Susan Beth Pfeffer has written a remarkable book with her Young Adult novel, Life as We Knew It. Miranda is just your typical sophomore, dealing with a split family and changing friends, when an asteroid hits the moon. Everyone is out to witness this historical event, but each soon realizes that something has gone wrong. The moon has been knocked closer to earth. Now it looms way too large and way to near. The effect on the climate and tides is disastrous. Tsunamis hit the coastlines, wiping out the entire east and west coasts. Dormant volcanoes reawaken, sending their ash into the sky and blocking out the sun. There is a run on food, water, and ways to stay warm. Some try to leave to better parts of the country, but no one knows if any part of the country is truly better; almost all long-distance communication has ceased. Quickly, there is no power, no heat, no fuel, and Miranda and her family must try to survive. During it all she keeps this diary, and through it we see her progression from frightened, to angry and hostile, and finally to resigned in her fate.
This book is wonderful because it is so plausible. As I read it, I kept wondering what actions I would take, whether I could be as resilient, what decisions I would make, who I would protect, how I might survive. Would I be altruistic? If I was, would I survive? Would I be a bad guy or a good guy? Miranda leads the reader through all these emotions and decisions, and you wonder if she will survive in the end, if there ever is an end, or if all the suffering is just prolonging the inevitable. An awesome book!
Try Life as We Knew It if you enjoyed Meg Rosaff’s How I Live Now.