Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

lifeasweknewitTitle: Life As We Knew It
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the library
First line: Lisa is pregnant.

Life As We Knew It is the first book in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Moon series, and is another book I picked up because of all the chat about it on Twitter. (Between book blogs and Twitter, I now have enough books on my to-read list that I’ll never be able to read them all before I die. Not that I’m complaining.) And, once again, my fellow bloggers were right – this is a fantastic book and a promising start to the trilogy.

Miranda is a normal high school junior, living in Pennsylvania with her mother and her younger brother, Jonny. Her dad lives with his new wife, Lisa, who is expecting a baby, and her older brother, Matt, is away at college. Everyone is buzzing about the upcoming lunar event – an asteroid bigger than any in known history is going to collide with the moon. It’s big enough that the collision will be easily seen with binoculars or telescopes. The town all gathers on the appointed night, but instead of awe and excitement, the event is terrifying. The asteroid is bigger than astronomers predicted, and actually pushes the moon closer to Earth. The result is devastation: tsunamis, volcanoes, climate changes, famine.

Life As We Knew It takes the form of Miranda’s journal – and her thoughts and experiences place you right in the middle of the horror that her family is experiencing. At first, it seems like the crisis will be fairly minor and temporary, but as it becomes evident that it is much more serious than they thought, Miranda’s family must go into self-preservation mode.

I loved getting to know all the characters through Miranda’s eyes, and I also appreciated that Miranda often gave in to her typical teenage instincts, railing against the unfairness of the world and taking her anger out on her mom. I think this would have been a completely different book, and in some ways, more difficult to read, if it had been told from the viewpoint of Miranda’s mom. A mother – especially a single mother – has a fierce need to protect and care for her children, and when the power to do that is taken away, it brings about a desperation that only a mother can imagine.

My only negative is that there were a few places where I felt like the story could have moved along more quickly. This shouldn’t stop you from picking it up, though – it’s a great read. I have requested the sequel, which is about another family’s experience with the lunar event, from my library.

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19 Responses to Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Sort of a 2012 kinda thing, huh? I have a twisted interest in these types of stories. I’m wondering Carrie about your opinion on appropriate age? My daughter (almost 12)loves this kind of thing…I don’t think the premise would scare her. I just don’t want to hand her anything with sex or language.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme – True Grit =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – if there was any language, it was mild enough that it didn’t stand out to me at all. The mom does at one point ask Miranda if she’s sleeping with her boyfriend, but she isn’t – there is some kissing, but that’s it. I am letting Natalie (13 in two weeks) read it with no problem – it’s no worse than what was in Hunger Games, in my opinion.

      • Sandy
        Twitter: youvegottaread
        says:

        Thanks Carrie! I think she would like this. My only issue is that everything I suggest these days, she ignores just because the recommendation came from me! I just shake my head. She is going to drive me to drink!
        .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret =-.

        • CarrieK
          Twitter: booksandmovies
          says:

          Sandy – Natalie is like that sometimes, too – but the past few months she had finally given some of my suggestions a try, and since she usually ends up loving them, she’s becoming less resistant. Maybe you can tell your daughter that I suggested it – that way it doesn’t come from “Mom”. :)

  2. Kathy says:

    Now I really feel like I need to get my hands on this book. Great review.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge Completed! =-.

  3. You thought it dragged? I didn’t think it dragged at all! :) I’m glad you enjoyed it, though.
    .-= Amy @ My Friend Amy´s last blog ..It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Amy – it might have been a comparison issue, since I had just read Adoration of Jenna Fox.

  4. Debbie
    Twitter: debworldofbooks
    says:

    I loved this book and cannot wait for the third book to see what happened to the characters.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Holiday Celebration Giveaway =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Debbie – I know – I was bummed when I found out book two didn’t have Miranda in it. Glad she’ll appear in book 3.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    I had forgotten this was the first of a trilogy. It’s on my wish list.
    .-= stacybuckeye´s last blog ..The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler =-.

  6. Michelle says:

    I thought there were spots that were a bit draggish as well but much like you thought the other aspects of the story far outweighed that small negative. I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the second book as well.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Challenge Me =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Michelle- I requested the second book from the library – they’re either buying it or getting it through inter-library loan for me. :)

  7. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    I definitely want to read this one at some point. Thanks for the review.
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..Fallen – Lauren Kate =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Swapna – I’m waiting for the library to get book 2 for me – it’s taking forever!

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