Monday, March 29, 2010

The Dead And The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

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 novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.
The second book in the Last Survivors Trilogy, The Dead & The Gone follow the lives of the Morales family in New York City. It wasn't as good as the first book–in my opinion–but maybe I just wanted to find out what happened to Miranda and her family rather than take a look at a whole new cast of characters. This book was definitely more graphic and sad than Life as We Knew It. The agony and fear of being left alone in terrible circumstances tears at your mind the entire book; as characters disappear and drop like flies, you begin to realize all over again the reality of what people do to survive–nomatter how gruesome. I think what's so intriguing and special about this series is that it's almost real.

After reading several pages and stopping, you have to keep pulling your mind out of the story and assure yourself that it's not real. Very rarely do I feel this way about books where you almost believe that the story is true and can't wait to get back to the pretend world. Then again, maybe it is just the idea of life changing so drastically that makes readers so curious.
Alex was a interesting character, not entirely lovable, but an ideal protagonist nonetheless. The characters, however, are not what shapes the story, it's the setting. This time the hardships are even crueler than in the small town of Howell, Connecticut and instead, showcases what the devastated and dangerous streets of New York City. I would not at all say this book was "enjoyable" because it's not a happy story, but the idea of it makes it a really exciting book to read.

Overall, The Dead & the Gone was a scary, compelling sequel that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Even for those who do not read sci-fi, this series just might change their mind–it changed mine. 
Recommend for ages 12+.
|Pages: 308|Year Published: 2008|Publisher: Harcourt|
|Genre: Science Fiction|Series? The Last Survivors #2|
|Buy or Borrow? Both|Age Group: YA, ages 12+|
|Content: For graphic violence, descriptions of death, and very mild language; not suitable for children younger than age 12|
|Enjoyed It: 4/5|Content Rating: 3/5|Cover: 5/5|


1 comment:

The Book Owl said...

I agree - this wasn't as good as the first, and it was much more gruesome. It was enjoyable, but not as much so as the first.

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