Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Library book)

This is my Library book of the month -

5 Stars!

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.
High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, 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.


Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon. She lives in Middletown, NY. 

This book was so much better than I thought it was going to be. I had so much emotion invested in this book. I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with their story. I read this book because it was the "Book of the month" for a group I belong to on shelfari. So I read it with no expectations. This type of story is not my normal read. But once I started reading I could not stop.
Warning - this is not a sweet, easy reading, fluffy story. This story is intensity at its highest. It is sad beyond belief. In that way it is realistic. Not all stories have happy endings, that's reality. And this book is not all happy. 

I thought all the characters were very believable. The mom - very protective of her children and what is theirs, not trusting anyone, but giving up of herself for the sake of her kids. The two brothers - One being the older, stronger, wiser, the man-of-the-house, making decisions for the family (until he can't anymore), the other - younger, naive, fearful, questioning, no responsibility (until he has to) looks up to the other. And finally Miranda - It is her diary you are reading. She starts out wanting skating lessons and ends up fighting for her family's lives. I think she grew the most. she started out as a young selfish teen and ended up selfless and wise, strong way beyond her teen years.

This book reminded me very much of the "Left Behind" series and the TV show Revolution and the movie "The Day After Tomorrow". What happens when most of the world is devastated and people are dieing everyday and those left are struggling to live with what little they have left not knowing what day might be your last.
"The volcanoes cause fires and the earthquakes cause fires and the tsunamis get bigger and bigger so there's less and less coastline and people are fleeing places with volcanoes and earthquakes and floods so things are getting worse even in the stable places.
And of course, there are epidemics."
"Do people ever realize how precious life is? I know I never did before. There was always time. There was always a future.
Maybe because I don't know anymore if there is a future, I'm grateful for the good things that have happened to me this year.
I never knew I could love so deeply as I do. I never knew I could be so willing to sacrifice things for other people. I never knew how wonderful a taste of pineapple juice could be, or the warmth of a woodstove, or the sound of Horton purring, or the feel of clean clothes against freshly scrubbed skin."
This book certainly makes you think - What would I have done, would I have made the right decisions, would I have thought of that, could I have done what they did - to survive? I do know that I would have given my life for my daughter's. That is the only thing I know for sure.

All in all this was a great read! It is not a light happy-ending kind of book. There is a lot of devastation and sadness and struggle and yes - death. But it makes the unreal seem real. I don't know science enough to know it the moon could really be pushed closer to the earth, but if it could - this is what it would be like!
There are 3 other books in this series and you bet I will be reading them!


  1. Great review, Wendy! This book didn't catch my attention but I might have to give it a try now because of your review.

    1. Yeah! Well it didn't catch my attention either, till it was the BOTM and I thought "What the heck?" So glad I read it!
      Very quick read - I read it in one day.

    2. That does sound like a quick read. I read kind of slow so it might take me two days. I wonder if my library has it, hmmm...

  2. Great review. Never take life for granted. As they say live your life as if there will be no tomorrow for you never know what tomorrow will bring.
    Sounds like a book I would like.

  3. Both of my kids read this book, and told me that I had to read it. I hear that it's very plausible and very scary, which I think is one reason that I haven't read it yet!! So glad that you enjoyed it. I will be reading it at some point. Of that I am sure!

  4. Glad you enjoyed it. I'm sure you'll like the others too. For something that is similar in tone, try Megan Crewe's The Way We Fall and The Lives We Lost. They are just as good and just as plausible.

  5. Oh wait. There are three more books in the series? How did I miss this. I thought there was only one. I read the second one. I need to go look into this series a bit more.