Friday, January 08, 2021


Freeman, Megan. Alone
12 January 2021 by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maddie, whose parents are divorced but live fairly close to each other in Colorado, plans a secret sleepover with her two best friends. They are going to lie to parents about where they are and spend the night at her grandparents' apartment, watching movies and eating junk food without people bothering them. At the last minute, the friends have to back out, but since she has her parents convinced she is at the other's house, she enjoys her evening. Her phone needed to be charged, and when she wakes up, she realizes that something very bad has occurred. The entire town was evacuated for unspecified reasons, and not only is no one left, but everyone was forced to leave their cell phones behind, cutting Maddie off entirely. She rescues the dog next door, George, and the two manage to scrape together a living, taking food and water from other houses and eventually stores. Maddie has to cope with a tornado, blizzard, fire, flood, and injuries while also managing to live without modern conveniences. As the days stretch into months, Maddie still doesn't know what has happened to strand her. There are looters who make it into her town, but they are incredibly violent and she is glad to escape their notice. When her solitude stretches into years, Maddie contemplates trying to drive away from her town, but never makes it far. Will she have to spend the rest of her life alone?
Strengths: I read mostly realistic fiction in middle school, yet the books I remember most are Nelson's The Girl Who Owned a City and O'Brien's Z for Zachariah. This reminded me of those classics. Because this is a novel in verse, it is a super quick read even though it is 416 pages long! There are lots of good details about how to survive in a world with no utilities, and is unlike dystopian novels like Walter's The Rule of Three, Freeman's Zap and Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It because Maddie is COMPLETELY ALONE. The difficulties with weather and other catastrophe she faces make this more of a survival novel, and it's good to see that Maddie and George do fairly well for themselves. 
Weaknesses: Novels in verse always leave me wanting more information, and the ending of this seemed a little abrupt. There was also a very violent scene with the looters and an animal that might be disturbing to sensitive readers. 
What I really think: This was really good, and I can see it being really popular with readers of books like Behren's recent Alone in the Woods and Disaster Days.  I just found myself wanting different things to happen, probably because one of my frequent day dreams in school was so close to this book! I wanted Maddie to be stranded with her friends, I wanted her to fight the looters, I wanted her to drive off and have adventures on the way to finding her parents. Unless students also frequently imagine themselves in a world without adults where they are running a middle school building full of their classmates, no one else should mind!


Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I would want different things that what happened to Maddie. I struggle with being alone too much since my husband died to wish it on any kid. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.