Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of several well known YA-books, but I had never heard about her until I saw a review for Life as we knew it on Viviennes blog Serendipity and just had to get it. Thanks again Vivienne. It was a great read.

Miranda is just an ordinary 16 year old teenager living in Pennsylvania with ordinary teen-problems: will she ever go on a date, how is it to kiss a boy, why does she feel she doesn't know her friends anymore and so on. Miranda also has a pretty nice family, living with her mother and little brother while big brother is away on college and her dad is living with his new wife in another state. But all is quite well, its spring, school is about to end for summer in a month and Miranda and her little brother are looking forward to spend summer with their dad and in basketball camp. Miranda keeps a diary where she writes big and small from her everyday life, in a believable teenage-voice.

We get into Miranda's life a couple of days before something big is going to happen. An asteroid is about to hit the moon, and the whole world is excited, all tv-stations run endless interviews with astronomers and everybody wants to watch when it happens. Nobody suspects anything but a spectacular natural phenomenon.

So when the asteroid knocks the moon of its axis it is a big surprise. And initally, panic breaks loose with the moon hanging to close to the earth. Very soon the first reports of natural disasters reach Miranda's quiet Pennsylvanian town, and it becomes clear the life as we knew it is a thing of the past.

Miranda and her family does the best they can to survive in a whole new world, and while I did wish for a bit more action from time to time, I have to say that I loved Miranda's sensible diary-voice, following the ups and downs of her and her family's life. It was a rather exciting read, and I was hoping for a number two, because I want to know what happens next.....

I haven't found a sequel to Miranda's story, but Susan Beth Pfeffer has also written the dead and the gone, which apparently takes place at the same time as Miranda's story, but with different protagonists in a different part of USA. I am going to see if I can get that one as well. Life as we knew it is highly recommendable.

I have always liked apocalyptic, postapocalyptic and End-of-the-world books. Can you recommend any?

Amanda of The Zen Leaf reviewed Life as we knew it here.

12 comments:

regularrumination said...

I just finished "Life As We Knew It" this afternoon and will be posting my blog post soon!! I really liked it; it was an impressive end of the world novel.

regularrumination said...

As for recommendations, I'm still thinking about books, but if you're interested in a TV show, there's Jericho. It's very similar, but instead of a natural disaster it's a nuclear war. It was only on for a season and a half, but I really loved it.

Louise said...

Yes, I liked it very much too. I found what can be considered number 2 cheaply on eBay and am looking forward to read it. I will look for that tv-show - not sure it has been aired in Denmark though, but sometimes they can be found on dvd. I don't mind if the end-of-the-world scenario has to do with a nuclear war :-)

Beth F said...

Neither of these are exactly end-of-the-world books, but I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth (life in USA after a virus) and John Marsden's Tomorrow series (life after a military attack in Australia).

I'm adding both Pfeffer books to my wishlist. Thanks!

Louise said...

And I am adding both your recs to MY wishlist. Specially the one after a virus sounds like something right up my alley! Thanks.

Julia Smith said...

The only similar thing I love is the TV miniseries version of The Stand by Stephen King, as I haven't read the book. That was broadcast in 1994. It follows the breakdown of society after a biological weapon takes down millions of people, and the regrouping of a new society by the 'lucky' survivors.

Any time I hear Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult, I'm immediately transported to the eerie opening of The Stand.

Louise said...

The Stand is one of my fave books of all time, and I've read it a dozen times. I haven't seen the mini-series though. Maybe I should look for it on dvd.

People die of a super-flu in The Stand, released by accident from some lab in US. You should read it, Julia. Its great!

Cathy said...

I really enjoyed Life As We Knew it; The Dead and the Gone not so much. The boy protagonist was trying to be too macho for me. :)

A book in this category that I greatly enjoyed last year was Jean Hegland's Into the Forest.

Rebecca Reid said...

I'd heard of this, but didn't know it was about! Very interesting. Can't really recommend any post-apocalypse books, sorry.

writemeg said...

Glad you enjoyed this one -- I have it, too! I'm going to be starting it for a challenge soon and can't wait. Sounds great!

As for other end-of-the-world stories, have you read Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now? It takes place in England as a terrible war is breaking out -- World War III, really -- and deals with the aftermath as the world and society begin to crumble. Very moving and thought-provoking!

bermudaonion said...

I love the thought of them surviving in a whole new world. It sounds exciting!

Louise said...

@ Cathy: Thanks for the recommendation. I am going to look for that one. I already bought the dead and the gone and will review it here as soon as I've read it ;-)

@ Rebecca, don't worry, I've gotten some great recommendations already.

@ Meg, Thanks, that definitely sounds interesting

@ Kathy, it is exciting and also interesting, but also sad in places.