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The Dead and The Gone (Life As We Knew It Series Book 2) by [Pfeffer, Susan Beth]
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The Dead and The Gone (Life As We Knew It Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 251 customer reviews

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Length: 341 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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
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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: 4925 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Publication Date: January 18, 2010
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VCR0K8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,740 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shaun Duke on 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.” I knew nothing about “The Dead & The Gone” other than that it is the second book in the “Last Survivors” series. When I began reading, I was surprised to discover that this book didn’t pick up where “Life As We Knew It” left off, but instead went back to the beginning and followed a completely different family in New York as they experienced the same struggles that occurred from the ‘shifting’ of the moon. I will openly admit that I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be continuing on with Miranda’s story. I enjoyed reading her thoughts and experiencing what she experienced along with her. When everything ended as well as it could (all things considered) I was hopeful that her journey would continue and things would just keep getting better. Or, at the very least, that things would continue to be difficult, but that we’d still be able to experience that journey along with her.

So imagine my shock when the narrative changed and I was suddenly hearing about Alex Morales. It was a challenge to adjust to an entire new family, as I had felt like I was part of Miranda’s family, having been with them from the start. Even more, it was challenging to start at the very beginning, right after the moon had been struck, knowing all the terrible things that were to come. Don’t get me wrong, “The Dead & The Gone” was still very good. It was interesting to experience everything from a different perspective, in a different location, with different people and be able to compare their individual journeys. But I will admit (SPOILER ALERT) that the Morales’ journey was even more trying and heartbreaking, in the end. Nevertheless, the entire concept upon which this series resides is extremely interesting, and I will most definitely continue reading the remaining books.

On to the next one!
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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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