One regular day gets upset like nobody could have dreamed of when every single person in Perdido Beach fifteen and over just ups and disappears. Gone, no question about it. There is no explanation, and soon kids go into panic states when they realise that all the adults are gone, they have no internet or cellular reception and they are truly alone. Sam Temple and his best friend Quinn Gaither seem to take on the role of figuring things out. Sam is holding things together much better than Quinn, and manages to have his crush, Astrid “The Genius” Ellison, become a part of his group. Astrid, however, is desperate to find her autistic little brother Little Pete, and the group looks everywhere for him. At a hotel, they come across Edilio , who joins their group, and has also seen the same thing that they discovered: there is a wall that surrounds Perdido Beach. The group heads up to the nuclear power plant where Astrid’s father worked to see if her brother is not there seeing as he may have gone to work with their father.
Astrid is awfully uncomfortable at the plant, though they find Little Pete rather quickly. Sam is desperate to hide something about himself: he has the mysterious powers to shoot balls of light from his hands, though he does not know how to do it or control it. He met another girl that tragically passed that seemed to have the ability to create fire. Sam and Quinn are fighting with each other terribly. Upon the return to Perdido Beach, they see that a motorcade has driven into town, and an exceptionally charismatic Caine Soren of Coates Academy soon talks the town into electing him their new leader. However, Sam is sure that something is off. Everything was far too staged, and the people that he has brought with him, particularly his enforcer Drake Merwin, are scary. Caine soon sets about changing the way the kids are living. Howard, one of the local bullies, termed the occurrence the FAYZ, which is to say the Fallout Alley Youth Zone.
Caine brings crazy measures into effect, and Bette, a young girl, dies when she is beat to death for showing her powers. Caine himself seems to have the strongest powers, and rules quickly and effectively due to fear. Another girl named Lana Arwen Lazar is stuck out in the desert after her grandfather’s truck overturns when he disappeared. After almost dying due to her injuries she makes the discovery that she is able to heal, and finds a nice little place out in the desert to hide. When making a trip to the mine to get a car to take her back to Perdido Beach, she is attacked by talking coyotes who take her to the Darkness, which mysterious presence wishes her to teach the coyotes how to hunt and kill humans.
Sam, Astrid, Edilio and Little Pete are on the run after Quinn betrayed them all, leaving the freaks to be taken care of. Sam manages to escape, and Astrid is miraculously still alive due to Little Pete having saved them after Drake smacked her around. He, too, has the powers, and awfully strong ones at that. Caine has discovered that Sam is his brother, and the two do not see eye to eye. It seems that after Sam’s escape that it will be inevitable that the two battle it out for the allegiance of the FAYZ children. The biggest issues though is that they are both so close to fifteen and disappearing, and Caine is putting all his resources into figuring out a way to prevent it. Lana runs into Sam and his group on the run, and they think they have it made now that they have a healer.
Sam intends to return to Perdido Beach and fight his brother for their freedom. Caine may have other bullies on his squad, such as the scary Diana and incredibly menacing Drake, but will they be able to continue if their fearless leader ups and leaves? What will happen when Sam and Caine come face to face? Are they both going to disappear like all the other kids the moment they turn fifteen? What exactly happened to have caused the FAYZ? Will Sam and his ex-best friend Quinn ever sort out the hell that they have been through and recover their friendship?
You know what? I don’t even care if that is too harsh. I read these specifically because I was told that if I enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies this would be right up my alley. People that make those statements must be on drugs. I knew we were off to a ridiculously bad start when everyone over the age of fifteen disappeared. What does that leave us with? A bunch of bloody rugrats. What am I supposed to do with that? Not only that, the story progresses at a silly pace, and the content is absurd. For instance, not only was I suffering through pages about a bunch of pubescent worms, there were freaking flying snakes and talking coyotes and seagulls with super talons and crap. I almost thought I could deal with it until these puny kids started throwing each other around like pinballs, shooting lights out of their hands, “scanning” other for powers… the town was taken over by a bully and later dethroned by a much more intelligent bully, who happens to (eeeek, plot twist!) be our leading Sam’s long lost brother and crap. None of these useless lumps could drive and they were all squeaky and spineless. If I have to read the word “brah” one more time I was going to fatally wound someone. Not even done yet. We have tiny kids looking after even smaller kids, there were more Potter references than you could shake a stick at (really making you wonder if this book wasn’t riding on the glory of someone else’s coattails) as well as Lord of the Rings, the lamest attempt at humour and nicknames, the most unrealistic settings, fourteen-year-olds declaring their absolute and undying love to one another… I don’t know, there was just nothing that I could take seriously. When I started I thought that the characters were just a wee bit too young for me to get on board with, and then this just went horribly wrong. I just… don’t do this to yourself, even if someone compares it to The Hunger Games or Divergent trilogies… damn.