Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Dead and the Gone

Pfeffer, Susan Beth. 2008. THE DEAD AND THE GONE. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 0152063110 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

THE DEAD AND THE GONE is the much-anticipated follow up novel to LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. Though the characters and setting are different--New York not Pennsylvania--the terror and uncertainty of future days is the same. Our narrator is Alex Morales, an older teen, whose world is about to be turned upside down when an asteroid collides with the moon sending Earth’s climate into chaos. With both of his parents gone—one called into work at the hospital on the fateful night and the other out of the country—Alex is on his own to provide for his two younger sisters: Briana and Julie.

Yet Alex is never completely alone. The Catholic Church (and school) are there to provide for the needs—one way or the other spiritual and physical—of the community. The novel is a fascinating but haunting examination of family and religion. With vivid imagery, it is a novel that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished.

Discuss the role religion plays in the novel. How does this portrayal contrast with its presentation in LIFE AS WE KNEW IT?

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT is written in diary form; however, THE DEAD AND THE GONE isn’t. Choose a scene from the novel and a character to write a diary entry from his/her perspective.

Other dystopias you may enjoy:
Agell, Charlotte. SHIFT. ISBN 080507810X
Collins, Suzanne. THE HUNGER GAMES. ISBN 0439023483
Dunkle, Clare B. THE SKY INSIDE. ISBN 1416924221
Goodman, Allegra. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND. ISBN 1595141952
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. ISBN 0152061541

By Becky Laney

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