The Dead and The Gone Review

Saturday, August 28, 2010

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.
Taken from GoodReads.

The Dead & The Gone is a companion novel to the first novel, Life as We Knew It. While the latter followed life in the aftermath of the meteor disaster that knocked the moon out of orbit in rural Pennsylvania, The Dead & The Gone examines the effects it has on life in the bustling city of New York. Detailing the story of devout Catholic, Alex Morales, and his two sisters, Bri and Julie, the story shows that life in New York was just as devastated as it was in Pennsylvania. The lack of food, the lack of electricity, and most of all, the lack of civility and human compassion are all things that newly-orphaned Alex Morales and his two sisters must contend with.

Ok, I really enjoyed Life as We Knew It. I thought it was an original idea and truly showed Miranda's emotions through her diary-form book. However, The Dead & The Gone missed that essential element. The book is sans diary form, and therefore, I felt like I was being told what was happening in New York, rather than being shown. That, essentially, was my one major problem with The Dead & The Gone. I wanted to feel for Alex Morales and his struggle, but he was often so stoic and so reserved that I never got to know him. He was duty-bound to protect his sisters, but I never actually felt the love he had for them until the very end. Moreover, I think his sisters, Bri and Julie, stole the book from the MC, and Alex almost felt secondary to them.

All in all, The Dead & The Gone is a well-written book. It shows, with harrowing detail, the aftermath of such a catastrophic event, but it fails to show the human element that made me love the first book so much. I will definitely be reading the third installment in the series, This World We Live In, but I've heard a lot of people say you can skip the second book and go straight to the third. I almost feel as though I should have listened. I give The Dead & The Gone a 3 out of 5, and I recommend it as a borrow-only.


  1. Lovely review!
    I have mixed feelings for this series. I liked the first book, but wasn't amazed like I thought I would be. I'd be willing to read The Dead and the Gone, but I'm not sure if I'd enjoy it! Maybe I'll give it a try.

  2. I love the review! I keep looking forward to read the series as I really like the sounds of the book premise. =)

  3. Just dropping by on Book Hop. I have this book sitting on my TBR pile right now. I didn't read your review in case of spoilers but will be back to compare notes when I'm done. Have a great weekend!

  4. Currently I'm reading and loving Life as We Knew It. I was hoping the second book had the same style and energy.

  5. Borrow only. I need to read the first in the series it seems great

  6. hmmm, i just don't really like all the dystopian ya out right now. Great review, though!!!

  7. Thank you for coming by my blog. Yours is adorable. :]

    Also, nice review. I've been contemplating reading Life as We Knew It for a while now, and I think I still might, but might just not move along to The Dead and The Gone. This isn't the first review I've read that's claimed it's lacking something.

    Oh, and I'm a new follower as well.

    Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

  8. Hi, just wanted to let you know that I've given you an award
    here !

  9. Nice review! Haven't read any of this series at this time but that's an interesting point you raised regarding the ability to skip the 2nd book. I'd be curious to see your opinion after having read the next installment. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

  10. Really, I actually like the Dead and the Gone better than Life as We Knew it because of its setting and because of Alex stoicism. I felt that he was unable to show his feelings because he was so overwhelmed by trying to keep his sisters safe he could never allow his feeling to enter into this horrible way of life. If he did he too would crumble. Add to that his religious upbearing and trying to reconcile his beliefs with what had happened and some of the things he had to do to survive I really liked his character.

    I also felt that by having this setting in New York rather than a small town I was able to more fully appreciate the impact of catastrophe Pfeffer envisioned.

  11. Then I sure hope I can borrow this one, and the first one day, cos they do sound cool

  12. Thanks for the awesome review. I keep meaning to check this out.



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