Review: The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone
By Susan Beth Pfeffer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
January 2010

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

The Short of It:

A harsh look at a family, struggling to survive in a city torn apart by disaster. Frightening, but not as compelling as the first book.

The Rest of It:

The main difference between the first book, Life as We Knew It, and this one, is that the first book dealt with rural, Pennsylvania whereas this one takes place in New York City. The other difference is that this family, headed up by 17-year-old Alex Morales, is much more religious.

What I love about this series is that once you start it, you really can’t put it down. The plot is simple. the situation is dire, and the characters are stretched beyond their comfort zone.  It’s good storytelling but it’s nerve-wracking! Food is a constant worry. Will there be enough? What will they do if they run out?

Since this story takes place in the city, there are additional concerns to consider. BUT, I don’t think that they were explored as much as they could have been. There wasn’t much in the way of looting or violence, which seemed sort of unrealistic to me. I realize that this is a young adult book but as a young kid, the potential for violence to occur,  would have consumed my thoughts. A bit of this did come across through Alex but his sisters did not seem to have any sense of danger and given their ages, early to mid-teens, and them being female, I would have expected them to be a bit more concerned about their safety.

One could get nit-picky with a book like this but I won’t do that. Even though parts of it were unrealistic it was still a fun read. As fun as reading about the end of the world can be! I read it in one sitting, all through the night with my little book light. If you want a book that’s just fun to read, then this would be a good one for you.

The new book in the series, The World We Live In, can be purchased online and I can’t wait to read it. Apparently the characters from book one and book two come together to form book three. I’ve already read a few reviews and so far and I’ve heard nothing but good things.

Source: Purchased.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Dead and the Gone”

  1. I’ve wanted to read Life As We Knew It when it first started making its appearance in the blogosphere. It seems everyone likes this sequel, but not as much as the first. I need to snag a copy of both and give them a read. Maybe for Dewey’s Read-A-Thon… 🙂

  2. It seemed to me that Alex’s family had really sheltered the girls, and Bri although old enough to know better, was really off in a religious zone and not much was getting through. I also can’t wait to read the third!

  3. I have the first book in this series on my Kindle and need to get to it at some point soon. I’ve seen some really positive reviews for the series all over the blogs. Thanks for sharing, Ti!

  4. We really liked this book, although I think my daughter favored the first book a little more than the second. I liked the fact that religion came into play with this story, and that it wasn’t portrayed negatively. I also like that these are all good kids, setting good examples.

  5. I haven’t heard of this series, but I love the cover, and I really do like apocalyptic books (even though I like dystopian fiction even more).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s