Monday, August 25, 2008

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I really enjoyed the companion book, Life as We Knew It, so when I saw there was going to be another book I was really excited. And I was suprised, The Dead and the Gone is darker, grimmer, and not for the faint of heart. When the moon is struck by a meteor, it is knocked off orbit and pushed so close to the earth, throwing the weather patterns out of wack, creating massive flooding, tsunamis, and earthquakes. New York is now an apocalyptic wasteland, no electricity, or heat in the winter, there are rats galore, people dying in the streets, food riots,"body shopping" (the robbing of corpses), and much more--all in the name of survival.

At the center of this madness is teenager Alex and his two young sisters, thoughtful Briana, and feisty Julie. Their parents are missing, and the siblings must decide to either wait and believe their parents are alive and come back for them, or imagine life on their own, in a deadly wasteland. And resources are getting low, the weather is changing, and their situation is getting worse.

I enjoyed the Morales family, what a contrast to Miranda's family in Life as We Knew It. It seemed Pfeffer wrote this companion in response to all the outcries of spirituality and morals that seemed so lacking in the first book. While you still need to suspend disbelief (seriously, couldn't the scientists predict something like this could happen?) Alex's situation was much more dire, and even with his faith, and the help of his church, there was no quick thinking mother to stockpile food and other items for him, he was on his own and he had two sisters depending on him. His courage was genuine, and you pray for him and his sister to triumph.

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