Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Posted November 22, 2017 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Digital Audiobook narrated by Emily Bauer

Published by Listening Library on November 21st 2006
Series: Last Survivors #1
Genres: Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 337 pages or 8 hours, 59 minutes
Source: Overdrive

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When Miranda first hears the warnings that a meteor is headed on a collision path with the moon, they just sound like an excuse for extra homework assignments. But her disbelief turns to fear in a split second as the entire world witnesses a lunar impact that knocks the moon closer in orbit, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate.

Everything else in Miranda’s life fades away as supermarkets run out of food, gas goes up to more than ten dollars a gallon, and school is closed indefinitely. But what Miranda and her family don’t realize is that the worst is yet to come.

Told in Miranda’s diary entries, this is a heart-pounding account of her struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar time.

In the beginning, Miranda was worried about skating lessons.

Life is normal.  Her brother is coming home from college for the summer.  Her step-mother is pregnant.  She has three essays due on the same topic.  Then a meteor hits the moon with enough force to move the celestial body and everything changes.  Weather changes, communication goes out.  Mayhem.  The end of the world.

This story is Miranda’s diary on the goings-on of life after everything changes.

I’m really glad I gave this book a chance.

I very nearly DNF’d this book a couple hours in.  I didn’t love the format, and Miranda annoyed me.  The narrator wasn’t my favorite.  But I gave it a chance, telling myself “just wait for the apocalyptic part and then decide”.  When it happened, I was hooked.

The science of this book is really interesting and I think that’s why I put it on my TBR in the first place, several years ago.  Our celestial bodies are in such perfect alignment right now for the preservation of life – what would happen if something moved, just a little?  That question is definitely explored here.  This is the kind of science-fiction I enjoy.  The subtle changes.  Our world, but with one small difference.  I think that Susan Beth Pfeffer did an excellent job exploring this question.

Miranda’s evolution is subtle and perfect.

I really like that nobody’s personality did a 180 after the event.  It’s such an issue for me in dystopias, especially apocalyptic ones, when meek people suddenly become Strong Incredible Characters.  There’s a difference between stepping up to the challenge and changing everything about who you are.  All the characters in this book still had faults – the difference was that they adapted.  Sometimes slowly!  And they didn’t always like it?  I love realistic, imperfect characters like this.  They are so much easier to relate to.

As I was listening to the audiobook, near the end, it occurred to me how much Miranda had changed from the beginning of the book and I hadn’t even realized it.  A good character evolution should sneak up on you like that.  People change and grow that way – how often have you known someone to stand up and say “From now on, I am going to be less selfish!” and then magically it happens?  No… changes in people are really subtle and Pfeffer did an AMAZING job of portraying this.  Even though I hated Miranda in the beginning, I cared about her well-being by the end.  She grows on you.

If you like subtle science fiction, this book is for you.

Life As We Knew It isn’t in-your-face science and tech.  It’s simple.  Basic.  One small element of difference then a chain reaction of events.  I really liked it for this element – it reminded me a bit of the ideas of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.  I’ll be reading the sequel to this book, and I recommend this to anyone who is interested in apocalyptic stories or journal-format YA.

The Breakdown
Personal Enjoyment
Overall: three-half-stars



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4 responses to “Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

    • Amber

      I’m really glad you liked it too, Zoe! It ended up being such a breath of fresh air between a slew of down-with-the-government dystopias and sappy romances in fantasy. 🙂