Feb 23, 2012

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer review

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first 2 books in this series, this summary & review will contain spoilers. My reviews of Life as We Knew It & The Dead and the Gone are live, so be sure to check them out first if you want to read about the 3rd installment.
This World We Live In coverIt's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

From Goodreads

Again, we don't pick up where we left off in the last novel, but the terrain is still familiar enough for the reader to be comfortable with what's going on. This time we find ourselves back in Pennsylvania with Miranda & her family. Things are going as well as can be expected given the circumstances until it all changes when her father & stepmother suddenly appear not only with their baby, but 3 more unknown individuals. While Miranda's family is thrilled to be reunited, things become tighter & resources become more scarce.

The best part about the new arrivals though is that there is someone else Miranda's age. Enter Alex Morales (from The Dead and the Gone) & his little sister Julie. While Julie spends her time with Miranda's little brother, she & Alex are free to get to know one another. Love seems to be in the air, but the moon isn't through with them yet. Something big is coming & everyone seems to know it. The other they can do is prepare as best they can & hope that it's good enough.

Miranda & Alex continue to develop strong personalities & really assert their independence from those around them. While they still cling to parental figures for guidance, they are always thinking outside the box & on their own. Stubborn Alex helps Miranda to explore outside her comfort zone while scavenging while she tries to help him see through this picture-perfect image he's got of how his future will unfold.

Pfeffer brings us right back into the chaos & doesn't let up until it's over. There is non-stop movement, but not necessarily action. There is a lot of timeline development & filling in of the background by the new arrivals giving the reader a more complete sense of the nation-wide devastation. The new characters also bring a new dynamic to the interactions. As a society, we have preconceived notions of how typical social interactions will unfold & these folks turn that on its head providing us with a key piece to comprehend just how life-altering this has all been. Naturally we can fathom the emotional & physical toll this experience has taken, but the shift in societal norms & mores might catch you off guard.

A thrilling read with a jaw-dropping ending, This World We Live In hopefully is not the last we hear of Miranda, Alex & the other "Last Survivors". I'm not so sure as I haven't found anything indicating this as the end or just another step in the series. I guess we'll have to wait & find out.

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