the dead & the gone by Susan Pfeffer

the dead and the gone  by Beth Pfeffer is Book # 2 in what I have understood is now called “Moon Trilogy”, and that there will be a third one out next year.

I recently read – and loved – Book # 1, Life as we knew it, and was not disappointed with this one either. In the first book we followed 16 year old Miranda, living with her family in a rural Pennsylvanian town, but in this book we are with 17 year old Puerto Rican Alex in New York. Since we are expected to know the background from Book 1 (that an asteroid knocks the moon of its base and creates, among other things, tidal waves, tsunamis, earthquakes and erupting volcanos), there is not so much description of those things in this book. Which is fine. The story of Miranda was centered around her and her family, and that is also what is forming the backbone of this book – family and what happens to the dynamics inside a family when disaster hits. But other than that, we are dealing with a whole new set of problems in this book.

The main thing is that religion plays a big role in the dead and the gone. Religion wasn’t present at all in the first book. Alex and his family are Catholics,  and thus faith, prayers, Mass, sin, saints and other religious means are used as tools to get the story moving. It never becomes preaching though.

Another main thing is that the protagonist, Alex, and his two younger sisters are enduring their more or less post-apocalyptic world on their own. That is, without any parents. Their parents and older brother goes missing – maybe – from almost page one in the book, so Alex, Bri and Julie are on their own.

the dead and the gone also has The Big City (New York) as its scene, not a rural town. A big city naturally face a whole other set of problems than a small town during a disaster of this kind. But both books does center around family and coming of age in a world where nothing is as it used to be.

Other bloggers has mentioned this as well, but I also found Alex’ macho-latino ways to be a bit tiring and stereo-typical. I did like Alex though, but sometimes it was laid on too thick. Like when he orders his sisters to clean and cook, because that is what women do. Other than that, I loved this book and am now eagerly waiting for Book 3. Now we need to see how – or if – the world continues or if all hope is lost.