Title: Life As We Knew It
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series: Last Survivors #1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
It’s almost the end of Miranda’s sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver’s license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda’s voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.
This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. I instantly fell in love with Miranda and really enjoyed the diary-entry style of writing the author used. I could not put the book down after I started reading it and finished it in one sitting – something I rarely ever do.
The reason why I enjoyed this book so much is because of the way it made me look at the things we take for granted everyday – electricity, heat, food, clean water, clothes, medicine, cell phones, Internet, transportation, public services, etc. Can you imagine what life would be like without these things? This is exactly what Miranda and the rest of the world experience after the moon is pushed off its axis. People don’t talk about food with each other for fear of it getting stolen. When people pass away, their homes are raided immediately. Family members have to decide who has the better chance of surviving and allowing them a larger ration of food. I mean seriously – can you imagine?!
I really admired the way Miranda dealt with the situations she faced. Of course she got frustrated, angry, bitter, resentful, and an array of other emotions throughout the book, but they were all well warranted and completely understandable. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Dead and the Gone, and see how Miranda continues to deal with the world’s new way of life.
Life As We Knew It is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story that I would recommend to anyone looking for a truly well-written and thought-provoking book.