Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series or Stand-alone: 
            Book 2 in The Last Survivors Series but can be read as a Stand Alone
How I got it:
             Bought it from Barnes and Noble
Pages: 321
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
First Published: June 1 2008
Buy it from: Amazon
                  Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

FIRST LINE(S): "At the moment when life as he had known it changed forever, Alex Morales was behind the counter at Joey's Pizza, slicing a spinach pesto pie into eight roughly equal pieces."

The GIST (From Goodreads):

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 Dead and the Gone" is the second book of the Last Survivors series, however, it follows a completely different main character and thus can be read on it's own. What all three books are about is the aftermath of an asteriod hitting the moon and bringing it closer to Earth.

"The Dead and the Gone " follows Alex Morales a high school boy trying to protect his two sisters Julie and Bri after the whole world has gone into chaos. Alex and his sisters live alone in a New York City apartment; his mother never returned home from her job off the island, his father's in Puerto Rico which has been rumored to be underwater and his older brother is in the army, stationed somewhere in the south. Alex's family was poor before the disaster and in New York, the only people who can survive are the one's who can pay for it.

What I loved the most about Alex's story is the integration of his cultural and religious background. He is a Puerto Rican Catholic who is trying his best to find his faith in a world that's falling apart. He's just trying to do the best for his sister's and he feels their lives fall completely on his shoulders. The problem is his sister Julie doesn't listen to a word he says and his other sister Bri is too innocent and naive to make it on her own. A lot of Alex's choices revolve around his upbringing that instilled in him that as the man he is responsible  for his sisters. Although he loves his sisters, he thinks of taking care of them as the duty his parents left. Alex hardly ever considers his own happiness or well-fare.

Alex meets Kevin, a rich kid who helps him make money in a slightly disturbing way. Kevin is rich and helping Alex out of the goodness of his heart which is rare in this new world. I loved Kevin's and Alex's relationship and the way Alex starts to open up to this boy he never would have known had the world not gone to hell.

This story, like the first in the series, just felt so authentic. You feel like you are literally watching these people's lives unfold without any of the glamor that other books gives to a post-apocalyptic world. Although it merely follows the day-to-day life of a regular high school kid not for one second does it get boring. I think the hardest part is watching Alex lose his faith and watching him struggle with this burden he's put on himself. But the truth is that if he didn't protect his sisters, no one else would.

These are tough books to read because they are so real. Out of all post-apocalyptic novels I've ever read, these are probably the ones that come closest to what I think the reality of the world would be like. There's no quest. No way to save the world. All you can do is just survive day-to-day and hope that one day the world will get better. It shows that just a slight change to something so uncontrollable can cause this horrific ripple effect. It's a pretty scary thought.


The most authentic post-apocalyptic world I've ever read. I highly recommend this book for all lovers of the genre.---10 out of 10.