The Dead and the Gone Susan Pfeffer
301 pages; published 2008
301 pages; published 2008
God save their souls, Alex prayed. God save ours. It was the only prayer he could think of, no matter how inadequate it might be. It offered him no comfort, but he repeated it unceasingly. As long as he prayed he didn’t have to think. He didn’t have to remember. He didn’t have to decide. He didn’t have to acknowledge he was entering a world where no one has laid the rules out for him to follow, a world where there might not be any rules left for any of them to follow. (63/4)
Last year I read Susan Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. So when I saw the sequel, The Dead and the Gone, in the library I practically pounced. What makes this sequel such an interesting one is that it isn’t really a sequel at all but a reimagining of the first story – same situation, different location and characters. I was very much looking forward to seeing how Pfeffer could do this while still keeping the book fresh and interesting.
While Life As We Knew It tells the story of Miranda and her family in the country, The Dead and the Gone relocates to the centre of New York City. When the moon is hit by an asteroid and knocked ever so slightly out of orbit – just enough to wreak havoc – it is high school senior Alex and family this time who we focus on as their lives are upturned. With the whole world up in the air, Alex’s parents just never make it home, and with his older brother away in the Marines, Alex is left alone to look after his two younger sisters. That would be an unsavoury job at the best of times but with little food, less money and no one at all to help, it’s almost impossible.
Like I said, I loved the first book, but this was even better. At first I thought it was just my pre-existing interest in how the story would go, but I truly think it was a more moving story all over. I just felt so bad for Alex, doing the best he could for his sister but just having no hope. There were chapters that made me sob (and yes, my family were a little concerned), and chapters that frightened me. I found certain parts chilling to the point where even now, over a month later, I’m still unnerved by it.
It’s not necessary for you to read Life As You Knew It before The Dead and the Gone, thought the first does give you a little more information on what exactly is happening with the moon. If you have the chance to read either, I’d definitely recommend you take it. 5/5
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