Monday, September 7, 2009

"The Dead and the Gone" by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This companion novel to "Life As We Knew It" tells the story of the fight for survival after a global catastrophe from the viewpoint of 17-year-old Alex Morales. Unlike the small-town heroine of "Life", Alex is a native New Yorker whose life changes dramatically after the moon is pushed out of its orbit due to an asteroid collision. Millions of lives are immediately lost to tsunamis, flooding, weather changes, and electrical disruption, and the dismal forecast of any improvement in services or food supply are not lost on Alex, who is immediately thrust into caregiver to his two younger sisters.

Alex continually wrestles with his faith and morals as he struggles to survive and provide food, heat, and security to his family. Pfeffer unscrolls the horrors of a civilization's collapse slowly, though, making each new disruption to Alex's "normal" life even more powerful. It will not be easy to forget the nightmarish implications of "body shopping", for example. The reader, along with Alex and his sisters, find optimism for the future perhaps the hardest ideal to have faith in when faced with the day-to-day struggles to survive.

Rated FIVE out of FIVE stars.

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