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The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Spoiler Alert ** I had a hard time rating this book.

The Shade of the MoonTitle:  The Shade of the Moon
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
SeriesThe Last Survivors Book 04
Publish Date:  August 13, 2013
Genre:  YA Dystopian/Post-Apocolyptic
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

On the one hand, I love that the author decided to jump on the dystopian bandwagon and create a post-apocalyptic society. Like many great dystopians out there, it had the themes of the “poor vs. rich crowd,” economic turmoil, and plenty of violence to go around. I enjoyed the intensity of the story and the emotions that Jon felt after his mother’s death, how he discovered love with Sarah, and how he comes to terms with forgiveness – within himself and for his family, especially Miranda. The author always does such a great job expressing those feelings and making readers feel for the characters.

On the other hand, some of it was unbelievable. I wish the world-building would have been better because I think that would have really improved the story visualization. I had a hard time understanding the flow of the enclave and the whole grubs vs. clavers vs. other regular people? At the beginning the most, then I just gave up and went with the flow.

Yes, Jon was an asshole at times and not at others, but dealing with the shit he’s been through, I don’t exactly blame him. He’s been practically raised to be spoiled and then he joins the Stockton enclave and he’s in the higher-up class and so therefore, he feels entitled compared to his “grub” family. I wasn’t fond of Ruby or her sister, and I feel like the author should have focused on building up the world more than the characters, since the majority of them we’ve already met.

badge3v4All in all it was a good ending to a series, though she always hints that there may be more. Guess we’ll see!

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try The Line by Teri Hall, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, and Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

In the first two companion novels, readers get to hear what happens to characters Miranda and Alex, who must survive after the moon is knocked out of its orbit. Devastating tragedies affect both their lives respectively and they’re finally meeting each other for the first time. Small spoilers ahead.

This WorldTitle:  This World We Live In
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
SeriesLast Survivors Book 03
Publish Date:  April 1, 2010
Genre:  YA Fiction
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: 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.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

It’s been a year since an asteroid hit the moon. Miranda, though hungry, is still living in a rural Pennsylvania town with her two brothers and mother. Her brother goes to find food and returns with a new bride in tow, a stranger named Syl who he claims to be in love with. Then Miranda’s father shows up, bringing his wife Lisa and their infant son, Gabriel. Not to mention three strangers – two of which are Alex and Julie.

Readers know how bad things are. Very little food, unreliable electricity, bad climate changes, and the mixed feelings of hope and doubt that linger in everyone’s minds. Which is why I think the author decided to focus on the characters rather than the events that make up the plot.

This is the story of how crazy people can get once a world-ending disaster strikes. Love begins to change perspectives. The Evans family deals with all kinds of issues the longer they’re together. Matt, protective of Syl, who was also once the level-headed and patient older brother, tends to provoke fights with everyone and brings out resentments he must have been hoarding the entire time. Jon and Julie, the youngest, tend to find their own bond, but they’re too young to understand what’s best for them. Alex, who was often an asshole in his own novel, is blindly driven to pushing his sister away in hopes she’ll be safe because he’s tired of responsibility and secretly afraid of watching her die in a bad way. Even Miranda becomes bitter and makes a very dark decision near the end of the book.

Relationships change when things happen. When I mentioned love changing, I meant it. Families begin to see themselves in new ways. The romantic kind of love is so rare that Matt/Syl, Miranda/Alex, and even Julie/Jon just throw themselves at each other because they’re desperate and forgot what it felt like to love. But even that kind of love can tear a person apart, especially when life-changing decisions affect them, especially in the case of Alex and Miranda.

badge3v4All in all, a good novel and reflection of the terrors people can go through when everything falls apart around them.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try The Line by Teri Hall, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, and Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.

The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

If you can believe it, this book is even more intense and scarier than Life As We Knew It. Though it has the same plot – moon knocked out of orbit, tsunamis, famine, death, climate changes – it follows Alex Morales, who lives in New York. Some spoilers ahead.

The Dead and the goneTitle:  The Dead & The Gone
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
SeriesLast Survivors Book 02
Publish Date:  June 1, 2008
Genre:  YA Fiction
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSusan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

Goodness, I thought Miranda had it bad. But Miranda didn’t have to always care for her family on her own. Alex has two younger sisters, both teenagers. His brother Carlos is in the Marines and absent for most of the story. His mother is presumed dead, probably because she drowned in the subways when they flooded. His father, who was on an island when all this was happening, was probably washed out to sea.

Alex has, and maybe I’m wrong, but he seems to have it worse. With missing parents and sisters who don’t always act like they should, he’s totally on his own. He has to rely on food lines and when that doesn’t work, he has to pick things off dead bodies to barter for food. And even then the people he comes to rely on end up dying.

Unlike Miranda, Alex catches the flu and it’s his sisters that have to take care of him. But of course, they’re starving too. As things get grave, Alex has to think about killing his sisters peacefully with sleeping pills to spare them death of starvation. But at the last moment, he’s spared and he and Julie manage to get away, having to leave their fallen sister behind.

Alex isn’t always a saint. He’s angry and often too proud. He’s an ass to his sister quite often, although she’s sometimes a brat. He’s a lot more rash than Miranda is too, focusing on himself and his family over the good of everyone else. And he’s religious, which isn’t usually my type, but I didn’t mind it so much.

badge5v4This book is scary real and makes you want to eat less because you’ll never know when you won’t have food. It makes you think. It makes you happy for the things you have. And hope that the characters somehow make it through despite the odds. It’s my favorite in the series and I enjoyed the reread.

Our reviews in this series…

  • Life As We Knew It

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try The Line by Teri Hall, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, and Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.

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.

Life As We Knew ItTitle:  Life As We Knew It
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
SeriesLast Survivors Book 01
Publish Date:  October 1, 2006
Genre:  YA Fiction
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionMiranda’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_100Kat 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.

badge4v4A great read for fans of apocalypse and doom, but Miranda tends to be the average sixteen-year old girl, emotional and sometimes cocky.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try The Line by Teri Hall, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, and Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.