I think I first heard about GONE, GONE, GONE nearly two years ago. I remember because at that time it was called THE ANIMALS WERE GONE and I emailed Hannah to ask her if it was a reference to the Damian Rice song of the same name.
I've been a fan of Hannah Moskowitz since I first heard about her from my agent at the time. A book about a kid who breaks his bones on purpose? That sounded like my kind of book. I was not disappointed.
Hannah's second book INVINCIBLE SUMMER came out last year and I devoured it. But the book I was really dying to read was GONE, GONE, GONE. I even tried to snag an ARC when I was in NYC earlier this year. But I'm glad I didn't, because GONE, GONE, GONE is going to hold a very special place of honor on my book shelf.
GONE, GONE, GONE is the story of Craig and Lio and Craig's animals. It opens one cold morning after a burglary that results in the loss of Craig's menagerie of adopted pets. He is frantic to find them, but there are other concerns. Such as the random killings in the area.
See, the story takes place during the Beltway Sniper killings that occurred in October 2002, one year after 9/11 (which also has a place in this story).
I'm often wary of authors using big events as backdrops for stories in order to imbue them with artificial gravity, but Hannah never takes the easy road. She could have easily played up the shootings and the 9/11 references and the cancer references for pity, but she instead uses them to create an atmosphere of tension that subtly weaves throughout this story of love in the time of chaos.
Because this is a love story. Lio is in love with Craig. Craig is in love with Cody. Craig talks too much and Lio doesn't talk enough. And no one seems to listen. The relationships are awkward and confusing, just like love at 15 should be. Just like love at 15 is. Everything feels so life and death, and for them, it just might be. Statistically, the chance either will be shot is miniscule, but if life teaches us anything it's that there are no absolutes in life.
GONE, GONE, GONE is Hannah Moskowitz's strongest book to date. It's more nuanced and subtle than BREAK or INVINCIBLE SUMMER, and it feels more personal. The sniper shooting provide a larger scope, but the story still feels so intimate that it's more like reading someone's journal than reading a book...if the journal happened to be written by a talented author.
I honestly can't wait to see what she does next.