- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: 680 (What's this?)
- Series: Last Survivors (Book 2)
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Graphia Books; First edition (January 18, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547258550
- ISBN-13: 978-0547258553
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 281 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dead and the Gone Paperback – January 18, 2010
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* "As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Everything Pfeffer writes about seems wrenchingly plausible."—Booklist, starred review
"Incredibly engaging."—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon. She lives in Middletown, New York.
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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!
New York goes to hell in a handbasket; death rises around the protagonists like one of the super-tides pulled by the moon. The collision that pushes the moon closer to the earth takes place in mid-May. By mid-July bodies are being left on the street in the Upper West Side. The last delivery of emergency rations to that part of Manhattan takes place on December 9. The last day chronicled is December 29, by which time New York is almost completely abandoned, as opposed to Howell, Pennsylvania, which still had between a quarter and a sixth of its pre-collision population the following March. Things are worse for Alex than for Miranda because while her family had an enormous stockpile of food, his must leave the house constantly to get food.
I thought both the role of both violence and religion during a period of social breakdown were depicted more realistically in this book than in the first, which is the reason I give this book a full five stars. Alex's family is deeply religious and their faith sustains them both literally (they are fed at the parochial school they attend) and spiritually. God and His representatives on earth become the only people Alex can talk to about what he is going through, as he tries to protect his sisters from the full implications of what is happening. Alex's first sister rarely leaves the house after an ill-fated attempt to join a convent, but his second sister becomes a target of men with base desires and nothing to lose by fulfilling them. You know society hasn't completely broken down, however, because social class becomes even more important than it previously was, with the rich and well-connected not having to creep past dead bodies all the time in their part of New York (apparently Midtown), foreshadowing the fourth book, in which (the reviews tell us) a rigid caste system has set in in Tennessee.
Book 3, "This World we Live In," brings together the surviving characters from Book 1 and Book 2 and I can't wait to read it. Fortunately, I ordered all of the last three books in the series at the same time from Amazon, so I don't have to. Five stars.