Feb 7, 2012

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer review

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, 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 journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

From Goodreads

Susan Beth Pfeffer weaves a terrifying tale of mayhem in this first installment in the series. We meet Miranda & are just beginning to get a grip on her family situation (2 brother, one older & one younger, divorced parents, remarried father announcing pregnancy with new, younger wife) when an asteroid collides with the moon disrupting everything. Thanks to her mom's quick thinking, they manage to stock up on enough food & personal supplies during the initial phase, but the toll the moon takes upon the Earth's seasons is just the beginning of their fight to survive.

A strong, but still flawed teenager Miranda is the perfect person to narrate this tale as she is not quite so young that she doesn't understand & appreciate the situation, but she's still immature enough to feel selfish & overwrought. The book is written loosely in journal-entry format. I can't imagine being as verbose as Miranda has a tendency to be, but when you're trying to convey to someone else what's going on I guess you might get carried away.

I was really fascinated by the interconnectivity that Pfeffer spun in relation to the asteroid. We really take for granted the delicate balance that must be maintained in order for our world to continue operating as it does. Pfeffer explores that balance & blows your mind with what occurs & how the characters manage to survive. These resourceful folks are just the kind that I would want as neighbors if something like this were ever to occur.

An even more intriguing part of the book was the focus on the US (and the world) as a whole going through this trying time together. The book takes place in Pennsylvania, but Miranda's family is all over the place & the reports on the radio come in from Yellowstone, the South & more. Everyone is suffering, just at different rates, allowing us a window into the severity of the situation & the fortunate circumstances of our characters.

If you're looking for something spine-tingling & sense-shocking, read this book. The characters are real & engaging, allowing the reader to fully grasp the direness of the circumstance & the story never lets up. I was guessing what would happen until the very end.


swiggett said...

Not having read the book, all I can think is that a sunroom seems like it would be rather vulnerable - all those windows for marauders who didn't stock up to see you and your supplies and that could break if things fall from the sky or get knock loose during a storm. But, if it is where your wood-burning stove is, I get it.

Mary @ BookSwarm said...

This was a really creepy book! Like you said, it would just take a little push to knock everything off-kilter and then where would we be? Pfeffer really delves into this well.

wigg said...

Wait until you read the other two! I thought it was such a good series, and totally believable.

loreleimarsh said...

@swiggett- You need to read the book & all your concerns/questions are answered/validated. :)

@wigg- I have read the next 2, just getting my posts together. I hope she adds more.

wigg said...

I really hope she adds more too!

Susan said...

I love this series. It is terrifying because it's actually very believable. Except for the asteroid thing, of course, but it's still easy to imagine all kinds of crises that could lead to a situation like the one Pfeffer describes in this series. The series is scary, but I LOVE it!