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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12 Responses

  1. Man, you wasted no time diving into this one, did you? As much as I loved Life As We Knew It, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this one or not. I was afraid it would be a let-down. Looks like I was wrong, huh? Here’s hoping the library has it, or else I’ll be shelling out more dough because I don’t think I can resist it after reading your review!

  2. I’m so glad you liked this one,Chris. It was good but very different than LAWKI. I liked the differences. It was interesting to see how faith and the church enter into this book…and it was good to see the church in a more positive light than it was presented in LAWKI. It was harder to read, but it was worth it definitely.

    Debi, I hope you like it whenever you get the chance to read it 🙂

    I don’t blame you, Chris, I’m looking for something cheery to read myself. So far I’m in the middle of quite a few downers.

  3. I’m still trying to figure out why I love this kind of book if depressing stories bother me. You’ve got me pondering. I’ve already put the first book on my wish list. No wonder publishers love you. 🙂

  4. Glad you liked it Chris.. but think I’ll pass.. I try to stay away from things that will depress me, I don’t need much of a push lol..

    oh boy… you will rip thru the next book I’m sure! lol

  5. A companion book? Ooh, I love that. I love the idea of different books all sharing a certain created or real-life world. Like Balzac’s Comedie Humaine. So do main characters in the other book show up as secondary or peripheral characters in this one?

    Great review. I love harrowing books and this one seems to be. -C

  6. Not sure this is for me but it does sound interesting. I will save my credit card this time for now 😉

  7. I’m dying to get my hands on this having just finished Life as we knew it, which I loved.

    Thanks for the review and the link to the authors blog.

  8. Debi, I couldn’t waste time getting into this one! lol…as soon as I saw it on the shelf at Borders, I had to get it and I came home and started it as soon as I finished The Bone Doll’s Twin. It was a really great book, but very sad. In some ways I enjoyed it even more than LAWKI. Definitely read it…you’ll enjoy it.

    Becky, It was extremely different from LAWKI but just as good. In some ways I’m liking it even better, though it’s hard to say that since they’re two different books. Loved it though! Definitely harder to read. So depressing at times, but beautifully written. I was glad that the church was displayed more positively too, though I’m glad she gave the balanced view in both books of how organizations can fall apart or unite during a disaster…even ones that we think will never fall.

    Bookfool, LOL, I’m the same way…why the hell do I like this kind of book when it depresses me so much?? But you know what, I’ve always loved depressing books. I’m a glutton for punishment, what can I say. I have a feeling that after you read LAWKI you’ll add this one to your list as well.

    Deslily, Yeah…this one would depress you real quick! It’s definitely not an uplifting read….especially since you live in Jersey! I am ripping through the next book…almost done 😉

    Carole, I love companion books too! Same events, different viewpoint in this one. The main characters from the other book don’t show up in this one, but they do experience the same events as the other characters do. So it’s interesting to see how one family did with one event and then to see how another family survived that same event. Definitely a harrowing story!

    Rhinoa, I don’t know..you may like this one more than you think! But you’re right..your credit card probably could use a break 😉

    Alix, Go get it!!! It’s just as good if not better than LAWKI. It’s even more depressing than LAWKI if you can imagine that, but it’s really a beautiful book!

  9. My copy of this is winging it’s way to me from the US – thanks for the link to the authors blog 🙂

  10. […] the dead & the gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer (stuff as dreams are made on) (tags: susan.beth.pfeffer the.dead&the.gone young.adult science.fiction moon post.apocalyptic great.balls.of.fire! the.sky.is.falling! new.york.city catholicism spirituality sibling.bonding) […]

  11. […] The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Recommended by Becky) 2. Crossroads ed. by F. Brett Cox and Andy Duncan (Recommended by Nymeth) 3. This is What I Did by […]

  12. how did the book end

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