Life As We Knew It
By Susan Beth Pfeffer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Here’s the blurb from the publisher:
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.
The Short of It:
After reading just a few pages, you won’t be able to put this one down. It’s scary at times but hopeful too.
The Rest of It:
I have read a lot of books about the end of the world. I’m not a morbid person but deep, deep down I do believe that something horrible could happen to the world as we know it. Fires, earthquakes, tsunamis (oh my!)…I had to toss that in there to lighten it up a bit. Anyway, with the weird weather patterns and the fear of a pandemic, Life As We Knew It is not all that farfetched. Really.
After the moon’s position is compromised by a meteor hit, Miranda and her family do their best to survive in a world that is completely different from what they’re used to. There are lots of things that I liked about this novel so I thought I’d stray from my usual format and make a list:
- Miranda, at age 16, is very much a sixteen-year-old but emotionally strong when she needs to be.
- Miranda’s mom is a sensible woman. I’ve read so many of these types of books where the mom is just the stereotypical “mom” and lacks any kind of common sense. Not the case here.
- The family works together as a unit and it’s believable.
- The other characters are actually important to the story and not just there to create conflict.
- Pfeffer paints a realistic picture of what could happen given such a catastrophe. These characters are hungry and you feel it. As Miranda longs for a hot shower, you are reminded of how wonderful hot water can be. I mentioned above that it’s scary at times, scary as in “This could happen!”
- Even though the subject matter is grim, there is a strong sense of hope throughout the story. This is incredibly hard to do but Pfeffer does it effortlessly.
- Since this is a young adult book, I could easily see a teenager reading this and really thinking about how good they have it. As an adult, I know I spent many moments pondering what was on the page.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected it to be a page-turner, but I didn’t expect to care about the characters as much as I did and I didn’t expect to think about it days after reading it.