Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: "Gone, Gone, Gone" by Hannah Moskowitz

Wow, Hannah Moskowitz, you just knocked me for an emotional loop with this one.

It's October 2002. Just as the Washington, DC area is beginning to recover from the 9/11 terrorist attacks the previous year, random people start getting shot and killed by the Beltway Snipers. As I remember all to well, people run to and from their cars, crouch down when putting gas in their cars, and parents fear for the safety of their children while at school. This is the backdrop for the burgeoning relationship between high school students Craig and Lio.

Both boys are emotionally fragile in their own ways. Craig is so hurt by his breakup with ex-boyfriend Cody that he has adopted a large menagerie of stray animals, which he feels he can relate to better than humans. When a break-in at his house allows all the animals to escape, Craig is focused on finding all of his pets and is determined not to let the fear of the snipers interfere with this task.

Lio, who moved from New York following 9/11 and his parents' separation, is dealing with the guilt of surviving childhood leukemia while his twin brother did not. The terror being inflicted by the snipers has truly shaken him, and while he doesn't want to let his guard down by falling for Craig, he cannot help himself. Craig is afraid to care for someone else and becomes afraid he could lose Lio, so he cannot help but to push him away.

Gone, Gone, Gone is a beautifully tender and sincere story of friendship that turns to romance, but that romance is wracked by fear, doubt, and emotional uncertainty. Hannah Moskowitz so perfectly captured the angst of young love, feeling like all you want to do is be with a person, yet so many issues keep getting in the way. All of the characters are drawn so vividly, I could almost picture the story unfolding in my head.

Reading this book made me wish that things were different when I was this age, in terms of being more accepting of your sexuality. But at the same time, I'm so happy that we live in a society where, in general, this story could be a true one, and the fact that these boys are gay is an afterthought. I also once again find myself marveling at the amazing talent in the YA genre right now, that we've moved so far beyond the books that existed when I was younger.

I'm not sure where I heard of this book—I'm fairly certain it was a recommendation from one of two amazing YA authors I've read this year—but I feel so lucky to have found it. Thank you, Hannah Moskowitz, for making me feel hopeful, happy, and sad simultaneously. This is a keeper.

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