Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Summary from Goodreads:
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
My take on it:
I received this book through a contest by One Librarian's Book Reviews. I was quite excited to win because I love dystopian and even some apocalyptic books. In addition to my own inclination to like this type of book in general, I had also read several glowing reviews for this book. From the first page, this book held my attention. It is written as a diary and while some people may have an issue with that, it worked for me. I have read a few reviews that raised the issue that they felt the story wasn't exciting enough or fast-paced enough. But I think that very few people could write diary entries about their own life that would sound as exciting or fast-paced as a thriller even during a catastrophic event. It seemed just like she was documenting what happened to her. This story about family, love, survival and growing up demonstrated how lucky Miranda was that her mother and brothers were so resourceful and clear thinking during this crisis.
I have to admit that while reading this book I kept looking up at the sky and wanting to start stockpiling food, clothing, blankets, matches and wood (and we don't even have a wood burning stove). Much of how this catastrophic event unfolds sounded plausible to me and I just couldn't put the book down. I am fascinated with stories of survival and I always try to figure out how I think I would have reacted in the same situation. This story was disturbing enough that I didn't really want to dwell on how I might act in a similar situation. As I was reading a certain episode of the book, I kept remembering stories my grandmother told about when she was a child and her family all got scarlet fever and she had to take care of everyone and cook and clean and generally take care of things. The details in the particular episode in this book seemed to be in line with what my grandmother told me about her experiences nursing sick family members without modern conveniences and that really helped me believe some of the events in this story.
I am planning to read the other two books in this series The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In.