Life as We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Overview -

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic.  Read more...


 
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More About Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
 
 
 
Overview

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, 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 a year's worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780152058265
  • ISBN-10: 0152058265
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: October 2006
  • Page Count: 337
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.52 x 5.64 x 1.08 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds

Series: Life as We Knew It #1

Related Categories

Books > Young Adult Fiction > Dystopian
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Social Themes - Emotions & Feelings
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Social Themes - New Experience

 
BookPage Reviews

Reinventing life, after the apocalypse

"I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's would still be open," 16-year-old Miranda says when her life suddenly takes a turn for the worse. The problems begin when a larger-than-expected asteroid hits the moon and sends it out of orbit. Tsunamis ensue, drowning Cape Cod and coastal cities, and washing the Statue of Liberty out to sea. Power goes out, gas prices go up, and food becomes scarce. Within two weeks, it's hard to remember what normal was—clocks with the correct time, lights that work, access to the Internet. The death toll is incalculable along the coasts, and inland, people begin dying when food gets scarce, wells run dry and a flu epidemic hits.

Susan Beth Pfeffer opens this gripping novel with a teenager's everyday concerns: homework, tests and who's going out with whom, and darn if a lunar disaster doesn't ruin everything. Life gets gray and dingy, and even the snow isn't quite white. As time goes on, families must decide which family member must eat more and stay strong so someone will be able take care of the others as they weaken.

So, what do you do when your world is dying? You reinvent the world. Miranda's mother makes all three of her children study something, even if there is no school anymore. They chop their own wood, melt snow for water, play Scrabble and even sing Christmas carols with their remaining neighbors. Readers will witness the incipient civilization that Miranda's family creates for itself.

In this dying world, Miranda develops a series of philosophies of life to cope with the harsh times. Early on, it's "Why feel sorry for myself today when tomorrow's bound to be worse." Later, it's "Don't let me be the last one to die." But by the end of the novel, having survived so much, Miranda says, "[T]oday isn't a day to worry about the future. Whatever will happen will happen. Today is a day to celebrate."

Though this is a powerful story about a freak lunar event and its consequences, it's the spirit of appreciating day-to-day life that will resonate with readers.

Dean Schneider teaches English at Ensworth School in Nashville.

 
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