Alone by Megan E. Freeman is one of those books that I have a lot of thoughts on. While I really was hooked on this story, ultimately it fell short for me in one major way. This novel in verse is tense and dramatic and good for middle grade readers interested in books about survival.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.

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?

Buy Alone here.

I was immediately gripped by the story of Maddie, a 12-year-old who wakes up alone after her entire area is evacuated due to some mysterious threat. For years, she must survive completely alone with only a neighborhood dog for company. I haven’t read a book about a child having to survive and come of age at the same time since Hatchet, but I was really hooked by this quick read.

That is, until there was a rather unfortunate scene that I’m critical of. Maddie finally sees other humans in the form of looters. There were a few things I struggled with in this scene. Most obviously, the leader of this group commits an act of violence against an innocent animal for no reason other than to show that these strangers are dangerous, I suppose. It’s disturbing and never comes up again, creating a shocking and strange addition to this novel that is truly off-putting. But what really jarred me about this scene was Maddie’s thoughts about the looters. In her mind, she compares them to rioters she saw on television but also to pastors from the local megachurch. It’s implied that the rioters, in Maddie’s mind, are bad and that the pastors are good. I was really disturbed by this strange comparison in light of current events. Overall this scene should have been cut.

I did keep reading this book because it was such a quick one and I wanted to find out how it ended. But nonetheless, that one scene really ruined the tone for me and made this go from a book I really liked to one I honestly hated.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

AloneAlone by Megan E. Freeman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So there’s so much I liked about this book but about halfway through there’s a plot point that just… 1) why 2) ugh, shitty opinion that I don’t want to promote. (Implication that rioters are bad but megachurch pastors are good. I mean… okay…)

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Book Club Questions

  1. What are some of the survival techniques Maddie uses?
  2. What would you need to survive alone for years?

Interested? Buy Alone.
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