Monday, December 27, 2010

A Review of 'The Dead and the Gone' by Susan Beth Pfeffer

When life as Alex Morales had known it changed forever, he was working behind the counter at Joey’s Pizza. He was worried about getting elected as senior class president and making the grades to land him in a good college. He never expected that an asteroid would hit the moon, knocking it closer in orbit to the earth and catastrophically altering the earth’s climate.

He never expected to be fighting just to stay alive.

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s ‘Life As We Knew It’ enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event from a small-town perspective. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican New Yorker. 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.

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

I remember when I first laid eyes on this book. I had just entered Barnes and Noble, went down the stairs, and their was a display right in front of me. The first thing I noticed was the moon. I thought, “Hey! That looks like ‘Life As We Knew It’!” Sure enough, same author, same concept. I got so excited because I had no idea that there was a sequel. Er, companion book. Pardon me.

I loved ‘Life As We Knew It’ and it was cool to take a different approach to the same story. They kept talking about New York, Denver, Washington… those big places that you always hear about, so it was nice to actually get a glimpse from someone that was there rather than less-than-reliable radio broadcasts.

I felt bad that Alex pretty much had to be the father figure when his parents never returned to their apartment. There was just so much insecurity. Alex and his family knew that they should probably get out and go somewhere safe, but there was always that nagging thought, “What if our parents come back? They won’t know where we are or where we’re headed.” That’s got to be a horrible position to be in.

Then there’s taking care of your family. One of your family members has asthma. As I read this, I always had Alex’s asthmatic sister in the back of my mind. She was in constant danger, especially as the air quality decreased due to volcanic eruptions, however distant they were.

This was as good, if not better, than ‘Life As We Knew It.’ It keeps you on the edge of your seat and always thinking.

I give ‘The Dead and the Gone’:

Thanks for reading!


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