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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.