Gabe in the After

Abrams/Amulet. Jun. 2022. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419754388.
Gr 5 Up–Fourteen-year-old Gabe Sweeney doesn’t believe he will ever meet anyone new. After people started getting sick, including Gabe’s parents and younger sister, he was sent to a coastal island off Maine with 17 other children and two adults who were not experiencing symptoms. In the two years since the pandemic, they have carved out a life for themselves. Even though they travel to the mainland for supplies, no one has seen any evidence of survivors, until one day Gabe finds the boisterous, optimistic, red-headed Relle Douglas on one of his scouting missions to the mainland. Gabe falls for Relle and her zest for life, but tragedy hits the island, and Gabe—who considers himself the island’s medical expert—decides he needs to venture back to the mainland to find the rumored military base and a doctor. As Gabe, his ever-present dog Mud, and friend Wynnie set out on their trek, they learn that there are others out there who have also survived. With a dedication to Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe, Doleski does not hide that Relle and Gabe are her version of Anne and Gilbert, but this is where the comparisons end.
VERDICT Although there is potential in Gabe’s journey and awakening, the experiences along the journey to the Massachusetts’ military base and back to the island are anticlimactic and leave the reader with more questions than answers. A secondary purchase.

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