The Dead And The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
In Life As We Knew It we found out how the world ended in a small town, and now in this companion novel we get to find out how it happened in a big city. In Life As We Knew It, the crumbling of the world is limited to the experiences of one girl and her family, confined in a single room of their house. Their struggles must reflect everyone else’s, their experiences mirror what must be going on elsewhere, and through their personal suffering we feel the plight of the world. In The Dead And The Gone, the collapse of the city gets our attention, and while we see what’s happening to New York and say holy crap this is bad, there is very little connection to the main characters or their trials. The book says they go through a lot, but I don’t feel it the way I did reading Miranda’s diary entries in Life As We Knew It.
The main character rarely knows what is going on, which is frustrating because he’s top of his class and plans to be President someday. He barely knows what caused the end of the world, he has no idea what’s coming in the near future, and he has no plans – only reactions. He survives mostly because of luck, which does not make for a compelling story. When most of his family is dead by the end, he barely shows he cares and as a reader I can hardly be expected to do more than that.
When life as Alex Morales had known it changed forever, he was working behind the counter at Joey’s Pizza. He was worried about getting elected as senior class president and making the grades to land him in a good college. He never expected that an asteroid would hit the moon, knocking it closer in orbit to the earth and catastrophically altering the earth’s climate.
He never expected to be fighting just to stay alive.