The Dead and the Gone (Life As We Knew It #2)

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Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan ...

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Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
     With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

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  • Life As We Knew It Series
    Life As We Knew It Series  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* "As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Everything Pfeffer writes about seems wrenchingly plausible."—Booklist, starred review

"Incredibly engaging."—Kirkus Reviews

John Green
What makes The Dead and the Gone so riveting is its steadfast resistance to traditional ideas of hope in children's books&#151l;which is to say this is a dark and scary novel. But it is not without hope…the tension between faith and disaster keeps the story taut. Pfeffer subtly explores the complexity of believing in an omnipotent God in the wake of an event that, if it could have been prevented, surely would have been…the story's climax and resolution feel achingly right. Pfeffer subverts all our expectations of how redemption works in teenage fiction, as Alex learns to live, and have faith, in a world where radical unfairness is the norm.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier, this companion novel returns to the premise of that previous book to show how New York City responds to the global disasters that ensue when an asteroid knocks the moon out of orbit. This time Pfeffer focuses on high school junior Alex Morales, whose parents go missing after the catastrophe. It's up to him to find a way to keep himself and his two younger sisters alive while the planet is rocked by famine, floods, freezing temperatures and widespread disease. Once again Pfeffer creates tension not only through her protagonist's day-to-day struggles but also through chilling moral dilemmas: whether to rob the dead, who to save during a food riot, how long to preserve the hope that his parents might return. She depicts death and destruction more graphically than before, making the horror of Alex's ordeal all the more real. Religion also plays a larger role. A devout Catholic, Alex finds his faith in God shaken, but he relies on the guidance, compassion and sacrifice of church leaders in order to stay alive. The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers. Ages 12-up. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
AGE RANGE: Ages 11 to 18.

The Dead and the Gone is a captivating read displaying the strengths of humanity. Alex is realistically flawed and easy to relate to, fighting to care for his sisters while the world around them disintegrates. Those who enjoyed the journal style of the companion novel may be surprised by the switch to third-person narration, but most will be delighted to observe the same depth of character and the same ability to move readers to tears. Reviewer: Hannah L. Jones, Teen Reviewer.
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Jennifer Lee
Seventeen-year-old Alex Morales and his family live in New York City. His mom has started a new job at the hospital, his older brother Carlos has gone off to the Marines, and his father is in Puerto Rico for a funeral. Alex and his two younger sisters are alone at home when it happens: the moon is hit by an asteroid, which knocks it out of its normal orbit. The moon rolls closer to Earth, and that is where the story really takes off. Sure, the moon may not seem very important. At least that's what Alex thinks at first. But when the tsunamis hit and the Statue of Liberty is washed away, readers know things aren't going to get better any time soon. It's one disaster after another, and Alex needs to take care of himself, as well as his sisters. If you liked Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It, this book is a companion to it, although not a sequel. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, food shortages, and epidemics: this book has it all. Reviewer: Jennifer Lee
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

An asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, and every conceivable natural disaster occurs. Seventeen-year-old Alex Morales's parents are missing and presumed drowned by tsunamis. Left alone, he struggles to care for his sisters Bri, 14, and Julie, 12. Things look up as Central Park is turned into farmland and food begins to grow. Then worldwide volcanic eruptions coat the sky with ash and the land freezes permanently. People starve, freeze, or die of the flu. Only the poor are left in New York-a doomed island-while the rich light out for safe towns inland and south. The wooden, expository dialogue and obvious setup of the first pages quickly give way to the well-wrought action of the snowballing tragedy. The mood of the narrative is appropriately frenetic, somber, and hopeful by turns. Pfeffer's writing grows legs as the terrifying plot picks up speed, and conversations among the siblings are realistically fluid and sharp-edged. The Moraleses are devout Catholics, and though the church represents the moral center of the novel, Pfeffer doesn't proselytize. The characters evolve as the city decomposes, and the author succeeds in showing their heroism without making them caricatures of virtue. She accurately and knowingly depicts New York City from bodegas to boardrooms, and even the far-fetched science upon which the novel hinges seems well researched. This fast-paced, thoughtful story is a good pick for melodrama fiends and reluctant readers alike.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Alex, the son of a Puerto Rican New York City working-class family, attends college-prep Vincent de Paul on scholarship. An after-school job and chores assigned by his building superintendent father keep Alex focused on a better future, with ambitions of attending an Ivy League school through study, hard work and a little faith. But when his parents fail to return home after the catastrophic environmental events following the moon's altered gravitational pull, Alex suddenly faces the reality of survival and the obligation to protect his two younger sisters. His moral and religious upbringing is continually put to the test as he finds himself forced to take action that is often gruesome if not unethical-like "body shopping," to collect objects to barter for food. As in the previous novel, Life as We Knew It (2006), realistically bone-chilling despair and death join with the larger question of how the haves and have-nots of a major metropolitan city will ultimately survive in an increasingly lawless, largely deserted urban wasteland. Incredibly engaging. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547258553
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/18/2010
  • Series: Life As We Knew It Series, #2
  • Pages: 321
  • Sales rank: 53,113
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon. She lives in Middletown, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

the dead and the gone
By Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Harcourt Children's Books Copyright © 2008 Pfeffer, Susan Beth
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780152063115

chapter 1 Wednesday, May 18 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 eight roughly equal pieces. "I ordered an antipasto, also." "It’s right here, sir," Alex said. "And your order of garlic knots." "Thanks," the man said. "Wait a second. Aren’t you Carlos, Luis’s kid?" Alex grinned. "Carlos is my older brother," he said. "I’m Alex." "That’s right," the man said. "Look, could you tell your dad there’s a problem with the plumbing in twelve B?" "My father’s away for a few days," Alex said. "He’s in Puerto Rico for my grandmother’s funeral. But he should be back on Saturday. I’ll tell him as soon as he gets home." "Don’t worry about it," the man said. "It’s waited this long. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother." "Thank you," Alex said. "So where is your brother these days?" the man asked. "He’s in the Marines," Alex said. "He’s stationed at Twentynine Palms, in California." "Good for him," the man said. "Give him my regards. Greg Dunlap, apartment twelve B." "I’ll do that," Alex said. "And I’ll be sure to tell my father about your plumbing." Mr. Dunlap smiled. "You in school?" he asked. Alex nodded."I go to St. Vincent de Paul Academy," he said. "Good school," Mr. Dunlap said. "Bob, my partner, went there and he says it’s the best school in the city. You know where you want to go to college?" Alex knew exactly where he wanted to go, and where he’d be happy to go, and where he would be satisfied to go. "Georgetown’s my first choice," he said. "But it depends on the financial package. And if they accept me, of course." Mr. Dunlap nodded. "I’ll tell Bob Luis’s kid goes to Vincent de Paul," he said. "You two can swap stories someday." "Great," Alex said. "Your bill comes to $32.77." Mr. Dunlap handed him two twenties. "Keep the change," he said. "Put it toward your college fund. And be sure to give Carlos my regards. Luis must be very proud of both his sons." "Thank you," Alex said, passing the pizza, the antipasto, and the bag of garlic knots to Mr. Dunlap. "I’ll remember to tell my father about the plumbing as soon as he gets back." "No hurry," Mr. Dunlap said. Alex knew they always said, "No hurry," when they meant "Get it done right now." But a seven-dollar tip guaranteed that Alex would tell Papi about the plumbing problems in 12B the minute he returned from Nana’s funeral. "The cable’s out," Joey grumbled from the kitchen. "Yankees have the bases loaded in the top of the sixth and the cable dies on me." "It’s May," Alex said. "What difference does it make?" "I have a bet on that game," Joey said. Alex knew better than to point out the game was still going on even if the cable was out. Instead he turned his attention to the next customer, filling her order for two slices of pepperoni pizza and a large Coke. He didn’t get away until ten, later than he usually worked, but the pizza parlor was short staffed, and since Joey was cranky without his ball game to watch, Alex didn’t think it a good idea just to leave. It was a muggy, overcast night, with the feeling of thunderstorms in the air, but as long as it wasn’t raining, Alex enjoyed the walk. He concentrated on Georgetown and his chances of getting in. Being junior class vice president would help, but he had no chance at senior class president. Chris Flynn was sure to win again. Alex had the presidency of the debate squad locked up. But would he or Chris be named editor of the school paper? Alex was weighing the odds between them when his thoughts were interrupted by a man and woman walking out of the Olde Amsterdam Tavern. "Come on, honey," the man said. "You might as well. We could be dead by tomorrow." Alex grinned. That sounded like something Carlos would say. But as Alex raced across Broadway, fire engines and ambulances screamed down the avenue with no concern for traffic lights, and he began to wonder what was going on. Turning onto Eighty-eighth Street, he saw clusters of people standing in front of their apartment buildings. There was no laughter, though, no fighting. Some of the people pointed to the sky, but when Alex looked upward, all he saw was cloud cover. One well-dressed woman stood by herself weeping. Then, as Alex walked down the short flight of outdoor steps to his family’s basement apartment, the electricity went out. Shaking his head, he unlocked the outside door. Once in the darkened hallway, he knocked on the apartment door. "Alex, is that you?" Briana called. "Yeah. Let me in," he said. "What’s going on?" Bri opened the door. "The electricity just went out," she said. "The cable went out, too." "Alex, where’s the flashlight?" Julie asked. "Check on top of the fridge," Alex said. "I think there’s one there. Where’s Mami?" "The hospital called," Briana said. "A little while ago. Mami said it’s a really big emergency and they need everybody." Julie walked into the living room, waving the flashlight around. "She’s only been there two weeks and they can’t manage without her," she said. "She said they couldn’t tell her when she’d get off," Briana said. "Papi called while you were gone," Julie said. "He said everyone arrived safely and Nana’s funeral is tomorrow. I wish we could have gone with him." "I don’t know why," Briana said. "Whenever the family gets together, you always find some excuse not to go." "You’d better be nice," Julie said. "I have the flashlight." "Use it to find the transistor radio," Alex suggested. "Maybe the whole city is blacked out." He thought, not for the first time, how much more convenient things would be if the Morales family could afford a computer. Not that it would be any use in a blackout. "I bet it has something to do with the moon," Briana said. "Why the moon?" Alex said. "Sunspots cause problems, but I’ve never heard of moonspots." "Not moonspots," Briana said. "But the moon was supposed to get hit tonight by an asteroid or something. One of my teachers mentioned it. She was going to a meteor party in Central Park to watch." "Yeah, I heard about that at school, too," Alex said. "But I still don’t see why an asteroid would knock out the electricity. Or why Mami would be called to the hospital." "The radio isn’t working," Briana said, trying to turn it on. "Maybe the batteries are dead." "Great," Alex said. "In that case, why don’t you take the flashlight and get ready for bed. Mami’ll tell us what happened when she gets home." "It’s too hot without a fan," Julie whined. Alex didn’t know how Mami and Bri put up with Julie. She was Carlos’s favorite, too. Papi actually seemed to think she was cute, but that was because she was the baby of the family. A twelve-year-old baby, in Alex’s opinion. "Do you think everything is okay?" Briana asked. "I’m sure it is," Alex said. "Probably a big fire downtown. I heard a lot of sirens." "But Mami works in Queens," Briana said. "Why would the hospital need her there if the fire’s downtown?" "A plane crash, then," Alex said, thinking of the people pointing to the sky. "Remind me to tell Papi that twelve B has a plumbing problem, okay. And go to bed. Whatever the emergency is, it’ll be gone by morning." "All right," Briana said. "Come on, Julie. Let’s pray extra hard for everybody." "That sounds like fun," Julie grumbled, but she followed her big sister to their bedroom. Mami kept votive candles in the kitchen, Alex remembered. He stumbled around until he found one and matches to light it. It cast only a small amount of light, but enough for him to make his way to the room he had once shared with Carlos. Originally the two rooms had been the master bedroom, but when they’d moved in, Papi had built a dividing wall, so that the boys and the girls each got a small bedroom. He and Mami slept in their own room. Even without Carlos, the apartment was crowded, but it was home and Alex had no complaints. He undressed quickly, opened the door slightly so he could hear Mami when she got home, blew out the candle, and climbed into the lower half of the bunk bed. Through the thin wall, he could hear Briana’s Dios te salve, María. Papi thought Bri was too devout, but Mami said it’s just a stage fourteen-year-old girls go through. Somehow Alex didn’t think Julie would go through that stage when she turned fourteen. When Alex had been fourteen, three years ago, he’d thought for a couple of days about becoming a priest. But Bri was different. Alex could actually see her becoming a nun someday. Mami would love that, he knew. Sister Briana, he thought as he turned on his side, his head facing the wall. My sister the sister. He fell asleep grinning at the thought.   Copyright © 2008 by Susan Beth Pfeffer All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be ­reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.


Excerpted from the dead and the gone by Pfeffer, Susan Beth Copyright © 2008 by Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 408 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 410 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Read it!

    I enjoyed this book better than the first in the series. The story was a nail biter right to the end. The reader was never allowed to really believe these characters would survive. The characters are completely new and the story is set in New York as the disaster begins. My only problem was it contained extreme religious views. Can't wait to read the next book.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    .Great book. Must Read it! The Dead and the Gone is a grea

    .Great book. Must Read it!
    The Dead and the Gone is a great book that makes you think. Susan Pfeffer did a great job on it. It’s awesome that someone could come up with that. The story also seems very possible.
    Alex Morales, a 17 year old Puerto Rican boy living in New York City, is working at Joey’s pizza shop when the disaster strikes. An asteroid strikes the moon and moving it, making it much closer to the earth. Alex must take care of his sisters, Brianna and Julie. He calls his parents mami and papi, and his papi was in Puerto Rico at a funeral when the asteroid struck, and his mami was sent to the hospital right when it happened. They have no way of communicating with them, so for all they know, they could be dead, and most likely are.

    When an asteroid strikes the moon, Alex must protect his sisters and try to stay alive. Everyone in New York is either leaving the city, or looking desperately for food. Alex and his sisters have no idea where their parents are, except for their papi, who is in Puerto Rico, at a funeral. They have had no contact with their mami or papi, but Briana thinks papi called, and Julie is convinced that they have died, but Briana wants to believe they are still alive.

    This novel always makes you think. Sometimes you even ask yourself questions, like, “What if this really did happen to the world?” “What would I do if the moon was hit and knocked out of place by an asteroid?” I liked this book more than the first, Life as We Knew It, but I have yet to read This World We Live In. It is very hard to find food, and even harder to find a good place to live. Alex is always looking for a place to send the girls, Briana and Julie. New York just isn’t safe to live in anymore.

    The Dead and the Gone is an awesome book; the author, Susan Pfeffer did a wonderful job with the plot and the storyline. It makes the reader think about what they would do if this happened, and how they would survive.

    This is a great book. She made the book very interesting. It is a great suspense book, and sometimes things happen in the book that is very surprising, and sudden. I recommend it to anyone who can read well.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Imma Hungry

    wasn't exactly looking forward to reading this book. I read Life As We Knew It and had so-so feelings about it. But I saw it in the library and was looking for something to read, so I really had no excuse not to read it.

    This book was more a companion novel than an actual sequel, and it was based around the same catastrophic event: moon craziness. This time the main character was a 17 yr old Puerto Rican from NYC, named Alex. This book follows his story as he and his two younger sisters struggle to survive.

    The main problem for me was the main character. He is a Puerto Rican from NYC, so why didn't the author make him Puerto Rican? I mean this boy is very pious, being the Vice President of his class at a Catholic school. And the only thing that the author attempted to do to portray his latina heritage was having him say random words in Spanish. Not quite. Hey, I can say random words in Spanish too! Mama mia! Wait--that's Italian......

    And besides that, the plot was just kind of boring. We get it, you're starving. Point made. Although, I did think the book progressively got better. By the end, I was actually interested.

    I also didn't think there was much difference between The Dead and the Gone and Life As We Knew It. They both were about starving families stuck in their situation, one way or another. Except one was a rural setting and was an urban setting. But the main characters had very similar voices.

    The only way I shall be reading the third one was if it comes to my local library.

    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    An Enjoyable Book The Dead and the Gone is a suspenseful, yet w

    An Enjoyable Book

    The Dead and the Gone is a suspenseful, yet wonderful book. It strongly implies the moral of never giving up. This story is a fiction tale of people reacting to a dangerous situation. This dangerous situation is a meteor, which knocks the moon closer to the Earth, causing severe changes in weather, taking out power and putting many people in the hospital. I think it is a very good book, although at times it started to become just a little bit boring. This review should help you decide if you want to read it.

    This interesting book takes place in present day Manhattan. For everyone, it is a normal day… until the evening. They all knew that a meteor would hit the moon, but they didn’t expect it to change the world. The moon was hit, but it went closer to Earth than everyone expected. This launched everything into chaos. Alex Morale’s parents are too far away from him to help. Without his parents, he must take care of two sisters, Julie and Bri. With food running out and no power, they learn how to live a completely different life full of surprises and tragic events. Even though they are barely managing to live, they still try to do special things. A good example of that would be birthdays. No matter what the conditions, they would always celebrate with something. They took a lot of risks and made many sacrifices, one of them having to do with being separated. Despite all this, Alex, Julie, and Bri always try to be optimistic.

    I enjoyed this book a lot. It is and exhilarating tale and at most times, I was sad that I was finishing it. I didn’t realize that there was another book at the time. I really liked the way that, most of the time, it was one event after the other. I like fast-paced books, so this was especially good for me. I would recommend this to many people around the age of 11+. If you enjoy books with suspense then this is a great book choice. If you consider the element of survival, then this is like the Hunger Games.

    The Dead and the Gone is a very entertaining book about how people react in dangerous situations. When the moon is knocked closer to Earth, disaster strikes. It leads everyone struggling for food, resources, and ultimately survival. Focusing on Alex Morales, a teenage boy, it tells a story of how he and his sisters get involved in a mad struggle for survival. They hardly have any food and no one is there to take care of them. They meet a few unexpected friends along the way, but every time something really good happens, something tragic happens shortly after. It is packed with suspense and is very captivating.

    I give this book four stars. I really enjoyed the way Susan Pfeffer combined the joyful parts with the gruesome details. It is an exhilarating tale and most of the time was hard to put down. The one thing that wasn’t good was that sometimes it didn’t progress as fast as I would have liked it to. That is my only complaint. This is a must-read for people who like fictional books with people in a life that resembles ours, but with its own twist.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    A great book, but can use some more details!

    In the beginning of the novel Alex wants to hear from his parents and know that they are safe. In this book disaster strikes and Alex steps up to the plate to safe his life and also his two younger sisters. In this novel the main focus would have to be standing up to help safe and protect his family.
    The main characters are Alex Morrales, his sisters Brianna and Julie, Father Franco and Father Marooney, and Harvey. The first main event that happens is the moon gets knocked out of sink and is now closer to planet Earth. Then the power goes out and he worries that his mom is in danger. Then Bri gets an offer to go to a Convent in rural New York. Also, the four distinct seasons get out of sink and due to the outcome school has to close earlier. But, he wishes that he could go back before the disaster.
    This book “The Dead and The Gone” shows how a young boy steps up to become a man. Since his parents are gone, he helps provide the needed essentials for him but also his sisters to survive. But, throughout this book, it leaves you wanting more, to find out the main twists! If you want to read books with major and shocking events, I highly recommend this book for you! So, is this book the correct book for you? Read it to find out!
    This book, is a great suspense novel, especially for people who like dramatic endings! I just wish there was more detail to some if the events, so they would be more clearly written! But, I would recommend this book for middle school students, because it’s from a younger person’s perspective. Overall, from this book, I would say it becomes very emotional!
    This book, is like a rollercoaster, it has its peeks and its pits. Alex changes drastically throughout this book. The reason I gave this novel four stars is because, I feel it is lacking some distinctive details and or events.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    Great Book

    Book title and author: Dead and the Gone: Susan Beth Pfeffer
    Title of review: The Dead and the Gone
    Number of stars (1 to 5): 4

    Introduction: This book was the perfect example of how the boy of the family becomes the man. This occurs when an apocalyptic event happens and the moon gets knocked closer to the Earth. This is the true test for this New York City boy to take his responsibilities when his parents don’t return home, and he has to take care of his siblings. Things gradually keep getting worse, and it becomes a matter of life and death to escape the city.

    Description and summary of main points: The main characters in this book are Alex Morales, and his two sisters Bri and Julie. It all starts when the moon is hit closer to earth, and his two parents never come home after the great flooding. Food becomes more scares every week the stay alive. Along the way Alex meets a good friend named Kevin, and Kevin is very important in the Morales family survival. Rapid death starts occurring in the city, and it starts to affect Alex more and more every time.

    Evaluation: This book is a very good book and it was easy to read. I didn’t want to put it down once I had started. It changed my life in how I see things now, knowing somewhere else there is somebody in more pain then I am. The author did a great job in creating this dark adventurous book.

    Conclusion: This was an overall great book. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story. It was a great story on how this New York city boy became am man and stepped up for his family.

    Your final review: This is one of the best books I have ever read. It always kept you wanting to know what was going to happen next. I would recommend this book to anybody that is looking for a good adventure book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Pretty good book. This book is a 3rd person limited point of vie

    Pretty good book. This book is a 3rd person limited point of view, which confuses me, considering the first was a diary. The main character is Alex Morales, a 17-year-old Puerto Rican that lives in New York City. This book is about the same as its prequel, Life as We Knew It, besides the place and characters. The plot is definitely boring at first and I had a hard time actually reading the book in the beginning, but in other parts it is action-packed and darker than the original. Personally I liked Life as We Knew It better. Both of them definitely make you ask yourself, “What would I do if this happened to me?” This book is for middle school and up, because it has a lot of death and things that may seem gross to anyone younger.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    It Was Okay....

    This book is the book, Life as we knew it, but from a different point of view and from another place. I didn't personally care for the books, but they are good in a way that they make you think.
    Description and summary of main points
    An asteroid crashes into the moon, which causes major climate changes and catastrophic disasters. So people panic, and start looting and becoming violent. Then once the climate changes, people start struggling to survive.
    This book made me think, but I didn't really like the storyline, I just thought it was boring. It seemed like every day was the same as before, and it just seemed like it had nothing that hooked me. It was one of those books that make you think. It made me think to myself questions like, "What would I do in this situation?"
    In conclusion, I personally thought the book was boring, but it did make me think about some good questions. So I would give it a 3/5.
    Your final review
    I didn't like the storyline, and I thought the book was boring most of the time. Both Life as we Knew it and The Dead and the gone were both boring.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011


    Though it was pretty good, it was kind of gruesome and depressing at times. It made me cry. Really, though, that isn't saying very much. :) This book was alright, but it will never compare to Life as we Knew it, whicch is AMAZING. I personally though tthat, unlike Life as We Knew it, this book was mostly about death and sadness ( hence the title) than it was about hope and happy things. It does have a strong family theme, tthough, and I will give the 3rd book a try because i dont doubt that it will be good. But do not read this book if you are looking for something happy. p.s. i would not reccommend this book for kids under the age of 12.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Breanna F. for

    Alex Morales is a 17-year-old Puerto Rican boy living with his family in New York. He has two younger sisters, Briana and Julie, and his parents, who he calls Mami and Papi. Everything is going pretty normally for Alex. He's the vice president of his school council and he's looking forward to getting into a great college.

    But in one moment everything changes. Something huge hit the moon and knocked it out of place. It's now closer to Earth, causing a lot of horrible changes, including tidal waves, flooding, blackouts, and overall panic. According to many people, the Earth is coming to an end.

    Alex's father was in Puerto Rico when it happened and they haven't heard from him since, and his mother was called in to the hospital where she works. Alex is afraid that since she hasn't contacted them that she died when there was a flood in the subway.

    All of a sudden, Alex realizes that he is the sole caregiver to his two sisters. He has no idea when his parents will be back (if ever) and he's terrified.

    People all around New York are dropping like flies. Bodies line the streets. People are going crazy trying to get their hands on food. Nothing that seemed important before is important now. All that matters is staying alive. And Alex is determined to care for his sisters and keep them alive no matter what.

    But is that really possible with what has happened to the Earth?

    Wow, this book was intense! It's scary in all ways possible. Reading about the bodies lining the streets of New York brought shivers to my spine. It's hard to explain in words how crazy this book is. If you like really intense books then this is definitely a story for you.

    Also, be sure to read Ms. Pfeffer's previous release, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, which deals with the same issue that's discussed in this book but with different characters. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it's just as good and frightening as THE DEAD & THE GONE.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Just as Expected

    After reading Life as we Knew it, I had high hopes for this book, and surprisingly all of them were fulfilled. With a perfect plot and extreame suspense this novel will touch the hearts of readers and create unforgettable feelings toward the characters. P.S. I have actually READ the book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2014

    I gave The Dead and the Gone a 12/16. The book is really long

    I gave The Dead and the Gone a 12/16. The book is really long and full of detail we didn't need. The dialogue is good but they don't talk that much because most of them die. The ending really made me mad because it left you hanging like a cliff hanger. The action is one of the best things in the book because that is where all the detail comes in and you can picture it happening. The detail goes along with the action and helps you understand the story a lot better. The title is okay but I feel like it doesn't really go with the book I think.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    The dead and the gone

    This is very good book.
    I like the details and picturing of the story and how you could really tell what was going in the novel.
    I personalily say this book is for kids ages 10-& older so you could get a better understanding.
    B&R get the real youtube and intagram!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013


    Great read i love it i dont agree with alexes ideas on wemans rights ( his sisters are freated very old fasiondly and do all the chores to his content ) but its a really good book i highly recomend it but if u are going to read it read life as we knew it first so that book three will make more sence :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    A Bone Chilling Book This book is about survival. Not just livi

    A Bone Chilling Book

    This book is about survival. Not just living the way we do today, but surviving through a catastrophe. Each day is a new challenge. Each challenge gets more and more intricate. When you feel like you have finally found the answer, a new conflict arises. This book teaches you to respect what you have. And I love that about it.

    The Dead the Gone is telling about a boy named Alex and his sisters, Julie and Briana. They are forced to survive alone in New York City when an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to the Earth and out of orbit. This causes worldwide panic and widespread destruction from tidal waves. The pull from the moon causes volcanoes to erupt. The air all over the world becomes polluted with volcanic ash. The kids are without their parents and without food, and the terrible conditions only get worse.

    The book is a very well written book and the author’s thoughts were places perfectly in every sentence. She used all of the five senses so well. You feel like you can actually smell the decomposing bodies, you can taste the spoiled food, you can hear the people screaming, and that you can see the obliteration of the human race. She made me feel as if I was in the position of Alex, the main character in the book. I feel like she achieved what she wanted to, in writing this book.

    This story shows us that even though we think our world is bad, that someone, somewhere has it worse than we do. This book to me was good. Susan Beth Pfeffer did a great job with it. She made you feel bad for those people in this book that lived through these times. I feel that she wrote every page as good as she possibly could have. I am happy that I read this novel and taught me many valuable lesson.

    I gave this book three stars. I think that maybe if I wasn’t forced to read this book that I would have enjoyed it better. At times I loved the book because of the action, but at other times I dreaded it because it was dull and it seemed like it was not going anywhere.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Suzanne Beth Pfeffer¿s the Dead and the Gone is an exhilarating

    Suzanne Beth Pfeffer’s the Dead and the Gone is an exhilarating novel about teenager Alex Morales. He and his two sisters must struggle to stay alive after a meteor strikes the moon knocking a piece of it closer to earth, which intern unleashes colder weather, higher tides, and a world of chaos. The book is the second in the life as we knew it trilogy. The setting of the story is in a basement apartment in New York City in which Alex, his two sisters Bri and Julie, his mom, and his dad live. His older brother, Carlos is stationed in the air force in California.
    The book starts out immediately with the whole “meteor hitting the moon” scenario which is the whole point in the series. After that Alex’s life is all downhill. One thing leads to another as conditions worsen every day. As the conditions worsen Alex is forced to make life and death decisions not only for him but for his two sisters as well. There are a few bits of action in the book but for the most part it’s pretty plain.
    The book is a great example of what may come in the future. It’s full of love, suspense, and sacrifice. The book is full of vivid details about what Alex is seeing that make you feel like you are right next to him. But, despite this book having some action it has its dull parts. Pfeffer keeps coming back to death so much in this book it makes you want to throw the book out of a ten story building on to a busy high way, but since I purchased this book on my kindle I refrained from doing so. Death is so prominent in this book it literally makes you depressed.
    All in all I think this book is a pretty good choice for teens. It’s full of vivid details about a boy and his sister struggle for survival in a catastrophic scenario. The suspense will get you through the books few dull parts and will keep you turning the pages until the end. It is a well thought out suspenseful novel that will keep you wanting to read until the end. Even though the book has its dull boring filled parts I think we can look past that and appreciate the book for what it really is.
    I gave this book four out of five stars because I thought that what it deserved. I probably would’ve given the book five stars if Pfeffer would have concentrated a little less on death and a little more on the family. I gave it the rating because it was a well thought out, vividly detailed piece of literature. If death isn’t your thing then this book just isn’t for you. If you like a nail bitter death filled story then this book is most definitely for you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    NO! AMATUERS ALLOWED! eight graders that understand hard times.

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: THE DEAD AND THE GONE: SUSAN BETH PFEFFER
    Number of stars (1 to 5):

    I defiantly prefer the book to eight graders. It really has u going and if you like books with different emotion, than this is the book.
    Description and summary of main points
    This story was about a boy named Alex. Who has his life planned out. Then something g happens that is unplanned to everyone which leaves Alex and his family in struggle. The story is scary and surprising. “The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow.
    I thought everything was fine until the unexpected happened. People were getting ready to try to save themselves, but only some could. Most didn’t get to live. That’s why part of it is sad, terrifying, and horrifying.
    I think the story is good, but they just talked about some unnecessary parts too much. It’s really not a five star story to me it’s more of a three. Parts are scary and nerve recking , but it’s just part of the story
    Your final review
    I recommend this amazing book to all eight graders. It’s very emotional which means it has all the emotions in the story. The book leaves you guessing about what’s next. That’s what makes its amazing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    A dark and scary tale

    Book title and author: the Dead and Gone By: Susan Beth Pfeffer
    Title of review: A dark and scary tale
    Number of stars (1 to 5):4

    This book is a dark and scary book based in an apocalyptic New York City. The main character is Alex Morales. He is an intelligent, Latino boy who lives in an apartment in downtown New York. The book mainly focuses on his struggles with himself and the outside world.

    Description and summary of main points
    When Alex Morales is walking home from his job he realizes something is amiss. The moon seems larger, nobody is on the streets and when he gets home his mother is nowhere to be found. When he turns on the news it all makes sense. The moon was hit by a giant asteroid knocking it closer to the earth, causing many natural disasters to spark up all around the world. When he can’t reach his mother he knows he must take care of his family until his parents get back. He also knows that he must believe in himself and believe in god if was ever going to survive this.

    This book tries to display an apocalypse type scene in New York City. It also gives a good look on what really could happen if the world was ever faced with a situation like the one displayed in this book. I fell that the book really did a good job of creating a dark and depressing setting that really contributed to the tone of the book. Also I felt that it gave a great look into the dark and scary aspect of New York.

    In conclusion I feel that this book really achieved what I believe it set out to do. Which is that even under the most dark and depressing of times if you stick together you can achieve anything you set out to do.

    Your final review
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It really displayed a great look into how family will always help you. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes scary books. Also I would recommend this to anybody looking for a suspenseful, thrilling book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    To start off, the first chapter will be the slowest and the last

    To start off, the first chapter will be the slowest and the last chapter will be the longest. But anyway the moon gets hit by an asteroid that shifts moon’s position in the Earth’s orbit and somehow that knocks out the cable, electricity, phone lines and shortens the food supply. Meanwhile, Alex Morales is working at a pizza place during the whole incident. His father is in Puerto Rico for their grandmother’s funeral.
    Their mother leaves to go work at a hospital in Queens, New York right before he gets home. Then the food supply runs short and they have to ration the food that they cleaned out of their uncle’s bodega. Then, about a month or two later, Alex sends his sister Brianna to a convent and, well I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but basically she comes home with asthma and it all goes downhill from there.
    The plot was slow and the characters would come in and stay a while then leave and not appear again until the end of the story, or come in and right about when you get to know them they die. The theme would be “don’t take everything for granted”. This book would go with sci-fi books which I enjoy. This book takes place in modern New York.
    This is not a book for children under twelve. It has a lot of death in it and it is very descriptive. The entire middle section is full of people searching corpses for expensive items they can barter for food. Basically the entire book is about an anarchistic New York with the exception of the curfew in the book which you’ll eventually find out about if you read the book. To sum up what I’m saying: this book in my opinion is crap.
    I enjoyed Life as We Knew It but this was just boring. I didn’t want to hear someone else’s point of view because I wanted to learn what happened to Miranda instead. In addition to how boring it was, it was predictable as well. Of course you would expect the first chapter in every book to be slow and boring but this was the entire book! I couldn’t keep my eyes on it and eventually I dozed off at 3:00 in the afternoon. NOT TO BE READ IF AFRAID OF NATURAL DISASTERS! This may not be a well written review, but at least I’m expressing my opinion of this book. I mean no bad energy to Susan Beth Pfeffer but this book was garbage.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Depressing but great book The Dead And The Gone is about a 17 y

    Depressing but great book
    The Dead And The Gone is about a 17 year old boy named Alex who lives in an apartment in New York with his sisters, and they try to survive after something hit the moon out of its orbit and now it is very close to earth. It causes major destruction and many people die. I think the author wanted to make the book entertaining and depressing. In my opinion this book was one of the better books I’ve read in a while.
    Alex and his little sisters can’t find their mom, and they don’t really know what happened to their dad who is in Puerto Rico. They still go to school! Everyone is trying to survive.
    There are some depressing parts in the book like when Alex is in Yankee Stadium looking at dead bodies hoping to not see his mom. . I think this book is very entertaining, because you don’t know what is going to happen and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I think this book was way more interesting than Life As We Knew It.I think this book was entertaining and a little depressing. This book was about a teenage boy and his little sisters trying to survive after a meteor hit the moon. I read Life As We Knew It, and Dead and The Gone. In my opinion Dead and The Gone is way better than Life As We Knew It.
    I would recommend this book to anyone between the ages of 12 and 18

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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