Review: This World We Live In

This World We Live In
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 2010

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

The Short of It:

A solid follow-up to the first two books. Equally engaging but lacking that element of surprise.

The Rest of It:

This World We Live In is book three in the Life As We Knew It series and I must say, it has been a very enjoyable series for me. Not enjoyable in the traditional sense but there’s something to be said for a book that completely takes you away to another time and place. This place being a world, devastated by a catastrophic event where food and water are no longer a given. In this book, Alex and Julie from book two cross paths with Miranda and her family and they are all forced to live with one another while trying to figure out what do with the lives that they’ve been given. Do they stay? Do they leave? Is there a future for them somewhere else?

If I were in this situation, I’d be terrified of venturing out into the unknown. Especially if I had children that I was responsible for and this is the situation here. Laura, does not want to leave the house. She is comfortable at home with her four kids, Miranda, Jon, Matt and his new wife Syl,  but when Miranda’s dad shows up with his wife, a baby and three other strangers tension begins to rise. Some feel it would be better to move on, others feel it would be better to stay put and what about food? What little there was before now has to stretch to feed these additional people.

What I like about this series is that the characters are very resourceful and believable. There’s no getting comfortable when you have that many people trying to survive. They are constantly taking inventory and figuring out ways to get more of what they need.  I was also very glad that the story was told from Miranda’s point of view. Much of the story is shared through her journal entries which lend an authentic air to the story. What I didn’t care for, was how fast she and Alex fell in love. I know there’s the whole “end of the world” thing going on but it didn’t seem right. The two personalities didn’t mesh for me. That’s really a small quibble because even though I didn’t buy the relationship, it did symbolize hope and put a positive spin on an otherwise dire situation.

This book didn’t have the same feel as the first two books because we’ve already been introduced to what created this situation and we’ve already gotten a feel for what’s it’s like to be hungry (and cold) but I say… read it anyway. This is gripping stuff. Once you pick it up, you have to finish it. I know this is the end of the line as far as the series,  but it’s open-ended enough where there could be more books. Ms. Pfeffer? Are you listening?

Source: Jill was kind enough to send me her copy as I was like a puppy dog, pressing my nose up against the glass. Thanks Jill!

12 thoughts on “Review: This World We Live In”

    1. It’s not graphic, and although it certainly deals with a depressing topic, the author manages to keep hope in the picture. As a YA book, I can see a teen reading this and perhaps, appreciating what they have a bit more. It sort of makes you think about how wasteful our society is.

  1. My daughter and I were the same way. We were like giant boulders rolling down a hill…nothing was going to stop us from finishing this thing. We liked the first book best, probably because of the novelty. But it was satisfying to see everyone hook up. You are right, Alex and Miranda do fall in love quickly. I chalked it up to dumb youth and end-of-the-world urgency. I’m not sure any of the young love going around in this book was based on anything but that. It’s not like there was much choice in cute teenagers to pick from, right? Still I’m glad we read these, and could totally see another installment.

    1. I checked out the author’s blog briefly to see if she mentions the possibility of another book but she hasn’t as of yet. I sure hope she writes another one.

  2. I guess from reading a lot of war books and watching war movies, I get the impression there is a tendency during such times to fall in love fast! So I wasn’t bothered by how fast they did. Plus, for all they knew they could be the last teens in the world! From that standpoint, each looked good to the other! I suppose if they meet other people in a new place, say in another follow up book, they might see things differently, finding someone with more in common!

  3. Jill is good like that–I’m glad she kept your nose from going flat! You definitely raced through these and I’m thinking my daughter might like them just as much.

  4. Every review I’ve read seems to say the same thing: not enough surprise and a rather open-ended ending. I’ll probably end up reading this series at some point.

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