"Life as We Knew It"

"Life as We Knew It"

Life as We Knew It

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre: YA Post-Apoclyptic
Published: May 1st, 2008
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt




Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.


We may not have a future, but you can’t deny we have a past.

There’s something intriguing about post-apocalyptic and survival stories. Maybe it’s putting yourself in the shoes of the characters and wondering whether or not you’d survive in that given scenario (me, probably not) or maybe it’s just the high stakes and action. But whatever it is, Susan Beth Pfeffer obviously has it, as Life as We Knew It is one of the most terrifyingly realistic post-apocalyptic novels I have ever read.

I wonder if I’ll ever have to decide which is worse, life as we’re living or no life at all.

Imagine ten minutes – one single event in history – affecting the rest of civilization, the rest of your life, the rest of the seven billion other people on our planet’s lives as well. It’s pretty daunting to think about, but that’s exactly what happens to 16-year-old Miranda. One day, an asteroid bumps into the moon, moving it just mere miles closer to the Earth. As a result, worldwide tsunamis begin destroying entire coastlines, earthquakes become as common as a gentle breeze, and volcanic ash blocks the sun. As a pleasant New England summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda and her family have to learn to adapt…or die.

I really admire our protagonist Mirandas’ strength, her courage, and her will to survive. She seemed so real to me; and I loved the sensation of feeling like I knew her. She goes through a huge character arc from the beginning to the end of the book, one that I thought was well-written and realistically portrayed. She starts off the story as a bit of a stuck-up teenager, and comes out a fighter. She is flawed, and I think those flaws are what readers will relate to most.

Pfeffer’s world-building was fantastic. There’s just something about the world she’s created that is so vivid and realistic and so darn plausible that it just makes you want to immediately run to your local Target and stack up on survival supplies. I’m not sure how in the world she does it, but the feeling she gives you makes you feel so scared and unprepared – like these course of events could be happening outside you house at that very moment.

All in all, an amazing addition to the post-apocalyptic genre that I will definitely be recommending – especially to those who like the Monument 14 series or the Ashfall trilogy. I’ll definitely continue the series, and I look forward to seeing where Susan takes her characters and her world.


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