Monday, April 16, 2012

(52)The Dead & The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead & The Gone 

Publication Date: January 18, 2012
Pages: 321

So here we have the second installment in the "Life as We Knew It" series.  Instead of picking up with Miranda, we meet Alex Morales and his family in New York City.  We meet Alex right as the moon and the asteroid collide and we follow them after the "crash".

Alex is a high school junior on scholarship at a prestigious Catholic High School.  His Puerto Rican family are very devout and very traditional in every sense of the word.  His mother is on the Subway on her way to work when the tidal waves flood the subway and his father is back in Puerto Rico for his Grandmother's funeral.  With his older brother, Carlos, in the Marines, Alex is left to be the "man of the house" and care for his younger sisters, Julie and Bri.  A lot of responsibility for a teenage boy.

We follow Alex, Bri, & Julie for the next year as they struggle to survive and the things that they have to do in order to survive.  From sending Bri off to live with the Nuns to "body shopping" the deceased for trade-able items, Alex will do whatever it takes to keep his family alive.  We watch Alex struggle to keep them fed and struggle with his faith in the God that would cause such death and destruction.  What will become of the three siblings as their world further disintegrates into chaos?

The Dead & The Gone is a lot different from Life As We Knew It.  Alex's situation seemed more dire to me than Miranda's for many reasons.  The lack of adult supervision and planning being the main reason.  In the first book I got a strong anti-religion vibe from the characters, specifically Miranda.  Yet the strong faith of the Morales family is a major part of this book.  It is their faith that carries them through, specifically Bri.  Alex and Julie both struggle with their faith as the book go on, but ultimately they let their faith carry them through the hard times in an admirable way.

The Dead & The Gone is also a bit more - um - graphic.  The body-shopping is a bit tough to read, as are other things that take place later in the book.  I would say that this is NOT one that I would let my 12 year old read, without some serious prepping.  I would let her know about some of the subject matter and maybe let her choose, but I could see where it would be tough for some kids to read.

Bottom line, for the second book in a series, it was pretty good. Almost a stand alone novel because the only thing in common with the first book is the asteroid colliding with the moon. I enjoyed the NYC aspect of the story, because I always wondered about the "What ifs..." for apartment dwellers.   Needless to say I enjoyed it enough to read the third book in the installment.   Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on that one.


Suzanne P said...

I missed your review of the first book in this series, but now I'll be adding all 3 to my Kindle wishlist.

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