ARC Review: Gone Dark by Amanda Panitch

Posted April 11, 2022 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  Gone Dark by Amanda PanitchGone Dark by Amanda Panitch
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 12, 2022
Genres: YA Science Fiction, YA Thriller
Pages: 448
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: five-stars
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Dry meets Hatchet in this thrilling tale of survival following a teen girl who must lead her friends across country to the safety of her estranged father’s survivalist compound after a mass power failure leaves the country in chaos.

When seventeen-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.

My Review:

So this book was really good. Sure, I was at a conference, kind of by myself, with no roommates or any colleagues that I knew very well, so had lots of time to read. But I started this over 400 page book with my breakfast at about 10 am, and was finished by the time I went to bed at 11 pm. That includes about 5-6 hours spent at the conference and an hour watching a tv show. This book was written in such a way that I was sucked in right away, and could barely put it down. I think it is one that a young adult, the age it is written for, would have no problem also picking right up and feeling the same way. If they can get over the size of it, because like I said, it is over 400 pages long, it doesn’t feel at all like it drags. The blurb compares it to Hatchet, which I’ve never read myself, but I totally get it from all the survival skills our main character has to use throughout the story.

I liked the background of her having lived on a compound alone with her mom and dad for the longest time until one day her mother decided it was too much and it was time to leave. The way the author kind of mixed the story of what had happened and why they left throughout the story, all the way through the book, kept me with just enough info to be able to keep going with the story, while also wanting to keep going to find out what details we didn’t yet have. Some of those details weren’t divulged until the big final moment at the end, and they perfectly brought all the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that made our main character, Zara, figure out just what to do next.

Because there were moments at the beginning when we didn’t know all these details, I wondered if she was an unreliable narrator and didn’t remember things. But really that’s not the case. Along her journey to get back to her dad’s compound, because he seemed to be right as this all went down from what he’d told her growing up, she met up with some old friends, and made some new ones along the way. We got some diversity in the characters, in a few different ways. I found the part about the Latter Day Saints compound/camp they ended up at very interesting. Then there was a truck they had to “borrow” later on in the story, and the way that story went was done uniquely and, well what I assume would be realistically in that type of a situation.

A great book that I can’t wait to get a copy of for my school library!

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6 responses to “ARC Review: Gone Dark by Amanda Panitch

    • Lisa Mandina

      Well, she doesn’t spend a ton of time on the compound in the story, but it is interesting how her time there was!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve never read Hatchet, and it doesn’t sound like a book I’d like. But this is different than Hatchet for the most part from what I can tell. You should give it a try if you get a chance. It does have an LGBTQ character too!

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