Opening Line: “At the moment when life as he had known it changed forever, Alex Morales was behind the counter at Joey’s Pizza, slicing a spinach pesto pie into roughly eight equal pieces.”
Oh this was good, probably just as good as (Life As We Knew It) but the shock factor from that 1st book kind of knocks this one down a notch. This is a companion book to LAWKI, that’s right the same exact events from a different perspective. Here instead of reading from the diary of a girl in rural Pennsylvania we get the POV of a 17 year old boy in New York City as he also deals with the aftermath of an asteroid hitting the moon and knocking it out of its orbit. The same apocalyptic events follow; Tsunamis claim the coasts, volcanoes erupt, ash fills the sky, arctic winter sets in followed by food shortages, killer flues and starvation.
THE DEAD & THE GONE is equally as realistic and bone chilling as the first book, maybe even more so and also just as fascinating and unlookawayable. Even knowing the turn of events I was going to face this book still managed to shock me and mess with my head. Yup, the OCD is back too, stockpiling food and supplies just in case.
Family again plays a key role within this story as does religion, courage and personal sacrifice and there are couple of scenes in that regard that are going to stick with me for a long time. Like when Alex enters Yankee Stadium in the (hopes?) of identifying the body of his missing mother. This scene is terrifying; right from the militant aspect of him boarding the bus to get to the stadium through to the sounds Susan Beth Pfeffer describes inside. I can still hear the wailing, the buzz. And then there’s “body shopping” with his friend Kevin -amazing what becomes normal in an apocalyptic world. I can’t honestly say I was pleased with the ending, it just sort of well, ends without any resolutions or even a feeling of this is a good place to stop for a cliff hanger. I kept turning the page looking for more. Huh did I miss something? Other than that a fantastic, absorbing read.
17 year old Alex Morales is a junior in high school when cataclysmic events alter his life forever. Within hours of the asteroid hitting the moon his home of New York becomes an unfamiliar city. Panic sets in as the power and phones go out and Alex quickly realizes that with his father in Puerto Rico attending a funeral and his mother unreachable at her job at a hospital in Queens he is in charge of the care and safety of his two younger sisters. With news of subway floodings and worldwide tsunamis he also has no way of knowing if his parents are dead or alive. Waiting to hear of their fate just added another level of suspense to this story.
As summer turns to arctic winter the rich and influential abandon the city, leaving the poor to fend for themselves. Disease and starvation threatens those left behind, food becomes scarce, money no longer has any value and the barter system takes over, what can he trade to feed his sisters for another week? How many tins of food can he get for this watch, this coat, these shoes, this bottle of vodka. How much is this 10,000 dollar winning lottery ticket worth? (A tin of pineapple as it turns out) When his pretty and spirited 12 year old sister becomes something of value Alex has to find a way to get them out of New York at any cost.