REVIEW: Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

8849382Title: Gone, Gone, Gone

Author: Hannah Moskowitz

Publication Date: April 12, 2012

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Rating: ★★★★★/ 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary, YA, m/m relationship

In the wake of the post-9/11 sniper shootings, fragile love finds a stronghold in this intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer.

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 acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives.

Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him… and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.

Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

I cry like three times a day, so it’s the opposite of a big deal. It’d be like getting concerned every time I eat a meal.

Gone, Gone, Gone is a story that is told in dual point of views from both Craig and Lio, the main characters. While Lio can fall into the Love Interest category, I believe that he is a main character in this book since his point of view adds so much nuance to the plot. Plus, he is my boy.

I’ll start by saying that it took me a while to get into this book because the background of 9/11 felt like it would bum me out a lot, but whoa did I fell so hardcore for this book once I hit the 26% mark. It is so beautifully written that I found myself falling into the cadence of the words that Moskowitz skillfully put together to make me yearn for a happy ending for these two.

Before I start on the main characters, I want to discuss how important the minor characters feel. There are two plots going on, I believe, one is the boys’ story and the other is the sniper shooting going in D.C. (Lio would say Maryland…) and how it affects the people living in that area.

I admit that I was too young to know about these attacks and I never got the chance to actually find out about them. This book provides such an insider look into the terror that takes over people in cases of violence.

The families of both Lio and Craig come to life on the pages. Like the previous Moskowitz books I read so far, the family ties are so strong and palpable. I couldn’t help but smile because it is so obvious how essential family is in this book. Especially when it came to the boys’ sexual orientation. I expected to read something that’d make me uncomfortable any minute but that never came. I was never made sad by homophobia! What a shock!

But I’ve sort of wanted to kiss him ever since I saw his fucked-up hair that day in Ms. Hoole’s class, and really since the conversation right after, when he told me he cuts it when he’s nervous, and I immediately wanted to know everything in the whole world that makes him nervous, and everything in the whole world about him.

I am so glad I got through my initial weariness because in the pages of this book is a story so beautiful of grief and love. The relationship Lio has with his sisters and dad is so beautiful I found myself smiling whenever his point of view mentioned them. Also, Craig’s relationship with his brother makes me so proud. I can’t count many boy MCs who actually are very family oriented especially a black teen. I don’t know if I’m explaining this right but the love these boys had for their families made them so beautiful in my heart.

Now onto the Main Characters who are so fantastically written that they got me seriously moved. I don’t know if teens of today would consider the prose used for Craig and Lio’s narration realistic but I fell in love so badly I honestly am a bad judge for this. I just want everyone to love my boys.

Lio and Craig first meet as IM buddies and it’s so cool to read about a generation that used IM (I could never get on that, I am an MSN person myself) and email so frequently. The technology usage was, for some reason, very satisfying.

Anyway, Lio moves from New York and they develop a strange friendship in which Lio fills in the gap of possibly the only other person Craig’s own age whom he talks to and Craig is Lio’s Maryland basically. That itself is such a beautiful moment.

Lio’s shy and Craig’s not, and this plays into their dynamics so well as they go through a month of the fear haunting them concerning the shootings, as well as the ex-boyfriend who stole Craig’s peace of mind. Their friendship is heartwarming and I couldn’t help but root for them, a lot.

I stopped waiting because that was the part of the story that came next for me.

Craig’s voice is of a heartbroken boy who starts Gone, Gone, Gone looking for his fourteen pets. Yes, this boy has FOURTEEN pets and you’re right if you think they all represent the ex-boyfriend who left Craig and who Craig is looking for. There is of course a happy ending to the lost pets, don’t worry about that.

I’m worried I’m going to go through my whole life feeling like someone’s pulling me, like from a string behind my belly button.

If I had to choose a favorite, it’d be Lio. I love how honest he was in his head. He didn’t like talking but that in itself was his own defense mechanism which I believe he comes to work through for his own good. What I love is how Lio’s development was so subtle and adds to his person.

Going through the lines I highlighted, I can’t help but applaud Moskowitz for her talent in writing boys so raw and sensitive, hence making them so beautiful in my mind. It’s even possible I’m putting this on my favorite because I can see myself reading this book again and reveling in all the beauty of Craig’s tears and Lio’s anger. I love them so much.

This book counts towards both my #HMReadathon and Queer 2017 challenge since it features a m/m relationship. Also! It’s diverse as heck seeing as Lio is a Jewish boy while Craig is black and both are gay. I can’t find any reason not to recommend this besides casual usage of ableist words concerning mental illness. It deals a lot with depression and cancer so be aware of that. There is also positive mention of therapy.

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