Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Seems like I've been reading a lot of disturbing futuristic teen novels lately. This one is particularly disturbing because it seems so real. A meteor hits the moon and life on earth will never be the same. Yes, it's the same event from Life as We Knew It, only this time the focus is on Alex Morales and his two sisters who live in New York City. Their parents are presumed dead and the three teens are on their own trying to survive in a deserted wasteland of a city. Everyone with resources has abandoned New York and those left behind have to do horrific things to survive (like stealing clothes and jewelry off of newly dead bodies). Volcanic eruptions have blocked the sun, leaving cold temperatures and no hope of growing food. Alex is only 17 and is trying desperately just to keep his two sisters alive. A major theme of this book is the family's Catholic faith and how it ultimately leads them toward hope. I found this to be a realistic touch—I'm sure in dire circumstances such as these people would rely heavily on their religious beliefs. This is not a happy book by any means, but I sure wanted to keep reading it. Recommended for 7th grade and up.