Alone is Megan E. Freeman’s debut survival middle-grade novel in verse. It follows 12-year-old Maddie, who gets abandoned by some twist of fate when her entire town is mysteriously evacuated. Left alone with no human in sight, she bonds with a Rottweiler named George, who is one of many abandoned pets. Soon after, they lose power and then water, and Maddie has to fend for herself using a variety of ingenious means and the town resources at her disposal, including an empty library, grocery store, neighbors’ homes — you get the picture.
Maddie is alone for months and has to safeguard herself from wild animals, terrible weather, and dangerous intruders, on top of the fear and loneliness of being all by herself.
This was my first survival novel ever! As a child, I had a terrible fear of abandonment, so this book is my worst nightmare come to life. I was worried that I would be too anxious to get through it, but I was enraptured by the whole experience! After a while, I couldn’t put this book down. Maddie is smart and resilient throughout the story, drawing strength from her canine companion, books from the library, and the hope of seeing her family again somehow.
I learned so much from the ways she found water, generated power, scoured the town for food and resources, and just her general planning skills and sheer grit. My heart also went out to her for the level of loneliness, and every few pages, I’d imagine that I’d been left in her place. This book brings a truckload of adventure with so many interesting details, despite being a novel in verse. Let me just say that 2021 verse novels are stepping up the game!
Although her family doesn’t get a lot of “screen time,” Maddie’s parents are divorced, and she’s part of two blended families, much like Fizzy in The Thing About Leftovers.
I saw a couple of reviewers say this, and I felt the same way too: I wish we’d eventually understood why the town was evacuated. Especially for a book for tweens and teens, I feel like that would have made for a more satisfying conclusion. At 416 pages, it’s also on the longer side, although it did hold my interest all the way — and it is a verse novel, which means fewer words and shorter sentences.
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Have you read this book or any survival novels? Care to share some recommendations? Nothing too scary, please! Thank you!