Narrator: Gail Shalan
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 07-20-21
Genres: Kids, Post-Apocalyptic
Length: 4 hrs and 30 mins
Buy on Amazon/Audible
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.
With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.
As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
Twelve-year-old Maddie is accidentally left behind when her town is suddenly evacuated and her divorced parents think she is with the other one. Nothing makes sense for Maddie, who is terribly alone and needs to fight for her own survival.
Alone by Megan E. Freeman is the embodiment of Maddie’s thoughts, written in free verse form. The raw emotions and unfiltered thoughts are poured into the book in a continuous stream of words. The book is written in first person, and at times it feels like reading a middle-grade journal. The language is direct, without flourishing nor anything that is not essential to the discourse. It was a book that I could not put down, as I was able to feel Maddie’s desperation and anguish. The story is told from her perspective and we know nothing more than she does. The reader doesn’t know why Maddie’s town and surroundings have been evacuated nor the extension of it, just like her. This is what makes this book story so gripping. The need to know, the need to see Maddie survive.
It’s a short novella, and I think the length works well with the subject and the writing style. In fact, I began to feel it a bit slow towards the ends, but it was still pretty enjoyable. The ending was satisfactory and underwhelming in equal parts, that’s why I’m giving the story 4 stars. Many questions I had went unanswered and some events seemed a bit forced, but that didn’t make the book less entertaining.
Gail Shalan delivered a very heartfelt narration, becoming Maddie and transmitting her emotions with power and excellent interpretation skills. It was easy to imagine that I was listening to a little girl, alone and scared. I liked that Shalan was able to find the right balance between raw emotion and containment, with a narration that didn’t disturb the story but added value to it. The audio production was spotless.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.