Alone by Megan E. Freeman
Fiction | Middle-Grade | Survival
Published by Aladdin
Released January 12, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon
Apocalyptic survival novels are my jam, but I’d never read one written in verse before picking up Megan E. Freeman’s middle-grade novel Alone. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story.
Alone is the tale of twelve-year-old Maddie, who is accidentally left behind in Colorado after the government conducts a mass evacuation of the area. With her only companion being a neighbor’s dog, Maddie has to learn how to survive on her own amid several very dangerous situations.
The thing that struck me hardest about this novel was that Maddie appears to be more prepared and sensible than most adults that I know. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’m a bit of a prepper (and grew up on books like Hatchet). Going into the book with pre-existing survival knowledge, I was impressed by the steps that Maddie took to keep herself and her canine companion alive. So much so that I honestly had a hard time believing that she was just twelve-years-old. In a situation where most people (including many adults) would panic and shut-down, Maddie started collecting food, water, and supplies. Most of what she did was right, and it was nice reading a sensible survival story made for middle-graders.
One complaint that I had is that when we find out what was behind the evacuation, it’s sort of a half-assed explanation that doesn’t make much sense. I won’t go into details because spoilers, but that part of the story was really unsatisfying.
I’ve heard that this is a retelling of Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. I vaguely remember reading that book in third or fourth grade, but I don’t recall anything of what it’s about. Therefore, I cannot comment on the comparison.
While this is a book meant for middle-graders, if you’re sensitive to the death of animals, including pets, be wary of going into it. There are several scenes depicting deceased animals and one scene involving extreme violence towards a kitten.
Alone is a book that I would very gladly pass on to my future children, and is also one that I could see myself re-reading one day.