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Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Last Survivors (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,4303261,572 (4.08)1 / 214
  1. 71
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (JolieLouise)
  2. 40
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (EmJay, snozzberry)
    EmJay: apocalyptic speculative fiction with teenage protagonists
  3. 30
    World Made by Hand: A Novel by James Howard Kunstler (ahstrick)
  4. 20
    The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (JRlibrary)
    JRlibrary: Both books deal with events that alter the way society works, and force people to either pitch in and help, or become selfish predators who care only for their own survival. Both are a bit slow to begin with, but build a very realistic portrayal of human behavior.… (more)
  5. 20
    Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden (zimzimzoo)
    zimzimzoo: John Marsden's YA classic of survival and growing up during WWIII is sure to please.
  6. 42
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (francescadefreitas)
  7. 10
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (KMAnderson)
    KMAnderson: Another view of how people survive civilization-threatening (or -ending) disasters.
  8. 10
    Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen (kaledrina)
  9. 10
    Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence (Aquila)
  10. 10
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (BrynDahlquis)
    BrynDahlquis: The apocalyptic/tragic plot is quite similar, though one has zombies and the other has a homicidal moon.
  11. 00
    Tunnels by Roderick Gordon (bookel)
  12. 11
    The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (chazzard)
  13. 11
    Trapped by Michael Northrop (kaledrina)
  14. 11
    How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley Rawles (JolieLouise)
  15. 00
    Ashfall by Mike Mullin (kaledrina)
  16. 00
    Earthquake 2099 by Mary W. Sullivan (bookel)
  17. 00
    Found by June Oldham (bookel)
  18. 03
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: A great book about a teen girl dealing with tragedy, with a strong first-person voice.

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English (321)  German (4)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (327)
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
Amazing! Every time I got up while reading this I felt like I should check my food storage and be impressed with the wonder of electricity. Can't wait to read the next one. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
I won this novel as part of a birth-month contest put on by Tara Anderson of The Librarian That Doesn’t Say Shhh. It’s one of her favorites, so for another take on the novel you can read her review.

Disappointingly shallow novel suffering from an identity crisis.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

Sixteen-year-old Miranda has bigger things on her mind than the fact that a meteor is about to hit the moon. Like prom, and that cute boy from her swim team. To her it’s not much more than a lame excuse for extra homework assignments. When the meteor knocks the moon out of orbit and closer to Earth, she and the rest of the planet are completely unprepared for the geological events that follow. Tectonic shifts result in earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Ash fills the skies, blocking out the sun and sending temperatures plummeting. Miranda’s family rallies together to survive as every system they have ever known fails around them: the schools, the power grid, the police force…

I’m afraid I’ve made this book sound a lot more exciting than it was. The entire novel is written in diary format and unfortunately the diarist is a bit of a dope. Miranda is nearly sixteen-going-on-seventeen but her thoughts read like those of an especially self-centered twelve-year-old. I suspect this may be because the novel is aimed at upper elementary/middle grades, but in that case it might have made more sense to show the events of the novel from a younger kid’s point of view. The narrator does not come across as particularly smart, capable, or nice. She does as she pleases until her helicopter mom jerks her back into line. The most well-rounded character in the novel is Miranda’s mother, who reads like a rather irritating author insertion.

Which brings me to my main problem with the novel: the characterization is shallow and language is simple, which suggests middle-grade fare (though middle-grade novels can certainly have rich characterization). However, the presentation of the premise suggests YA or plain old fiction for adults. I can imagine the premise being deeply unsettling to younger readers, and there are some fairly dark moments. The core idea could have been the seed for a great YA post-apocalyptic, but instead the reader gets a book that is somehow both disturbing and lame narrated by a boring teenage girl.

Some other random things that bothered me:

The science is extremely weak. If you are going to write a novel about a catastrophic event in planetary geology, do some serious research first. The movie-science might not bother readers who are not scientifically inclined.
The names are all weirdly generic mid-century standards, except for Miranda. Bob, Dan, Jonny, Carol, Grace…it just seemed odd. Especially since the novel is dated by the mother’s G.W. Bush-bashing.
The ending is basically a Deus Ex Machina, which makes for an exasperating finish to a dull read.

All in all, an exciting idea that resulted in a middling-to-bad novel with an identity crisis. A bit too realistically dark for many kids, and way too shallow for most adults.

For a better read in a similar age-range try: The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson. ( )
  ArmchairAuthor | Jul 3, 2014 |
Despite the lack of deep characters, the book was very good due to a great plot that makes you think: could it really happen? ( )
  silkpanda123 | May 14, 2014 |
Interesting concept--I picked this up on a friend's recommendation, and not knowing anything about the premise, found myself thinking "This is kind of a blah diary of a teenager. Is this all it is?" I think if I'd known where it was headed, I might have been a tad more forgiving. I liked it fairly well once it got going, and quite enjoyed book #3, which I read immediately after. ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
Love this book. I am going to use it in my curricula. I know the students will love it. ( )
  Mykake | Mar 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Beth Pfefferprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauer, EmilyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Marci Hanners and Carol Pierpoint
First words
May 7

Lisa is pregnant.
It was like one of those lists on the radio to let you know which schools were having snow days. Only instead of it being school districts in the area, it was whole cities, and it wasn't just snow. (24)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
No shops. No TV. No Electricity. No Daylight. No idea if your family is alive or dead. Could you survive? When a freak asteroid knocks the moon from its orbit, horrific tides engulf parts of the globe, and life on earth changes overnight. For 15-year-old Miranda, a desperate battle for her family's survival begins.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0152061541, Paperback)

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

Veteran author Susan Beth Pfeffer, who penned the young adult classic The Year Without Michael over twenty years ago, makes a stunning comeback with this haunting book that documents one adolescent's journey from self-absorbed child to selfless young woman. Teen readers won't soon forget this intimate story of survival and its subtle message about the treasuring the things that matter most—-family, friendship, and hope.--Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

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