BCL Teen Librarians's Reviews > Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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U 50x66
's review
May 14, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, realistic-fiction

A meteor slams into the moon, and in a split second, "life as we knew it" is forever altered. Tides sweep over the coasts, and the changed position of the moon gives rise to increased volcanic activity, which turns the sky an ash-gray and blots out the sun. With untold numbers dead and the climate irrevocably altered, a smalltown Pennsylvania family forges ahead, having had the foresight to gather food and supplies immediately after the catastrophe.
The story, told through 16-year-old Miranda's diary entries, is a chilling glimpse into one family's life post-disaster. For a while, they try to maintain some semblance of normalcy by attending school, ice skating, and keeping bonds with friends and family. As winter approaches and the situation becomes increasingly bleak, the family hunkers down and faces the reality that "normal" may never return.
It was refreshing to get a post-apocalyptic story that, for once, wasn't an after the bomb or deadly disease scenario and was rooted in the lives of ordinary people. Miranda is a strong, resourceful teen who also has the same interests and concerns that anyone her age not suffering through a life-threatening situation has - boyfriends, school, disgreements with parents. While things crumble around her, she maintains strength through familial love and writing. The book ends with an appreciated (if not somewhat stretched) optimistic event, although it's made clear that the future remains anything but certain. Unfortunately, there are some plot holes - I would expect far more looting and chaos as desperation increased (the danger is only briefly glossed over), and it was pointed out to me that a well such as Miranda and her family use would require electricity. These are minor quibbles that detract from without derailing the story.
If you enjoy survival stories or science fiction anchored in reality, this one will keep you turning pages!

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