Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
If you’re looking for a realistic, world-ending kind of book with no zombies but the right amount of intensity, this one is for you.
Publisher’s Description: 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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
Told in the point of view of sixteen-year old Miranda, her diary entries explain how a meteor crashes into the moon and knocks it out of orbit. Tidal waves and tsunamis wreck the coastlines, earthquakes and bad weather affect everywhere else, and the ash from volcanic eruptions begins to block out the sun. If that wasn’t bad enough, epidemics hit and autumn seasons that become freezing winters make things worse. Not to mention the lack of food and human decency plagues everything.
Miranda lives with her mother and two brothers; her parents are divorced so her father and pregnant step-mother find it even more difficult to visit. Although she’s frequently selfish and whiny, Miranda grows mentally despite practically starving herself and making other sacrifices for her family as things take a turn for the worst, especially near the end.
Some of the most intense scenes are the ones like the grocery store scene, where people are beating each other up for food and supplies. The flu that hits her family is pretty bad as well, considering the hospitals can no longer help her (most of the staff is dead). There’s even a scene where she looks into the pantry and discovers chocolate chips, only to gorge herself in front of her mother, who makes her eat them all.
Lots of bad stuff happening and lots of people die. Yet there is hope for Miranda, even in the face of death. But her “life as she knew it” is totally gone.
I read this a few years back, as well as the next two, but then the fourth one was released and I wanted to read them all again. It still leaves me wondering how I’d survive when everything around me was falling apart and there was nothing I could do but figure out how to live. Would I be warm enough? Would my well-water hold up so I could have something to drink? Would I be able to have enough food? And what kind of choices would I be forced to make in a world gone crazy? Those are some of the things this book makes you question, and the realistic view is grim and oddly hopeful.
A great read for fans of apocalypse and doom, but Miranda tends to be the average sixteen-year old girl, emotional and sometimes cocky.
If you like this book…