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The Dead and The Gone (Life As We Knew It Series Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Beth Pfeffer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing companion novel to LAWKI May 8, 2008
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as the first January 31, 2010
This is the companion to Life As We Knew It, a YA novel about the struggle to survive in a world crippled by natural disasters. Life As We Knew It was fantastic, so I decided to read this one as well even though I had heard that it wasn't as good.

And the reviews were right; this was a disappointment, especially coming as a follow-up to such a great book. I don't regret the time spent reading it, but it managed to fall a bit flat for me despite containing some pretty horrific goings-on. I think, compared to Life As We Knew It, there were two main reasons that this didn't really work for me. First, I found it much more difficult to relate to the main character. The protagonist of Life As We Knew It is female, middle class, growing up in a suburban lifestyle pretty much the same as I did. The male protagonist in The Dead and the Gone comes from an extremely traditional and religious family, where the man of the house makes all the decisions, to the extent that a teenaged boy left in charge of his family might choose to send his two-years-younger sister off to a convent and not bother telling her until he came to take her from school and put her on the bus. A twelve-year-old girl is expected to do all the cooking and cleaning for her older brother, who has no idea what to do with a box of pasta. Becoming a nun is mentioned as a likely future on more than one occasion. This just isn't my world, and I think the effect of seeing the familiar world crumbling as the novel unfolds is lessened when it wasn't that familiar to begin with.

My other issue is that I really like books where the characters struggle for survival, relying on their ingenuity and so on to get by.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's up to you (to get out of) New York, New York
"The Dead and the Gone" is book 2 in a 4-book (so far) series by Susan Beth Pfeffer which she has named "The Last Survivors. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jason Galbraith
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this series of books very much
I liked this series of books very much. I am very far away from being a teenager and still thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Susana Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really liked this one. So realistic.
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
it was a good book and I really liked it it was entertaining and fun to read and read over and over again
Published 19 days ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Book is Just as Good
In this second book of "The Last Survivors" series, we meet the Morales kids. Alex, Brianna, and Julie are all living in NYC trying to survive on their I and once again, it isn't... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Lost Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 21 days ago by jose casiano
3.0 out of 5 stars Book 2 left questions
I was disappointed in this book 2,as much as I enjoyed book one this was not the same depth,couldn't like the characters just surface. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Roxanne Eckles
5.0 out of 5 stars Read all four in the series one after the other. Couldn't stop.
I thought this series of four books was really, really well done. I was even thinking of the story and the characters long after I had read the last one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christian Dimas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved all the books :) so amazing
Published 1 month ago by Andy Atwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome
I started reading this series in school and I don't want to finish it because it's such a greet series.
Onto the next book
Published 1 month ago by Keaton Kent
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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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