Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event: an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle. With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

My take: 3 looks
Okay, I am seriously going to have to stop reading these very realistic apocalypse stories! This is my third in a month, and I am starting to freak out.

The second in The Last Survivors trilogy, I was not as ... tense ... as I read this one (probably since, like I said, it's the third I have read in quick succession). However, I was more invested in these characters, once I got into the storyline, over those in book one.

While I liked the maturation of Miranda over the course of the first book, as well as the fierce protection of the mother for her children, the characters here seemed to be more real to me. Alex is a 17 year old boy whose parents and older brother are gone, leaving him responsible for his two younger sisters. Julie is a pain in the rear brat, but she (like Miranda) matures throughout the novel nicely and very believably. Bri, the older of the two girls has her head in the clouds, and while she is calm in the beginning, her denial of everything and Pollyanna attitude become grating as the story goes on.

There was a heavy dose of religion in this one. The characters relied heavily on their faith, their religious leaders and prayer to get them through the most trying times. I found this to be very refreshing in that it was not in any way demeaning, ridiculed or taken lightly. Faith is central to many, many people and the portrayal here was very nicely done.

This is a very compelling storyline, an extremely clever way to write it, and I am looking forward to the third and final book.

Highly recommended.

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