Megan E. Freeman
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
Published January 12, 2021
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.
With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.
As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
I tend to really enjoy novels in verse, but also feel a little bit inadequate reading them? Does this happen to anyone else? Just me?
Even with that, I really liked ALONE. It’s a bit too dark to say I enjoyed it– lots of moments left me uncomfortable, and I will admit that I even peeked ahead to the end because I just needed to know that I could handle what would happen. (It had been an unusually tough week.)
I liked the connection that Maddie had to her family and the ways she tried to preserve those connections even while she was alone. It was so sweet that she had the dog with her, too. I really liked him and that they took care of each other.
There were a lot of suspenseful moments and some interesting political and social commentary often lurking between the lines. Those are all things I love in a book, so they only pulled me in more deeply into the story.
I often find stories with a solitary narrator to kind of drag on without other characters and dialog to break up the narrative, so I felt like telling this particular story in verse kept it feeling fast-paced and suspenseful.
If you enjoy more contemporary-feeling dystopian stories or novels in verse, definitely add ALONE to your reading list.
Recommended for Ages 10 to 14.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used a few times.
Maddie sees a group of men and wonders whether they would rescue her or attack her.
Maddie tries to pray and at one point writes an angry letter to God.
Maddie sees a man kill a kitten. Maddie learns to shoot a handgun for protection. A tornado rips through Maddie’s town. Lightning sparks a fire that destroys a neighborhood.
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