The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors #2) – Susan Beth Pfeffer



This is a parallel story-line of The Last Survivors.  As the second of the series, it is not a continuation, but an introduction to a new family trying to survive in the world after the meteor hit the moon out of orbit. As tsunamis hit, electricity disappears, and shortages of food are the new life for the Morales family, 17 year old Alex becomes the family patriarch.  Alex is a teenager who finds himself suddenly in charge of his younger sisters Bree (16) and Julie (12).  Their father is missing after traveling to Puerto Rico and their mother is missing after taking the subway to her job.  Neither parent have been heard from.

This story skips all the environmental developments that Life as We Knew It offers and focuses more on the family.  After reading the first in the series, where life was much more difficult than in this one, it seems a completely different life in New York verses middle America.  I kept reading waiting for the same destitute to hit the Morales family, but no…. schools stayed open, lunches given, and the food distribution that arrived at the very end of the first book was introduced in the middle of this second installment.  I didn’t understand how on the coast, life was better, when the tsunamis should have affected them more.  Also – where were the volcanoes and earthquakes [ok, so they were mentioned, but not a lot]?

Finally an explanation comes as to why New York is surviving better than the rest of the country – privilege and even saving the art, books, the United Nations, etc.  Depending on the part of town you lived in people were more well off than other parts of New York City.

This has less environmental-based action than the first in the series, but has a much darker tone when Alex gets the flu and hallucinates Hell and then Heaven (and comments of the dead) and the final chapters with the family trying to survive.  They are a very devout family, the children all go to Catholic school, so if you don’t want an element of religion – skip this one.

Much like the first in the installment, at the end of this one there is an element of hope.

14 and over

Next in the series: The World We Live In


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