Tuesday, July 8, 2008

THE DEAD & THE GONE by Susan Beth Pfeffer

An asteroid hits the moon and pushes it into an orbit closer to Earth. The tides are rising. The weather is changing. There are earthquakes and volcanic activity where there never has been any before. How will world survive?

Alex Morales and his two sisters, Bri and Julie, find themselves living alone in their New York City apartment. When the unthinkable happened, Alex's father was attending their grandmother's funeral in Puerto Rico, and Alex's mother was called in to work at her job at the hospital. Alex and his sisters never heard from them again.

They try to continue a normal routine. Fortunately, the two Catholic schools they attend are still open for business. As their food supply runs low, they feel lucky to be able eat their school lunches so they can stretch the food at home as long as possible. But as the summer wears on and conditions worsen, Alex discovers he is capable of many things to keep his sisters from going hungry. Scavenging dead bodies and bartering anything that comes his way are just a few of things Alex learns to do to make ends meet.

As summer turns to fall, the temperature drops significantly and parts of the city are evacuated and closed down. It becomes clear that their real survival will depend on Alex's ability to escape with his sisters to a safer part of the country - if such a place even exists. What can Alex do? Who can he turn to for help? And will he be able to find a solution before they die along with the city?

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written THE DEAD & THE GONE as a companion to LIFE AS WE KNEW IT which describes the same catastrophic global event from the view a young girl living in a more rural setting. Both books are chilling in their presentation of an event that seems frighteningly possible. With the scientific community warning us about global warming and recent documentaries and movies portraying the horrific consequences of extreme environmental events, this book creates a reading experience that could keep readers awake nights imagining how they might handle the challenge to survive.

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