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Review – Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Life as We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
337 pages
Published 2006
YA Science Fiction

I had heard so many good things about Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer that I couldn’t stick to my New Year’s resolution to not read any books other than ARCs until I’m all caught up. Maybe next year’s resolution should be self-control.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is narrated by 16-year-old Miranda, who’s just started keeping a diary when an asteroid hits the moon and moves the moon closer to the earth, changing the earth’s climate. ACK! Silly scientists knew the asteroid would hit the moon, but no one knew that it would shift the moon closer to earth. Massive flooding from tsunamis and tidal waves destroy the eastern seaboard. Electricity starts going out as storms rage through the country.

The day after the moon is shoved closer to earth, Miranda still goes to school, but her mom pulls her out after a few hours so they can stock up on food. (Note to self: remember to run to the grocery store STAT in the event of a catastrophe.) They go to the store because food is being sold for $100 for everything you can put in a shopping basket. Miranda’s mother makes them stock up on all they can possibly cram into their car. These supplies, along with a few other gifts they receive, help the family survive through a horrible winter with no electricity.

This is a fantastic and compelling book. I loved Miranda’s diary entries; you watch her evolve from being a whiny teenager to a responsible adult. You see the family bond as they do their best to survive this catastrophe. You see how great people can be.

I saw a lot of similarities between Life as We Knew It and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Where The Road did a belly flop, Life as We Knew It did an Olympics worthy dive (with very little splash!). And all the while I was thinking, This is, like, a young adult book and it’s like totally deeper than, like, The Road. What worked in Life as We Knew It was that it’s a fairly simple story; a few things are repeated over and over and over, keeping those things at the forefront of my mind. On almost every page, food is mentioned. I never forget that they’re rationing their food and just trying to survive. I never forget that they’re hungry and scared. I didn’t feel like The Road showed the natural disaster (or whatever it was) in such a way that I could relate. But could I relate to a 16-year-old girl who’s tired of having green beans for dinner, who’s tired of having to be careful about all their supplies? Heck yes!

DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HOARDING CANNED GOODS. This book will only make that problem worse.

Rating: 95 out of 100

Other (probably better) reviews:

Things Mean a Lot
Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Books on the Brain
an adventure in reading
Experiments in Reading
Presenting Lenore
Bookfoolery and Babble
The Sleepy Reader
the hidden side of a leaf
Book Addiction
Reading Derby
Sassymonkey Reads
Becky’s Book Reviews
Bonnie’s Books
A Patchwork of Books
It’s All About Books
nothing of importance
The Page Flipper
The Story Siren

| Tags: , , , , , 30 comments »

30 Responses to “Review – Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer”

  1. Biblibio

    A single question: Most teen (or other) “diary” books sound not at all like diary entries. Does this one come off as realistic or are entire conversations written like a story and everything seems like a seasoned author wrote it?


    Jackie Reply:

    some of if seems like the author just wrote it but every here or there you see a diary entry of when she doesn’t want to write a lot so she just puts “oh today was a bad day it snowed again” and then its to the next journal entry. but it was a amazing book i must say.


  2. Joanna

    I recently read this and it had a huge impact on me too… My review is here:
    I haven’t read The Road yet, but I’m curious about it.


  3. Marg

    I just read this last week as well and found it really moving. My review is here:


  4. bermudaonion

    This sounds really interesting, but it sounds like something my mom shouldn’t read. When everyone was worried about Y2K, I wasn’t because my parents have enough food to live off of for a long time.


  5. msmazzola

    I have this book in my to be read pile. Did you know (you probably did, but I will tell you anyway) she has another one “The Dead and the Gone” which is about the same event, but written from the perspective a teenage boy in New York City.


  6. Nymeth

    This book definitely made me WANT to hoard caned good. You know, just in case.

    But anyway, I know just what you mean about being able to relate to Miranda.


  7. S. Krishna

    What a great book! I’ll have to read this.


  8. Staci Taylor

    Excellent review! this book gave me nightmares…I’m being totally serious here!! I loved it!


  9. Jeanne

    I reviewed this a while back and liked it, although I didn’t like the next one, The Dead And The Gone:
    And you’re so right–I haven’t looked at canned food the same way since!


  10. sassymonkey

    I still haven’t gotten the crank radio/flashlight that this book made me want to buy immediately. And let’s not talk about the canned goods. Or bottle water. Or toilet paper.

    I didn’t like The Dead and the Gone as much as LAWKI either. It’s a slightly different format – it’s third person and not in diary form. It’s not bad at all, it just didn’t pull me in by the gut the same way LAWKI did and the way I expected it to.


  11. natalie

    i read this too–lisa was talking about it on her blog not so long ago. i really enjoyed it but it made me reconsider my bare pantry shelves.

    since reading the book, i’ve stocked the larder, hidden cash in the house, and laid in extra blankets, batteries, and sundries. i’m ready for anything!


  12. Tara

    I really liked this too! Are you going to read the ‘sequal’?


  13. chartroose

    Self control is no fun! I want to read this very, very badly! Crap. I wonder if there’s an audiobook I can pirate–I mean purchase–somewhere.

    BTW–You’re simply adorable, Trish!


  14. jennygirl

    I think it was an informative and good review. You’ve convinced me to put this on my TBR.


  15. Margaret Snyder

    This sounds like something that I would like to read. Awesome review, thank you.


  16. Kim L

    Haha, I don’t have a hoarding problem. I’d be the first person to die if survival depended on hoarding, because I am a tosser-outer.

    Great review by the way! I need to check out this book.


  17. Amanda

    Great review! I added your review to mine as well.


  18. Anna

    I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. I might have to get my hands on a copy soon because my hubby would actually read this, as he really enjoys disaster movies and stories for some reason.


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  21. Victoria

    Hey, do you know she has a sequel to this book called “The World We Live in”? Can’t wait to read it.


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  23. fft

    i really loved this book even though im a year7.
    i didnt want to miss any part of this cause it was so awesome
    but i have to say i didnt like the dead and the gone
    ill give it a 9 out of 10


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  25. Alicecullengal666553428747

    I just finished this book and loved it. Megan was kind of an idiot, just saying.


  26. sydney

    I loved this book! I just got finished with it! I so badly want to read the sequel I’m going to the library tommorow 🙂 LAWKI really made me aware..bad or good? 😮 I’m a teenager and the things she did are what I probably would have done in her situation. I would recomend this to anyone. 10/10


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