Title: Life as We Knew It (The Last Survivors #1)
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publisher: Graphia 2008
Genre: YA dystopian
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; 2011 — To YA or YA Not
How I Got It: borrowed from the library
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.
I really wanted to love this book. Dystopian novels are right up my alley. They’re like my love of disaster films, not matter how cheesy. So I went into this book wanting to love it, and I just liked it. It was good, but not great…
The plot about the moon being pushed closer to us because of an asteroid and then wrecking our entire ecosystem is one I haven’t read about in awhile. I liked the background story. I liked that the story was told from one family’s (or really one person’s) perspective. It made the horrors and uncertainty that much more real. The story then becomes a struggle for survival. What happens to life when almost everything is stripped away? We get to see how the family deals with it. Even though the story covers almost a year, the writing kept up the pace. It didn’t fall into the dullness that I thought it would. I appreciate that.
The style of the book. It’s written as Miranda’s diary entries. Okay, not a bad gimmick. But after while, I started to hate her whining. I felt that I was listening to a 13-year-old girl whine and pick fights with her mom than a 16-year-old girl. Maybe I don’t remember all this whining at 16. It’s possible that that’s what all 16-year-old girls are like, but I really don’t remember that. And after awhile, I just really wanted to slap her. Also I couldn’t stand the character of Megan, the fundamentalist Christian. I couldn’t tell what the point of having her in the story way… Are we to sympathize with the her struggles or think she’s just crazy? Either way, it felt like too much of a plot gimmick.
So, there we go. Good, but not great. At any rate, I’ll be reading the second and third books of the trilogy.