Title: Life as We Knew It
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series: Last Survivors #1
Published: 1st October 2006
Length: 337 pages
Warnings: kissing, suicide
Other info: The other two in the trilogy are The Dead and the Gone and The World We Live In. Pfeffer has also written Portraits of Little Women and, more recently, Blood Wounds.
Summary : 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.
Review: Scientists say that an asteroid will hit the moon on Wednesday. Never mind though! Nothing will happen! Of course. Volcanoes and other natural disasters are set off when the moon is knocked off course. It's a fight for survival for Miranda and her family of two brothers, mum and long time family friend Mrs Nesbitt. Slowly, normality falls apart as electricity and school become things you can't depend on, you have no idea how your relatives are unless their names are read out on a list of the dead, and the weather is even more unpredictable than usual. The entire book is a realistic(ish. No paranormal elements here. I say the ish because we don't know what would really happen in this situation. Yet.)survival story with a tiny bit of romance.
The setup is very good. We get a couple of days before the asteroid hits and how everyone's hyped up(they think it'll be harmless), and then their increasing panic when they realise it's not, and so on.
Maybe our little family of survivors handled this a little too maturely. There's not much extreme panic on their part, and the fact they were thinking so clearly, all of them, was just slightly unrealistic.
The rest of it was brilliant. It was told from Miranda's POV with diary entries, dated as they happen. I like the irregularity of the entries, which I think is a good way of showing that life could sometimes be really hectic or there were more important things to do. There's a lot of description in all parts, both of what is happening and of Miranda's feelings.
I like the way characters come and go for differen reasons, which is realistic. Does it make me a horrible person that I didn't particularly mind when the romance with Dan didn't work out? I saw it as just another going in Miranda's life, and also think that a lot of romance would simply distract from the story.
The few characters we see through the majority of the book, I feel as though we get to know them all really well. The fact there was only a few of them worked well, and seeing the way they all reacted to one-another is a good way of getting closer to them.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a great survivor story that I really want to read more of