A surreal yet eerily familiar scenario sets off this survival story that is by turns pulse-pounding and philosophical. Alone is a novel in verse, and the abundant blank space on the pages serves to emphasize the solitude of Maddie, the book’s protagonist. It’s also sure to keep kids feverishly flipping the pages – though the fine-tuned beauty of many passages will surely then get them slowing down, lingering over the language and the complex, powerful thoughts and emotions Maddie experiences, all of them expertly captured by author Megan E. Freeman.
Many people have compared Alone to Hatchet, Gary Paulsen’s classic survival story. And while that comparison is definitely apt, I think Alone can and will appeal to a different, and possibly broader, group of readers. Maddie is a down-to-earth girl who finds herself in an extraordinary situation. I can see countless readers relating to her, then rooting for her, and ultimately wanting to read her story again and again.
Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerds, Revenge of the EngiNerds, The EngiNerds Strike Back, Geeger the Robot Goes to School, and Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found, as well as the author-illustrator of the activity book Give This Book a Title. Jarrett is also the author-illustrator of the forthcoming activity book Give This Book a Cover and the forthcoming Hunger Heroes graphic novel series (all published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He cofounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter and Instragram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his family in Medford, Massachusetts.