Thursday, September 13, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Dead & The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: The Dead & The Gone (The Last Survivors #2)
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Narrator: Robertson Dean
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Length: 8 hours, 50 minutes
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Review for book 1

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.

I picked up The Dead & the Gone immediately following Life As We Knew It. I enjoyed that story so much that I was a bit skeptical of this one. After all, it chronicles the exact same events, but from a different city. I wasn't sure it would be enough to keep my attention, but thankfully I was wrong.

This time the story follows Alex Morales and his two sisters, whose parents aren't home, leaving them to take care of themselves. Alex's mom was at work when disaster struck and his dad was in Puerto Rico. Despite the siblings' hopes that their parents would return, Alex realizes that he has to take charge if his family has any hope of surviving.

I had some serious issues with Alex as a character. He had violent and angry outbursts towards his sisters more than once, which made me question him a lot. Still, I can understand that a situation as stressful as what they were going through could make anyone act out, and he did seem to learn and grow from his mistakes. Despite his issues, I enjoyed him more than Miranda from Life as We Knew It, but maybe that's because he was forced to be an adult, while Miranda had the luxury of being a whiny teenager.

A big part of Alex's life was his religion. He and his sisters attend Catholic schools and rely heavily on the schools and the church to help them survive. It was interesting seeing this situation play out after Miranda's family had only themselves to depend on. Things were definitely very different in this city setting versus the small town from book one.

I was again surprised that the author wrote most of the characters as very generous and the moral decline of the people of NYC was minimal. As I said in my review for Life as We Knew It, I have a hard time believing that society would hold together, but I do understand why she took this route with a YA book.

One thing I really enjoyed in The Dead & the Gone over the first book in the series was the writing style. It was much more interesting and harrowing to read this not as journal entries. I enjoyed being able to know about more of what was going on around them and not just whichever feelings or details the person writing the journal decided to share.

Aside from the setting and writing style, this book was largely the same as the first. The events were obviously the same, although it was nice to see how a large city reacted to it. I really enjoyed The Dead & the Gone and found it to be a great story even though it did share main events with Life as We Knew It. If you're looking for a new post-apocalyptic story, this is definitely one you should check out!