YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: It’s almost the end of Miranda’s sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver’s license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda’s voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

Review: Life As We Knew It was a book filled with realism. Pfeffer paints a very gritty and depressing picture of the world Miranda lives in. Readers will want a miracle to happen, one that would save Miranda and her entire family. But I can’t say for sure our prayers were answered, you have to read to find out yourself. Despite the slow pacing, Pfeffer perfectly captures the emotions Miranda is experiencing as it is written in a diary format. The sadness, the pain, the anger and the bewilderment are all seen clearly. The hardships Miranda and her family went through were heartbreaking and terribly realistic. She’s a courageous girl, I for one, would have probably resented to fate long ago if I was in her shoes. But still, it was devastating reading how Miranda and her family had to give up certain things just to ensure that everyone was alive. As their stockpile grew lesser each day, I was terrified, terrified for Miranda and her family.

Life As We Knew It is not an action book; it is mostly character-driven so don’t read this book expecting the lots of excitement. With 2012 out in theatres not too long ago, I’m not surprised if fans of that movie bought this book as well. Who would have known that just with the moon moving closer to the Earth could affect lives so much? It resulted in volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.

Overall the entire book was slow-paced and simple yet there’s something about it that is compelling and draws you in from the start. You want to find out if Miranda survives. But since we all know since she’s writing in a diary, she will survive, if not, the book will end abruptly. Reluctant readers may give up this book as they find it boring but adults and older teens will like this book. I finished the book and looked around, thankful for the electricity and not to mention, ice cream! I will be buying The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In.

“It was like a car crash I couldn’t stop looking at.”
–Greater Victoria Public Library Book Picks for Teens

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Comments on: "Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer" (3)

  1. Absolutely loved this novel — I read it in October and still think about it often! Definitely character-driven, but really compelling. I talk about it with friends and coworkers and suggest it every chance I get! 🙂

  2. Awesome review – I cant wait to read it, I have both of the books…so I am looking forward to diving in…though I have not yet! 🙂

  3. Great review! I read this and loved it as well. I was impressed by how realistic it was, I still think about it often – especially since I just read book 2 this week!

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