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.