Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Pages: Paperback, 308
Opening Lines: "At the moment when life as he had known it had changed forever, Alex Morales was behind the counter at Joey's Pizza, slicing a spinach pesto pie into eight roughly equal pieces."
"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."
Thoughts: After reading this book, I have one question: what happened? When I finished reading Life as We Knew It, I was desperate to read the next books in the series. Once I started this book, I constantly found myself wondering what happened.
The Dead & the Gone follows Alex and his two sisters fighting for survival in New York City following the asteroid knocking the moon out of it's orbit. Like Miranda in the previous book, the Alex and his sisters struggle with food shortages, no electricity, no communication, and just about everything that goes along with an apocalypse. However, unlike Miranda, Alex and his sisters are alone; they must rely on each other for survival. Throughout the book, Alex is trying to find ways to provide for his sisters and find an escape from the city.
Unlike the first book, this one is not written in journal entries. Further, it is not told from Alex's POV. The author takes a third person limited perspective. The story follows Alex, his thoughts, concerns, and motivations. To me, the impact of the first book was primarily due to POV. I couldn't figure out why Pfeffer decided to take such a huge step back from the main character. In addition, the first book did a good job giving the supporting characters some depth. This book really lacked in that regard. At some level, Alex was fairly one dimensional. His sisters were stock characters, the priests were too stereotypical, and so on. To me, the only character that stood out was Kevin.
From the start, this book was rather stilted. The conversation was too forced, canned, and scripted. Really, if I am too be honest, the whole story was too formulaic. There was nothing that surprised me, I never felt impacted by the events in the book, and didn't feel anything for the characters. Honestly, I could have cared less whether they lived or died.
The ending was extremely anti-climatic. I found myself flipping through the extra material in the book, because I was convinced I had missed something.
This book was extremely disappointing. Life as We Knew It was amazing, well thought out, and brilliant. With this book, I am not sure what happened. At some level, I wonder whether Pfeffer should have just started and finished the series with the first book. After finishing this book, I am very timid about picking up the third book . . . If you're looking for an awesome continuation of Life as We Knew It, be ready for disappointment. Unless the third one really makes up for this book, I would suggest not reading The Dead & the Gone.
Current Pages: 14,324