Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and The Gone is a companion novel to Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It that gives a terrifying account of a young family in New York City as the moon strikes a little closer to home. Unlike Life as We Knew It, we jump almost right into the disastorous event with this book - an asteroid has struck the moon causing it to shift closer to Earth. With this comes a change in the gravitational pull and the tides and life as we knew it disappears. Food becomes scarce, entire cities wash away, volcanoes erupt blocking the suns rays and creating below freezing temperatures in August, earthquakes, flu, cholera...But those are all events that man cannot control. What is central to the story and what makes this book the incredibly moving story it is are the powerful characters that Pfeffer has created and the way that they interact in this bleak time where little hope is to be found. Alex Morales is the second oldest son of an hispanic family living in New York when the disaster strikes. His father is away in Puerto Rico, his mother working in a hospital in Queens, and his older brother is in California serving with the Marines. He's now alone after the disaster with no word of his other family but left in charge of his younger sisters Briana and Julie and they must struggle to survive the disaster slowly coming to the realization that they will most probably never see the rest of their family again and that life will never be the same again. Bodies begin to appear in the streets and the death toll rises and Alex must do everything he can to help him and his sisters survive as they rely on their faith and their hope that they can make it through together. I have to say that this is a gut wrenching read. It was never easy to turn the next page yet I couldn't stop turning the pages, but it was an amazing book. For those that have read Life as we Knew it, this one is even harder to read, but I'd say it's just as good. The tragedies that unfold are terrifying and truly sad, but they are written with a constant balance of hope in the face of these same events through the faith of the main characters. I'm glad to hear that Pfeffer has a third book in the works in this series that will tie the two books together tentatively called The World We Live In! Although I'm glad that there's a break before I'll read that one because my emotions couldn't handle another book in this universe right now...though I have to admit that if it were published tomorrow, I would be reading it tomorrow. Also cool to know...Pfeffer keeps a really great blog! Check it out if you have the time. Next up is Charles Vess' Book of Ballads. I was going to start Orson Scott Card's Folk of the Fringe as I need to read something by him by June 1st to finish the Margaret Edwards Challenge, but I need a break from end of the world lit!

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