Book Review: Life as We Knew It

Life as We Knew It

Susan Beth Pfeffer

Harcourt

360 pages

I don’t think I have been this freaked out by a book in a long time.  Just looking at the cover scares me a little bit.  Life as We Knew It is YA dystopian fiction at its best.  Miranda is 16 years old and in high school when her life changes forever one day.  An asteroid is projected to hit the moon one night–this is not an odd occurence generally, but the asteroid is believed to be large enough so that it will be visible to the naked eye.  Thus, Miranda, her family, and pretty much everyone else has decided to watch the asteroid hit the moon.  What they witness is stranger than anything that had been predicted or anticipated–the asteroid knocks the moon towards the earth, so that the moon is off course.  So now the cover makes sense.  But what other ramifications would this have, you may ask.  Oh, if you only knew!

Straight away coastal towns start flooding.  The moon controls the tides, and with the moon knocked off kilter, the tides are completely wonky.  If you live in a coastal town, you’re as good as dead.  And it only gets worse from there.  Other natural elements starts acting up–volcanoes are erupting, temperatures are cooling drastically.  The world is suddenly in panic mode and everyone is fending for themselves.  As the book continues, people are becoming shut off from one another and everyone is struggling to provide for themselves.  It becomes dangerous to go into public for fear that you may be robbed or worse.  Electricity becomes a thing of the past and as it gets cooler, the possibility of freezing to death becomes inherently real.

And yet, Miranda still keeps some semblance of normality.  She attempts to continue with her schooling.  She still gets typical teenage crushes.  Life as We Knew It is basically a novel about how adaptable people can become when faced with adversity.  I kept thinking as I was reading Would I have done that? or Would I have reacted that way?  A situation like this seems impossible to fathom, and I can only believe that I would not have half the strength of Miranda and her family if I were faced with a similar situation.

Life as We Knew It really is a downright depressing read.  Yes, you can get hope from the perseverance displayed by Miranda and her family, but that still can’t make up for how distraught this book made me feel.  Which is not a bad thing at all, don’t get me wrong!  But for anyone who has yet to read this book, be forewarned.

If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, this is a must read.

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1 More Chapter

I borrowed this book from my local library
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7 Responses

  1. I know you know I didn’t like this one much when I read it, but the more I think about it, the more I REALLY dislike it. The more unbelievable it becomes. Maybe because it didn’t freak me out, it was easy to see all the flaws? I don’t know. But it seems everyone loved this but me. I’m kind of tired of that happening, sigh.

  2. I love books that freak me out, so this sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review.

  3. I listened to it in audio in 2008 and it blew me away.

    I think the part that hit me the most was the scene near the beginning where the mother helps the man at the supermarket get diapers for his baby. As a father, of two young children (at the time a 1- and 2-year-old) it really hit me hard.

    Great review.

    And, in case you didn’t already know, there is also a companion book: The Dead and the Gone (set in NYC) and a sequel with Miranda’s family This World We Live In coming out in March 2010 that unites the two previous books.

  4. I think I might like this one!!!

  5. There seems to be a lot of buzz about this one. I might have to be in the right mood to enjoy it.

  6. Amanda – I liked it ok, but it’s low on my list of dystopian/post-ap fiction. I call it dystopia lite when even the cat survives.

  7. […] 3. Life as We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer […]

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