The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer Review
Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
SciFi Element: Apocalypse, Ecological Disaster
Series: The Last Survivors #2
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Pfeffer takes us away from the rural country of Pennsylvania and into the urban sprawl of New York City in her second in the Survivor’s series. Now in a different perspective of a boy named Alex and the tragedy he faces, Pfeffer sends us through more intensity than the last novel. I became instantly wrapped up in Alex’s ordeal and everything he had to face. His inner struggle and battle with the life he is faced with struck me as so real that I practically gave myself a heart-attack. Pfeffer has a way with words, a way of painting a portrait of emotional trauma via language. I felt everything Alex felt and in the end my brain is reeling with the trauma he had to go through.

In the same world as the earlier novel, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, we meet a new character, Alex Morales. Resident of New York City, Alex is determined to make something of himself. His dreams are cut short though, early in life, when the moon is knocked closer to the Earth and the world crumbles around him. His father was in Puerto Rico for his grandmother’s funeral, his mother was in Queen’s working at her hospital, the night the moon was knocked closer. They don’t come home. Now, Alex and his two younger sisters must fight for survival in a world gone crazy, in a city that is slowly being inundated by the tides and drowning under the bodies of the dead. Alex must do whatever it takes to survive and pray that in the long run he doesn’t sacrifice himself in the process.

Like I said earlier, this one is a little more intense than the first one. The Morales family is in New York so the death and destruction is a little more obvious than rural Pennsylvania. There are different things for Alex to deal with than Miranda had to, like rats and a lot more dead bodies everywhere. Alex is also alone. His mother and father are gone and all he has are his younger sisters, they are now his responsibility. Alex is desperately afraid that he will make the wrong decision…he is desperate to keep his family safe, but also to keep them good. There are constant religious references in this novel, because Alex and his sisters are devout Catholics. It was easy for me to keep up with the religious themes because I also happened to go to Catholic school, but the constant references to Saints and practices might be a bit overwhelming for the non-Catholic reader — but still interesting.

There was a lot more emotional struggle within this one also. Alex had to deal with some very traumatic events. This one will left me breathless and downloading the third book the moment I ended this one. This can also be read as a stand alone, which is kind of great for people that pick this one up without knowing about Miranda. But, I recommend reading LAWKI, even if you read this one first and that one second, actually that might be kind of interesting take on things…

Fans of emotional dramas and books such as The Hunger Games should enjoy. There was nothing to be worried about from a parental stand-point, the books are squeaky clean. There is a lot more religious talk in this one, so you have to be open to that.

The 411:

  1. Ms. Pfeffer is currently conventionalizing a fourth Moon Book. She has been given the ok by her publisher and it is just up to her to come up with a viable and “sellable” plot.
  2. Ms. Pfeffer has another book releasing in a few months called BLOOD WOUNDS, it is not an Apocalypse book, more of a drama.