Pfeffer's Last Survivors Series

The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors, #2)The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My personal rating: 4 of 5 stars

Companion novel. I was never a fan of that term, however, I am now. “the dead & the gone” is cleverly done and taps into themes that young men clearly find interesting: survival, protecting one’s family, sticking to one’s morals in the face of adversity, the list goes on. Written from the third-person limited perspective, instead of the first-person narrations of the other two books in the series, it can stand on its own, or give the reader that deeper understanding of Pfeffer’s fictional world. I am a die-hard post-apocalypse fan, and this series is different in that it gives a bit more hope for our humanity. Most authors jump on the now cliché idea that humans become animals without society. Pfeffer has a little more hope/respect/naiveté about our species.

One of the best words to describe this series is “plausible”. It’s not a flashy word, not something you would think about standard YA fair and pick up because, well, it’s plausible. However, reading this series, and especially the first book, “Life as We Knew It”, I was forced to really consider how I might behave in the same situation. Then I wondered how the “big cities” differed from the country and if a male character would have handled things the same way. Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder, because in “the dead & the gone”, readers get just that.

Some readers looking for a grittier dystopian action-packed romp are in for a disappointment, this isn’t McCarthy’s “The Road.”. I think Pfeffer misses some opportunities to make some bold statements about religion, death, and society in this novel, but she does have some original thoughts and I enjoyed the companion novels better than the third, “This World We Live In” that brings all of the characters together.

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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 eight roughly equal pieces."

Something Extra: Jackie Parker's interview with Susan Beth Pfeffer on her Interactive Reader blog and the series YouTube trailer:

Bottom Line: Over-all, this series was a great read. Definately a good selection for the classroom, and it will generate tons of things to discuss.  Girls and guys like this series, the companion novels are written from a female & male perspective.
Classroom Grade: A- (Life as We Knew It, the dead & the gone)  B (This World We Live In)


Karin Perry said...

I love this trilogy. I liked Life As We Knew It the best.