Tuesday, August 17, 2010

REVIEW: Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

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.

I really loved this book. I'd been looking forward to reading it for a long time and it lived it up to my high expectations!

Life as We Knew It is a post-apocalyptic YA novel and is entirely journal entries of 16 year old Miranda. At the beginning, we are introduced to Miranda's rather normal-sounding life. Her older brother is away at university. Her parents are divorced and her father and new step-mother are expecting a child. Her little brother is mad about baseball. Miranda is heavily interested in keeping up with the gossip of a particular male ice-skater and is keen to get back into ice skating herself. But soon, everything begins to change, as the news reports that an asteroid is on a collision course for the moon.

When this happens, everything slowly begins to change. Luckily, Miranda's mother has the foresight to see how things might be different and stocks up on the neccesitites. Tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes begin to destroy things that most people take for granted. Food and water is scarce. Electricity and heating. It's the start of a very different world as Miranda and her family must change in order to survive. It's a very chilling thing to think about. I couldn't help but wonder as I was reading it, 'how would I survive? What if it happened to me and my family?'

I loved seeing the transformation of Miranda and her family and friends as they dealt with this situation in very different ways. From the immature 'why has this happened to me' whining, to the sacrifices in terms of food, to the different ways in which each character held on to their hope. Miranda and her family don't have it easy, but they were able to really come together as a family and that always makes me a little sad. I finished this novel on the train, as I couldn't bear to stop reading it, and luckily the person next to me was kind enough to ignore my steady flow of tears.

I cannot wait to find out how everything turns out in the next two books in the series, The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In! I need to know what happens to Miranda and her family!

This has been read as part of Presenting Lenore's Dystopian August! Highly recommended.


  1. I found this book terrifying. I really loved it but it made me want to stockpile food, water, books. I found the second one a little more difficult to get into because of the third person narrative but after that it was another dark and sinister read (excellent).

  2. This is an excellent review. I've had this book for a few years but never got round to reading it. This has persuaded me to - thank you!

  3. I loved this book - although I felt constantly hungry when reading it! I also really enjoyed the second, but sadly the third fell a bit flat for me. Will be interesting to see how you find them.

  4. Becky - books! I don't think any of us need to worry about a shortage of books, right? :) Looking forward to the rest in the series..

    YA Reader - I hope you get to it soon!

    Splendibird - yes, I felt hungry quite a lot when reading it as well. Now to track down the other books in the series.


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