Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Published: 10-1-06 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books
Get the book: Amazon
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.
Rating – 3/5
The cover fits the story, but it’s not amazing. It’s not a thrilling cover that would stick in my mind if I had only seen it once. I want a cover that makes me want to know more about the story inside. I really like the color scheme and the single light that’s on in the remote house shown.
This book had a lot of problems, but it really made me think. It had a haunting kind of pace and tone to it. I’m not sure that I want to read all 3 sequels because that seems kind of excessive, but I might pick up the second one eventually.
- Matt – Miranda’s older brother was a great character. He worked hard to ensure his family had everything they needed, and he looked out for Miranda and Jonny all the time. Matt did whatever he had to and made sacrifices so that his family would survive.
- people in general – I found it realistic that people were portrayed as withdrawing into their own families and groups so they wouldn’t have to share food and supplies. I thought it felt exactly right how the state of the hospital changed over time as things got worse, how they felt the need to guard it at times, and then how it fell apart like everything else. And how Miranda’s dad and Lisa found out that some states were preventing entry.
- Mrs. Nesbitt – Her outlook on everything that was going on was very matter-of-fact because she was kind of elderly. She didn’t want to be a burden on Miranda’s family, and she did what she could to help out. I liked hearing her opinions on the new state of things.
- ending – Although it wasn’t a cliffhanger, the ending left me wanting to know what was going to happen next – with Miranda’s family, with her dad and Lisa, and with the way the world is coping or not coping with the disaster. The book had its issues, but it left me thinking and stayed in my head for a few days after I finished it.
- Brandon – Miranda’s obsession with an ice skater named Brandon makes her seem really young and a little immature. She’s supposed to be 15-16 but going on message boards to talk about her celebrity crush makes it seem like she’s around 13 instead. And if the world was ending, would you really think about your celebrity crush regularly? Once in a while sure, but not regularly when your family is struggling so much.
- Dan – I didn’t really understand what purpose Miranda’s relationship with Dan served. I think it was just put in there so she would have to say goodbye to someone else she cared about, but I wasn’t convinced enough to care when any of her friends said goodbye.
- foreshadowing – First, everyone’s portrayed as excited about the asteroid – so, sure, I guess I can buy that. I’m not sure about the science, but maybe the scientists get jazzed about things hitting the moon – especially things that aren’t supposed to have any effect. But then, Miranda’s brother gets worried about it, so now she she is too. Then, of course, everything goes down the drain. It was just strange how Miranda suddenly changed her attitude, then the worst possible thing happened.
- religion – One of Miranda’s friends chooses to starve herself, and spouts religious lines constantly. I’m not sure what the author’s point is in putting this in the story. She seems to despise religion – everything that Meghan says sounds like it should be right, like something that your average Christian would tell you – but the way she talks about it and applies it makes it seem crazy. The reverend is portrayed as a slimy, self-serving villain. I would expect religion to come into play in a story about the end of the world, but I didn’t like how it was shown here.
- slow – The story stagnates at some points. I know it’s Miranda’s diary and that some days nothing really happens, but it’s the end of the world! I thought the end of the world would be more eventful. It seems as if all the huge, horribly bad things happen to everyone but Miranda and her family.
- food – Every time the family is on the brink of disaster, food seems to magically come out of nowhere. Someone brings it to them, or some random person who just happens to still have food dies at exactly the right time. It was just always very convenient that events always lined up at the perfect time to get them what they needed.
- “Jonny’s fine!” I yelled right back at her. “Jonny’s eating three meals a day. You waited until he left before you put us on our starvation diets. You think I didn’t notice that? You think I don’t know which one of us you’re betting on?” – Miranda + her mom pg. 129
- “Dad bought black market gas,” Matt said. “He had connections. And at that, his gas ran out.” “Black market?” I said. Matt looked at me like I was an infant. “How do you think he got all that food?” he said. “You didn’t really think it was just waiting to be taken, did you?” – Miranda + Matt pg. 216
Acquired: bought (ebook)