Title: Gone, Gone, Gone
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)
It's a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random attacks. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are trying to make sense of their lives. Craig's got a crush on Lio and is preoccupied with what their brief kiss meant, if Lio will kiss him again, if it'll help Craig get over his ex-boyfriend. Lio feel alive when he's with Craig, forgets about his broken family and his dead brother. But being with him means being vulnerable, and Lio has to decide if love is worth the risk.
Gone, Gone, Gone was at times sweet, romantic, and intense. This is a story of two different boys, both more than a little messed up and complicated, coming together in a dangerous point in time. Both main characters have such interesting voices. The beginning was a bit rough, a bit jagged, but then it flowed and I fell in love with Craig and Lio (especially Lio, which is upsetting because he's gay, and fictional).
A quick note. When 9/11 and the Beltway shootings occurred, I was in high school, but it didn't affect me as much as most, possibly because I live on the west coast in Canada. That being said, me not having experienced those events didn't take anything away from the story for me. If anything, I enjoyed the book more. Weaving those real life events into this book gave it a sense of immediacy for me, like it was all happening right then.
Craig and Lio had wonderful voices, honest and so much like teenagers and complicated and messed up. With Craig, he just couldn't shut up. He babbles on and on, but it's like if he stops talking, stops worrying about his animals and his ex, stops e-mailing his ex, stops obsessing over Lio, he'll explode. He'll just stop and everything will fall apart around him. On the other hand, Lio was perfect, battered and broken, so rough around the edges after him family issues and his brother's death. He's closed off, keeps everything tight to him, then Craig walks in talking about anything and everything and Lio gets the urge to open up. But opening yourself up to someone, especially someone you might love, makes you so vulnerable it scares you.
This book felt so personal, like being given a glimpse into Craig and Lio's lives at a specific moment but it had to be kept secret. The shootings impact them both directly and indirectly, and it exposes their weaknesses to the reader's eyes, showing the reader the deepest and most fragile part of themselves, showing what they want but how much it's going to hurt to get it.
There's so much in this book about love and connections, about hope at a time where the world is dangerous and exploding around you, about being needed by someone who's just as messed up as you are. Being needed by someone can be empowering. Being loved can change how you see the world, how you treat it, how you interact with it. This moment in two teenage boys lives was harsh, difficult, but also poignant. Even in the dark times, in the shadows of pain and loss and sleeplessness, can there be hope and love.
(I received an e-galley of this book from Simon & Schuster.)