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The Dead and The Gone (Life As We Knew It Series) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Beth Pfeffer
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.



Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—An asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, and every conceivable natural disaster occurs. Seventeen-year-old Alex Morales's parents are missing and presumed drowned by tsunamis. Left alone, he struggles to care for his sisters Bri, 14, and Julie, 12. Things look up as Central Park is turned into farmland and food begins to grow. Then worldwide volcanic eruptions coat the sky with ash and the land freezes permanently. People starve, freeze, or die of the flu. Only the poor are left in New York—a doomed island—while the rich light out for safe towns inland and south. The wooden, expository dialogue and obvious setup of the first pages quickly give way to the well-wrought action of the snowballing tragedy. The mood of the narrative is appropriately frenetic, somber, and hopeful by turns. Pfeffer's writing grows legs as the terrifying plot picks up speed, and conversations among the siblings are realistically fluid and sharp-edged. The Moraleses are devout Catholics, and though the church represents the moral center of the novel, Pfeffer doesn't proselytize. The characters evolve as the city decomposes, and the author succeeds in showing their heroism without making them caricatures of virtue. She accurately and knowingly depicts New York City from bodegas to boardrooms, and even the far-fetched science upon which the novel hinges seems well researched. This fast-paced, thoughtful story is a good pick for melodrama fiends and reluctant readers alike.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In Life as We Knew It (2005), veteran writer Pfeffer painted a terrifying picture of what happened in a rural Pennsylvania town after an asteroid hit the moon and cataclysmic changes on land and sea caused familiar life to grind to a halt. For readers who wondered if things were any better in a bustling city, here is the horrifying answer. On the night the moon tilts, 17-year-old Alex and his younger sisters are alone; their mother is at work, and their father is visiting Puerto Rico. No matter how the kids wish, hope, and pray, their parents don’t return. It’s up to Alex to do what’s best. At first that means bartering for food and batteries and avoiding fighting with the rambunctious Julie—especially after sickly Bri is sent to live at a rural convent. Later it means rescuing Julie from rapists and steering her away from the corpses that litter the street, providing food for rats. Religion is one of the strong threads running through the novel. It would have been interesting to see Alex wrestle more with his staunch Catholicism, but in many ways, the Church anchors the plot. The story’s power, as in the companion book, comes from readers’ ability to picture themselves in a similiar situation; everything Pfeffer writes about seems wrenchingly plausible. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details

  • File Size: 772 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 18, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VCR0K8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,412 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing companion novel to LAWKI May 8, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I had the privilege to get an advanced reading copy and here is my review.

Last year I read Life As We Knew It by the same author of this wonderful book. You can find the review for that book here. I enjoyed Life As We Knew It so much that when I heard about there being a companion book I jumped with joy. Being a companion book also means you don't have to have read Life As We Knew It to know what is going on. The Dead & the Gone is a completely separate story.
The Dead & the Gone uses the same premise as Life As We Knew It, but takes place in a vastly different environment that creates some truly gruesome challenges for the main characters. Before we were in Pennsylvania away from large bodies of water, away from large cities, and away from practically all the major problems of an urban sprawl. The Dead & the Gone, however, is the exact opposite, taking place in New York City. An asteroid has struck the moon, pushing it into a closer orbit around the Earth and thrusting the Morales family into a grueling struggle for survival. With Alex's parents gone and presumed dead, he has to learn to take care of his younger sisters while keeping his faith in God. But New York City is not an easy place to live in when the electricity rarely works, fuel for stoves is in short supply, and a bitter winter caused by increased volcanic activity thrusts them into extreme cold, famine, and an epidemic.
Once again I feel that Susan has done a fantastic job bringing forward a truly powerful and realistic story about survival. The only thing SF about this story, again, is the impact on the moon, but the world we're presented is a modern world.
The strongest element in this companion novel is a religious element.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a chilling portrayal of survival July 1, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read Susan Beth Pfeffer's "The Year Without Michael" quite some time ago, and I remember it being a haunting, if vaguely disturbing story that has no real conclusion. Having read "Life as We Knew It" and its sequel, "The Dead and Gone," I have to say that that seems to be her forte: writing about characters in a slice of time that are dealing with unimaginable events. There's no happy ending to these stories, it's just a brief moment in their lives that show how they cope. In other words, it's a lot like real life.

"The Dead and the Gone" follows 17-year-old Alex in the aftermath of a crazy astronomical event. The moon has been hit by an asteroid that knocks it out of orbit, affecting the tides, the atmosphere, and pretty much the entire environmental balance of the Earth. Alex takes on the responsibility of caring for his two younger teenage sisters while coping with the uncertainty of his parents' fates, food supplies, and the future.

While this could probably be a standalone book, it's more of a compliment to the previous novel set in this future, "Life as We Knew It." Pfeffer assumes you've read the previous book and doesn't set up the moon/asteroid event like she does in the first book. This gives "The Dead and the Gone" a faster-paced feeling, as it starts off with a bang (literally!) and the dramatic events keep unfolding.

The characters in this book are vastly different than the first, which some reviewers don't seem to like. But to me it makes sense - the author is exploring how a worldwide event is affecting people from all walks of life. The "Life as We Knew It" characters aren't especially religious, but Pfeffer chose to sketch a Puerto Rican family that takes faith very seriously in "The Dead and the Gone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of The Darcy Review October 16, 2010
By Lorelei
Format:Paperback
This is the second book in the Last Survivors trilogy. I recently read the first book in the series, Life As We Knew It, and while I finished the book in a state of rather morbid depression, at the same time I couldn't put it down. I had similar expectations of this installment of the series, but unfortunately, I didn't find it as compelling a read.

Alex is a likable enough character. Over the course of the book, Alex is forced to make some hard decisions to care for his remaining family, and sometimes has to do grisly, horrific tasks simply to survive. Through it all, he relies on his devout catholicism to help him keep his strength and wits about him.

One aspect I found particularly jarring, especially in the beginning, is Alex's faith. In the first few chapters I felt I was reading a book on the benefits of catholicism; I don't care to be preached to, and this caused me to get into the book more slowly than I had in Life As We Knew It. Towards the middle of the book, though, the religious parts seemed to taper off, and the ones that were present were more in line with the story and less noticeable.

Of his two sisters, Bri is the calm, sweet one who tries to care for everyone, yet needs the most protection. Julie, the youngest, is the selfish, spoiled baby of the family. I found Julie's development over the course of the tragedy to be the most interesting - she starts out as a terror and trial to Alex, but slowly grows into his biggest ally, someone he can truly depend on.

I'm not sure what to expect of the third book in the series, This World We Live In. I will be reading it because I hate to leave a trilogy unfinished, and I think it will be interesting when the characters from the 1st and 2nd books meet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
This book is well-written, and I again enjoyed the overall story. I say “again,” however, because this book is very similar to its predecessor, “Life As We Knew It. Read more
Published 18 days ago by EmmiR5
5.0 out of 5 stars Blank
I cant even hope to describe this series. It is so amazing. Darkness and death mix with emotion kept me reading on
Published 1 month ago by Someone
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
I have really enjoyed the series. My only disappointment is when I've read the next book you don't
always know how the previous story characters continue on before meeting the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by smiti
4.0 out of 5 stars a different perspective
Loved first book. Enjoyed book 2, and am looking forward to continuing the series. My middle school students enjoying too.
Published 1 month ago by hcfsmith
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting and well written, but...
It lacks the warmth and emotional engagement of the first book. I could be that the author has moved away from the first person diary style of the first book, but I don't think... Read more
Published 1 month ago by MN winter biker
3.0 out of 5 stars New set of characters
Starts out with a new set of characters and is a bit disconcerting at first, but quickly became as gripping as the first book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by fatbroadrunning
2.0 out of 5 stars An ok read
The plot was good but the writing was elementary; perhaps that is the audience Pfeffer was writing for. I won't read another of her books.
Published 2 months ago by Mara
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining enough...
I enjoyed the story line, but in all honesty it was a little too Jesus Christ-y for me. I get it, they were a religious family...it didn't have to be drilled into me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lucy Wilde
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!!!!!!!:)
I never thought the moon would get closer to Earth,but apparently it can. If there were a 10 star rating it would win instantly. On my top 5 list.
Published 2 months ago by Alexis Grace Drosselmeyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This was a really great read. It isn't a classic, but it had me hooked through the entire book. I was sad to see it end!
Published 3 months ago by Gayle
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More About the Author

SUSAN BETH PFEFFER is the author of many books for teens, including Life As We Knew It and the bestselling novel The Year Without Michael. She lives in Middletown, New York.

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