Monday, August 16, 2010

Review of Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It By Susan Beth Pfeffer
Pages: 337
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pub. Date: October 1, 2006
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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. "

Miranda is your typical high school student that writes her thoughts down in her journal about her friends, family and daily events.  However, things change forever when a meteor hits the moon and knocks it off its axis.  This starts a series of horrific and catastrophic events, such as tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquakes.  Miranda's world is turned upside down.  There's barely any electricity, there's gas shortages, food shortages, and major weather changes.  Her family survives summer, but with the fall and winter approaching and the fact that there are already record low temperatures, Miranda can't help but question.......will they survive the winter?  Susan Beth Pfeffer's first installment in the Last Survivors series, Life As We Knew It, is one of the best books I've read this year.  

Wow!  Sometimes you read a book that is so captivating and consuming that any thing I say in my review simply can't do the book justice.  I know this book has been out for years and I've seen my students reading it, but for some reason I never got around to picking it up.  Needless to say, I am extremely glad I found time to read it this summer.  This book even slipped into my subconscious. I had dreams about it, which hasn't happened since I read Hunger Games.  This book was sad, dark, and eerie, but like a bad car wreck, I couldn't avert my eyes.  The worst part about all of this is the fact that it seemed so real and believable. I kept wondering.....could this happen to us?  

Pfeffer uses diary entries to narrate the novel, which is brilliant.  I became so invested in Miranda and her descriptions of her family and friends.  Even the minor characters in this novel were outstanding.  For example, her fanatically religious friend and the Reverend annoyed the heck out of me.  I felt such a strong opposition to them.  I even had to laugh out loud when Miranda reported on what the President was saying from his ranch in Texas.  Priceless!  Also, Miranda's mom was such an admirable character. My heart broke with every setback her family encountered.  Whether it be a major or minor character, one thing is for sure, Pfeffer truly knows how to get her readers invested in them.  It's hard to believe that she could create such strong characters since the novel is in diary format, but Pfeffer easily accomplishes this and so much more.  Life every good novel, she requires her readers to question their lives.  I know I was constantly asking.....what if?

This is a book that I will be recommending to both male and female students this coming school year. I am not sure why this book doesn't get more buzz at my school; it's outstanding.  And thankfully, this book is part of a series. I will need to get my hands on the second book, Dead and Gone, as well as the third book, The World We Live In.  Even my husband, who rarely reads young adult, was interested in this book.  He picked it up while we were on vacation and read it in two days.  I couldn't believe it.  This illustrates the book's tremendous appeal, regardless of a reader's age or gender.  Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It is a story that stays with us.  I know I'll never look at the moon the same!  

*Teaching Resources (*Sigh* I would love to teach this book. For all you teachers out there, there are a ton of teaching resources for this book. I've just included one, but be sure to check out Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog for even more.)
*Watch the Book Trailer:


  1. LOOOOOOOOVE this book. Great review :)

  2. Nice review! I read this a while ago, then re-read it, and the next 2 books. I thought the book was really good, and scary. Makes me really appreciate the moon! :)

  3. Absolutely! Definitely one of the best books I've ever read. It scared me half to death. I keep asking for an antique oil lamp for my birthday.


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