14-year-old surfer Sam Temple is day dreaming in his third period history class when his teacher Mr. Trentlake disappears.
The basic premise is that in Perido Beach, a small Southern California surf town, everyone over the age of fifteen has mysteriously disappeared. There is an added twist in that some of the young people left behind have begun to develop strange powers.
Sam is the protagonist and the central focus for the story. He does not belong to any particular social group and only really has one true friend, Quinn Gaither. Although not overly popular Sam is known at school as ‘School Bus Sam’. A nickname he earned in the seventh grade when a bus driver had a heart attack and he steered the bus onto the shoulder of the road saving the lives of his fellow classmates. This makes people look to him as a leader. He struggles with the expectations of leadership, which are thrust upon him. He is the reluctant hero.
In a search for answers Sam is joined by Quinn, the school genius and his crush Astrid Ellison, and Edilio Escobar, a student who recently moved to the town from Honduras.
The rival school just out of town is Coates Academy, a private boarding school for rich troubled youth. The students of Coates arrive and elect Caine Soren as their new leader. He uses the bullies of Perido Beach to help police the town along with fellow Coates students Drake Merwin and Diana Ladris.
As you may expect Caine, along with Drake and Diana are the antagonists of the novel. Caine appears to know a bit more about these strange powers that the youth are developing and has a plan of his own. He also has a connection to Sam.
The novel is written in third person and switches perspectives between Sam and an ensemble of teens left to fend for themselves. There is Albert (my favourite) who has taken over the local McDonalds, Mary who runs the childcare centre caring for the babies between popping pills, and Lana who we first meet living alone on a ranch with her dog Patrick.
The novel has modern sci-Fi Lord of the Flies meets X-Men feel to it.