Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (2024)

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Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (1)Afoma Umesi ·
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Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (2)

By Megan E. Freeman

Age 11 +

A well-written middle-grade survival novel-in-verse with a tenacious protagonist and an engaging plot that leaves many questions unanswered.

Summary: Alone

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.

The Good

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.

The Not-So-Good

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.

Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (3)

OVERALL: Alone

Alone by Megan E. Freeman is a well-written middle-grade survival novel with a tenacious protagonist and engaging plot. I would definitely recommend this to fans of adventure and survival stories, as well as those who enjoy a good verse novel. This would also make a great selection for kids in grades 6 and up, as it does feature a mature protagonist who gets older in the course of the story. Readers who enjoy middle-grade books with animals will also love this one. Ultimately, it was a well-written debut I would wholeheartedly recommend.

Star Rating

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Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (4)

Have you read this book or any survival novels? Care to share some recommendations? Nothing too scary, please! Thank you!

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About Afoma Umesi

Afoma Umesi is the founder and editor of Reading Middle Grade where she curates book lists and writes book reviews for kids of all ages. Her favorite genre to read is contemporary realistic fiction and she'll never say no to a graphic novel.

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Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (10)

Afoma Umesi

Afoma Umesi is the founder and editor of Reading Middle Grade where she curates book lists and writes book reviews for kids of all ages. Her favorite genre to read is contemporary realistic fiction and she'll never say no to a graphic novel.

Alone - Megan E. Freeman (Survival, Adventure, and a Canine Friend) (11)

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