gone kills a lot of children.
  • Disability Superpower: Astrid's little brother, Little Pete, who is severely autistic.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Fear Cigar kills a fellow fisherman in a drunken brawl. Since he committed murder, Caine sentences him to Penny for a day. 30 minutes was enough to cause a two-day state of shock in the previous victim. Even Caine is horrified at the end result.
    • Also from Fear, Caine asks Penny to leave Perdido Beach after the backlash from what she did to Cigar. So she drugs him, traps his hands in a cement block, and staples an aluminum crown to his forehead.
  • Domed Hometown: After the adults disappear, there is a barrier around Perdido Beach.
  • Doorstopper: While averaged sized for most adult novels, at 500 to 600 pages a piece, the books are gigantic for young adult novels. They are steadily decreasing in length as the series draws to its conclusion, however.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Mary. It doesn't take, and she reappears outside of the FAYZ, with... with... Oh God...
    • Panda, by the beginning of Lies. Also, Jasmine.
    • Orc tries in Plague.
    • Hunter, also in Plague with the bugs.
    • And countless more unnamed during the FAYZ, as well as three who made it out.
  • Duck!: Brianna is yelling for Duck, and confuses a lot of people.
  • Dumb Blonde: Inverted by Astrid the Genius. Lampshaded when Lana meets the main characters and is surprised that Astrid is intelligent.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Astrid had a power in the first book to sense somebody's destiny, which hasn't been used since.
    • Little Petey's handheld game was specifically referred to as a "Game Boy" in Gone. Every book since just calls it a his video game. Though, it might be because by the time the first book was released, the Game Boy had since been obsolete in favor of the Nintendo DS.
    • Penny gets annoyed when Bug uses his powers to peep on her while she's dressing. Fear later establishes that she Really Gets Around and would have loved to get that kind of attention.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Deconstructed with Astrid, everything she has done from Lies and onward follows her.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Darkness. Giant pile of living rock that represents itself in telepathic hallucinations as a giant floating mouth.
  • Enemy Mine: All over the place.
    • Caine teams up with Sam, Brianna and Duck in the climax of Hunger to defeat Drake and the Gaiaphage
    • Caine forms a temporary truce with Anti-mutant racists the Human Crew to distract Sam in Lies
    • In Plague Sam requests Caine's help in Saving Perdido Beach from the bugs as he can't, and Caine then is forced to fight alongside Brianna in the climax
    • Cain (again, noticing a pattern?) and Sam (and Quinn temporarily) hunt down Drake, Diana and Gaia together in the climax of Fear
    • By Light Cain isn't even pretending to be a bad guy. He jumps at the chance to team up with Sam to fight Gaia, and spends most of the book on the side of the heroes
  • Energy Weapon: Sam's ability, when being used offensively.
  • Enfant Terrible: Gaia, so very much. Within the four hours from her birth to the end of Fear, she manages to torture Penny after she accidentally drops her and then laugh at the scene, laugh, once more, at seeing terrified children walk into a fire due to Penny's visions and forcing her mother to relieve her horrible memories of eating Panda. And that's not all... She also attempts to kill both her own father, Caine, by trying to crush him against the FAYZ barrier and Sam, by trying to rip him apart via telekinesis. Thankfully, she doesn't succeed in any of the two cases.
  • Ensemble Cast: While Sam could generally be called the protagonist (though there are always large portions of the story not focused on him), Lies moves all the way into this trope, with Sam getting equal or less attention than Astrid's struggle to lead the council and care for her brother, Sanjit and the island kids trying to fly to the mainland, power struggles among the Coates kids, Mary's growing mental problems, and many other subplots with the rest of the characters.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: All the Coates kids have something or someone capable of humanizing them... Except Drake, that kid jumped off the slippery slope a long time ago and is proud of it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Caine is understandably appalled at what Penny did to Cigar in the twelve hours she had him. To put it simply, she tortured him to insanity. When Lana regenerates his eyes he thinks back to some of the hallucinations she caused, and we get to see them.
  • Express Delivery: Diana's pregnancy develops at an accelerated pace, probably because the baby in question is a mutant.
  • Eye Scream: What ever is left of Cigar's eyes after Lana tries to regrow them.
  • Expy: Several characters are reminiscent of Michael Grant's previous series with wife K.A. Applegate:
    • Sam is very similar to Jake in terms of taking charge and being looked at as a leader figure. There's also a bit of Jobs's dreamer, kind-hearted soul there too.
    • Astrid is an interesting mix of Ax, Jalil, and Cassie. She loves science and analyzing things like Ax, is a rational thinker much like Jalil but she's every bit of the heart and Team Mom that Cassie was.
    • Dekka is basically a transplanted Tate, with shades of Rachel. The only difference? This time, Grant got to actually state explicitly that she was lesbian. So most of the fandom agrees that it's justified.
    • Caine has every bit of Yago's ambition and ruthlessness and Diana is as manipulative and cunning as 2Face.
    • Penny has every bit of Senna's trickery and instinct for destruction, and just like Senna, she Jumps Off the Slippery Slope right before her death.
    • Gaia is very similar to the baby
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Britney in Plague. Also Astrid, after seriously questioning her faith, becomes much more of an Anti-Hero.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Regular kids against the Moofs (mutant freaks).
    • Quinn at his lowest points resorts to actual racism, usually against Edilio. In fact, nearly every villain refers to Edilio as "the Mexican". Lampshaded in the second book by Edilio himself:
      Edilio: I'm not just your good-looking Mexican sidekick.
      Sam: You're not Mexican, you're Honduran.
      Edilio: Sometimes I forget.
    • In Plague, Lance goes full-out racist and blames blacks, gays, Mexicans and Jews for all his problems, as well as freaks.
  • Fille Fatale: Diana, to some extent, although relative to the rest of the FAYZ, fourteen isn't that young.
  • Filler Arc: The entire Human Crew plot had no real lasting effect on anything.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • "Brittney had no romantic feelings for Edilio, but what she had went a lot deeper. She would rather burn for eternity in the hottest fires of hell than let Edilio down. " This goes entirely out the window in Plague after she goes crazy.
    • Dekka and Sam:
    Sam: I don't want to sound weird, but you know I love you, right?
    Dekka: Love you too, Sam.
    • Diana has become this with Astrid and Sam at the end of Light.
  • From Bad to Worse: The series can very well be the poster child for it. How does an (already-isolated) California town caught between a desert, a school for "difficult" children of rich kids, and a nuclear power plant that's cut off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable barrier, with no adults and an Eldritch Abomination with numerous beasts at its command that are trying to kill the kids of this town get worse? Food shortages, Fantastic Racism, (and ACTUAL racism) an indestructible psychopath with a whip hand get added into the mix, and said Eldritch Abomination gets more and more dangerous. How does that get worse? Suddenly there's a plague and nigh-indestructible bugs trying to kill everyone! Then the barrier goes black and everything goes dark. And then Light happens.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Fallout Alley Youth Zone.
    Howard: "Don't worry about it. It's just a FAYZ!"
    • The E.Z Killers (mutated worms), or "zekes".
    • The SDC, "supernatural death cough."
  • Gallows Humor:
    Quinn: It looks like the world's worst picnic.
    Astrid: I believe that's what's referred to as Gallows Humor.
  • Gender-Blender Name : Quinn is a boy.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: In Plague, Diana has a Shower of Angst while thinking about her Near-Death Experience in the last book. She walks back to her bedroom wrapped in a Modesty Towel to find Caine sitting on her bed. He gives her an Anguished Declaration of Love that quickly progresses into them having Their First Time via a Sexy Discretion Shot.
    "Diana took a step back, unwound the towel, and let it drop. Caine made a sound like a strangling animal."
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: When she meets the Darkness in Plague, Brittany goes mad and comes to believe that it is God.
  • Gosh Dangit To Heck: Diana is often referred to as witch, instead of the obvious swear word bitch.
    • She actually refers to herself as a bitch in Plague, subverting this trope.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The good guys are not wholly good, and the bad guys are not wholly evil. Except for Drake; he's just plain crazy.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Caine throws Duck at the Darkness. It doesn't seem like much, but Duck has altered his mass to that of a mountain.
  • Harmful to Touch: Touching the barrier feels like sticking your entire arm in an electrical outlet. Which becomes a bit of a problem when Orsay's prophecies require her to touch it semi-constantly.
  • Hate Sink: While most of the villains have too big of a Freudian Excuse or can be argued to fall into the Evil Is Cool category, there are 2 examples written solely for the readers to hate:
    • Lance stands out as the only member of the Human Crew with no tragic background or redeeming qualities, while having all of the xenophobic and sadistic personality traits of the other members. He is also racist and a total coward, as shown by his begging for mercy after being shot by Edilio.
    • Bug is a complete pervert who uses his powers to sneak into girls rooms and watch them undress. While he did come from an abusive household, this doesn't explain his sexual deviancy and is barely touched on in the narrative. He also appears to have survived the FAYZ when so many more likable characters didn't.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Almost all of Caine's team does this at one point or another. Computer Jack, Orc, Howard, Diana, and eventually even Caine himself all do it.
  • The Hero: Mercilessly deconstructed with Sam who by the end of Hunger, gets so fed up with the stress and dealing with everyone else's problems that he quits.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sam and Lana, in Lies.
    • Dekka, after Penny's visions made her think she had the bugs in her again.
    • Dekka again after Brianna dies.
    • Edilio too after he thinks Roger dies.
  • Hero's First Rescue: Sam runs into a burning apartment building to rescue a little girl. Subverted as this isn't Sam's first heroic act (pre-powers, though), he only ran in because no one else would and the girl dies anyway. It does, however, mark him as a hero and a leader in the strange new world for FAYZ, to his chagrin.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Duck dies in order to defeat the Darkness
    • Senseless Sacrifice: Guess who survives anyway.
    • Later, Caine gives his body to the disembodied spirit of Little Pete so he can finally kill the Gaiaphage. He also completely destroys his own reputation in a letter written beforehand to save Sam from the law, claiming he made him do bad things with his powers.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Howard and Orc. Sam and Quinn originally. And also female example with Orsay and Nerezza in the third book.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Zig-Zagged with Diana. Throughout the series, she's probably the least outwardly loyal Coates kid, often to the point of sabotaging their plans, but is the only one that actually cares about Caine. She stays even after half the team Heel Face Turns but is openly critical of how things are being done. Finally, in Plague, she leaves for good. But she remains on her own side the whole time, so there's no technical change.
  • Honey Trap: This is mainly how Diana manipulates people, most notably Computer Jack in Hunger.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate:
    • Brittney begging Sam to kill her (and Drake) in Lies and Plague.
    • In Plague after Dekka gets hit by a greenie.
    Dekka: Don't let it happen. Swear to me Sam. Swear it to me by God or by your own soul or whatever you believe, swear to me, Sam.
    Sam: I won't let it happen, Dekka. I swear it.
    • Also in Plague, when Hunter is being eaten by the bugs.
    • Sam to Edilio in Light, to stop Gaia from accessing his power.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: One of Dekka's reasons for not telling Brianna she loves her. Fortunately for her, when she eventually does tell, they're still friends.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: It's really hard not to interpret Drake's comments to Astrid in Plague this way. Calling her beautiful, winking at her, promising to "come up and play" . . . those aren't usually preludes to whipping somebody's skin off. Of course, with Drake . . .
  • Ikea Erotica: When Sam and Astrid have sex.
    She sighed as he entered her.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Dekka's crush on Brianna, who is straight.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: The eponymous sickness in Plague.
  • Instant Birth: Just Add Labor!: Diana, at the bottom of a certain mineshaft, with hardly any assistance and not a lot of preparation either.
  • Imaginary Friend: Spidey is Toto's imaginary friend.
  • Incest Subtext: Gaia in Light has shades of this towards both Caine and Sam, making her interactions with them very squicky.
  • Karma Houdini: Albert doesn't get any retribution for abandoning Perdido Beach in Fear. Thanks to a publicity stunt in Light, he ends up getting interviewed by CNBC, and McDonald's pays for his education. Thankfully Astrid and Quinn both call him out on this, and Edilio mentions that in spite of how he acted he still saved a lot of lives. And it's implied that he feels a lot of resentment over what he's done.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Diana becomes pregnant quite quickly once her and Caine get down to it, even though not long before that she was very badly starved, which should have had some kind of effect of her fertility/menstrual cycles (it should have stopped them.)
  • Lampshade Hanging: Astrid has a habit of pointing out the techniques people use in their speech, e.g. "Rhetorical question" or "Defensive humor."
  • Little Miss Badass: Arguably, all the female cast, but especially Brianna, one of the youngest Action Girl of the series.
  • Loophole Abuse: The way the kids from the FAYZ escape prosecution? Prosecutors decided that the FAYZ was a separate dimension, and therefore not under California State Law.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: This is parodied in Plague.
    Virtue: I'm going to refuse to do puberty. It makes you stupid.
  • Meaningful Name: The series has a thing for Biblical names: Caine trying to kill his brother, Mother Mary and Brother John taking care of the children, etc.
    • Also, Lana "Lazar"; rising from fatal injuries, like the tale of Lazarus.
    • "Drake" means "dragon".
    • Nerezza is Italian for 'darkness'.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: Dekka fearing that she is infected by the parasitic bugs that she was trying to kill, makes Sam promise to kill her if it comes to that. Sam breaks his promise, keeping her alive to do "surgery" on her - physically tearing the bugs out of her body and then having Lana heal the resulting wound.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The UK/Aus/NZ editions give a much more foreboding feel to the books. The image doesn't even do it justice: the author's name is only visible because of its gloss on an otherwise matte cover.
  • Monster from Beyond the Veil: Drake/Brittney in Lies.
  • Morality Pet: Diana for Caine , although their relationship does show some abusive patterns on both sides. In book four, he takes a level in jerkass and drives her away.
  • Mr. Vice Guy : After the events of Hunger, Lana picks up smoking and drinking.
  • Muggle Power: The Human Crew is a type 2.
  • Muggles: The non-powered kids, although some of them, such as Astrid, Edilio, Albert, and Quinn play a large role in the plot.
  • Name of Cain: Caine is Sam's twin brother.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Caine Sorren, Drake Merwin WHIPHAND!, Orc, Mallet, The Gaiaphage, Zil, Nerezza.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: All the fucking time.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Human Crew.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Brianna, who during Fear, attempts to rescue Diana and her baby... only to have the Gaiaphage possess it, by way of Penny's visions.
  • No Bisexuals: Sexual orientation is pretty much always discussed in terms of gay/straight, with no indication that someone could be in between, although there is a lot of controversy involving a certain Zil Sperry.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Drake whips Sam so badly his skin is in tatters and is in so much pain he is praying for death, even after being injected with morphine.
  • Not Quite Dead: Albert gets shot in the head by Lance, yet manages to survive nearly bleeding out.
    • Played with with Drake. He gets (presumably) killed by Caine in Hunger, but returns in Lies sharing a body with Brittney. Who is also a case, as she gets both legs broken and shot in the chest, yet can't be killed.
  • Not-So-Final Confession: Dekka confesses her love for Brianna while thinking that she is about to die, but Sam manages to save her by an impromptu surgery with Lana's help.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Everyone to Brittney in Lies, though Howard just comes out and says it.
  • Nuclear Mutant: The Gaiaphage was initially a virus created by aliens to spread life which then crashed into a nuclear plant by meteor, which combined with the meteor killing a human and some of that person's DNA being incorporated into the Gaiaphage, led to it mutating and becoming a terrifying Eldritch Abomination which feeds on nuclear fuel.
  • Obsolete Occupation: Jack is an expert at computers (though it's not his job, given that he is a kid like everyone else, in a Domed Hometown shut off from any possible internet access. He almost manages to get the internet working anyway until the event of the second book leads to the local power plant failing, making his job completely useless as everyone's computers just slowly run out of battery.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cain's reaction when the bugs begin to strain his telekinesis in Plague
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Plague temporarily focuses on three different girls, all named Jennifer, who live together, and it's once mentioned that John is taking care of a boy in the daycare who is also named John. There's also apparently one other boy in the FAYZ named Peter, though he's never seen in-person.
  • One-Word Title: Each book has one.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: The premise of the story.
  • Only Sane Man: Edilio.
  • Panspermia: The gaiaphage is a result of aliens trying to send life to other planets Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • The Plague: There are two of them in Plague: the supernatural cough of death, and the bugs.
  • Playing with Fire: The little girl at the beginning of the first book.
  • Personality Powers: Some of kids gain powers based on their fears
    • Sam makes light, and is afraid of the dark.
    • Caine and Computer Jack developed powers to impress Diana
    • Lana and Orc gained their powers to survive the coyotes.
    • Bug gained his powers in order to hide from his Abusive Parents.
  • Pet the Dog: Two examples with Caine when he surprisingly tells Computer Jack not to "sell himself short" on his filming of Andrew's poofing, and when he tells Duck Zhang to leave the Gaiaphage's mineshaft while he has the chance.
  • Power Palms: Most mutant's powers come from their hands. This means that the powers can be shut down by trapping a person's hands somehow, thus Caine gets rid of potential powered rivals at Coates Academy by encasing their hands in concrete.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Bug uses his invisibility to spy on Penny and Dianna changing or in their underwear a couple of times.
    • Penny also uses her illusions to grant people's sexual fantasies.
  • Pregnant Hostage: Poor, poor 15 year old Diana Ladris in Fear. No one bothers trying to bail her out And she's left to give birth in a scorching hot, pitch black mine with two psychopaths who like to torture her. Fans of the character were reasonably miffed.
  • Preserve Your Gays: All LGBT characters cross the finish line in the end, in contrast to just about everyone else.
  • Promotion to Parent: Basically everyone, but especially Mary.
    • Played for Drama with Sam, who gets so sick of playing the daddy that he quits.
    • Astrid has to act as a parent to Little Pete due to the adults being gone, which increasingly stresses her and leads to her having moments of cruelty towards her brother.
  • Pure Energy: Sam can shoot energy beams from his hands.
  • Race Against the Clock: You disappear when you turn exactly 15 years old. Not a big deal for the little kids, but Sam turns fifteen in eleven days... It is discovered by Sam and Caine that there is a way to escape disappearing at the end of Gone, so by the second book, Hunger, most people know how to escape it.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: One of the possible sources for the kids' superpowers. Justified because the series takes place in an Alternate Universe where the laws of science have been rewritten.
    • Though this is Astrid's initial theory, it turns out the powers are caused by the Gaiaphage, who themselves was an alien lifeform mutated into what it currently is by radiation.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Quinn initially blames God for the FAYZ, much to the chagrin of Astrid, who's a practicing Catholic.
    • Also, in Hunger, Sam is feeling down, so Astrid mentions that God wouldn't have purposely done them wrong. He says, "To hell with your god."
  • Random Power Ranking: Diana has the ability to sense the strength of people's powers. She gives people a ranking in "bars", like the strength of a cellphone signal. Normally they range from 1 to 4, except for Little Pete, who seems to be about 10.
  • Random Transportation: It's random to everyone but Little Pete.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sam, Astrid and Edilio as the Mayor of Perdido Beach.
  • Released to Elsewhere: People who turn 15 inside the FAYZ can choose to disappear. Nobody knows whether they go outside the FAYZ, go to another dimension, or if they even surive. It's revealed what happens in Fear. Before the end of the first book, apparently they appeared unscathed. But after Sam and Caine refuse to go, everyone who disappears loses their mouth and eyes, and they become so deformed that they look like roadkill.
  • Reality Warper: It appears that Little Pete may be one of these, which means that the most powerful person in Perdido Beach is a severely autistic four-year-old. Except maybe Gaia.
  • Reformation Acknowledgement: Orc — an eighth grade bully turned Accidental Murderer — undergoes a Heel–Faith Turn and teams up with the heroes. Shortly before the final battle against Gaia, Astrid assures Orc that he's one of the good guys now, no matter what he did in the past.
  • Right on the Tick: The chapter headings are all named after how much time there is, to the second, until the climactic event of the book. In the first book, this event if Sam's 15th birthday, during which he will disappear.
  • Running Gag: When Caine meets Duck in Hunger he takes to calling him Goose.
  • Savage Wolves: The mutant coyotes in the desert are ruthless followers of the gaiaphage who kill a lot of people over the course of the series.
  • See the Invisible: Paint is used on Gaia when she tries to copy Bug's invisibility power so everyone will be able to see her.
  • Self-Plagiarism: This is not the first time Michael Grant has written about kids with freaky mutations that are distrusted by regular humans, all of whom deal with the politics of their surviving group. You can argue that Gone is the Spiritual Successor of Remnants and contains many of the ideas that were not used in the earlier series, i.e. Dekka and Tate (from Remnants) being the same character, except Dekka could mention the fact that she is a lesbian.
  • Separated at Birth: Caine and Sam, though they are fraternal twins.
  • Sharing a Body: Brittany and Drake end up sharing a body due to Drake latching on to Brittney's power to come back from the dead, with the two uncontrollably alternating between each other's forms.
  • Shout-Out: Most of the place names seen on the map are references to works or TV shows related to the themes of the series, such as Stefano Rey National Park (Stephen KingUnder the Dome), the Santa Katrina Hills (KA Applegate—Grant's wife), Grant Street (Michael Grant—Gone), Golding Street (William Golding—Lord of the Flies), and even the town name of Perdido Beach (Lost).
  • Sickly Green Glow: Averted by the radioactive waste which shows up, which Duck notes is not in fact green. Played straight with the Gaiaphage, who is associated with a green glow showing how horrifying it is.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Lana in Lies. Justified because she can heal herself of any damage caused. She eventually quits in Light.
  • Smug Snake: Zil Sperry hates all but one of his teammates, resents not being recognized as a formidable antagonist, and gets himself killed in a poorly planned attempt to gain recognition. Very smug, very irritating, and, in the end, pretty worthless.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: A lot of characters. Chunk, the Coates Academy toadie gets killed (albeit unintentionally) by Caine when he gets thrown into a wall in Hunger.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Pack Leader, in a non-comedic way.
  • The Starscream: Penny in Fear. She even pulls it off, but her big moment is ruined by more pressing concerns.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Gaiaphage turns out to have an alien origin and it's utterly incomprehensible compared to the lifeforms we are used to.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Mary and her brother John become foster parents for pretty much all children under five. Eventually they earn the nicknames Mother Mary and Brother John.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: The going theory is that Little Pete caused the FAYZ by having a panic attack... in the middle of the catastrophic meltdown of the Perdido Beach Nuclear Power Plant. Later confirmed.
  • Take That!:
    Lana: Maybe you're attracted to dangerous unbalanced people, but listen up: I'm not Edward and you're not Bella.
    —>Sanjit: I don't understand what that means.
  • Take That, Audience!: Albert's outrage at the people trying to film the FAYZ for entertainment becomes pretty ironic when you realize that you've been reading about the FAYZ for that very reason the entire time.
  • Talking Animal: The leader of the coyotes is capable of talking.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Diana becomes pregnant with Caine's baby.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Everyone over 14 has disappeared, leading to the remaining people having to run society by themselves.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Any time Sam and Caine work together. The latter seems to be deliberately making it so
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Light, Albert gives a brutal, tearjerking one to the filmmakers that tried to get rid of the grave in the town plaza, thinking it was fake. Also subverted, as it reads a bit like a "The Reason I Suck Speech".
  • The Stoic: Edilio, with occasional but effective Not So Stoic moments.
  • The Wall Around the World: The impenetrable FAYZ Wall which surrounds the area.
  • Third-Option Love Interest:
    • Over the first three books there were hints at a possible love triange between Quinn, Lana and Edilio. In Plague Sanjit and Lana become a couple.
    • And in Fear, Edilio and the Artful Roger become a couple.
  • This Is Reality
    Diana: This isn't the movies, Caine. He looked like roadkill.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The series has been described by critics as "Lord of the Flies by way of Stephen King".
  • Twofer Token Minority: Dekka is a black lesbian. And a Moof, which makes her threefer in the novel's universe. She lampshades it.
    Sam: I don't want there to be lines like that, between regular kids and freaks.
    Dekka: [...] I'm black and I'm lesbian, so believe me, there are always lines.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: The chapters come with a countdown of days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the climax of the book.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The kids come up with a few terms to describe what happens when people turn 15 and disappear. Some of the more frequently-used ones are "poof", "blink", and "make the jump". Basically, they're all just euphemisms for dying.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
    • Emily's... ''brother'' Brother, from Lies.
    • A lot of names come under this. Duck, Zil and for starters.
  • Wham Episode:
    • With Hunger Drake and the Big Bad are killed.
    • Lies Drake is revived and Mary has poofed.
    • Plague Diana, Albert and Quinn change sides, Little Pete is dead, Astrid leaves Sam and Caine takes over Perdido Beach.
    • Fear The Gaiaphage is now inhabiting Diana and Caine's baby and the FAYZ wall is transparent.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Drake! He kills anyone who gets in the way of what he wants coyotes-in-daycare scene. Or just gets in his way. Or just for the fun of it.
    • This may count for everyone, because when you think about it, they're all just kids!