Monday, October 5, 2009

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Sequel to the fabulous Life as We Knew It, Pfeffer explores the same scenario (an asteroid hits the moon and changes its orbit, resulting in catastophic climactic changes on Earth) through the eyes of young Alex Morales, a teen living in New York City with his parents and two younger sisters. When the moon gets hit, both of Alex's parents are away from home, thus leaving the children to act as orphans (you never find out what happens to them) to fend for themselves. Alex is extremely mature and intelligent - making sure they ration their meals long before there is a dire need to, and he is forced to do any and everything he can to make sure his family survives. This unfortunately includes scavenging through dead people's things for items to sell on the black market.

As can be expected, the book is very somber and bleak. The Morales family is extremely religious, so there is a lot of talk about God and divine help, a concept which was absent from the first book. You may also argue that this book paints a helluva more realistic picture than the first one with the sheer amount of devastation and death. Though the book is marketed for teens, I still found it to be riveting - I think I finished it within a day.

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