Title: Life As We Knew It (The Last Survivors #1)
Released: October 1, 2006
Source: School library
Goodreads Summary: 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.
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In the middle of big life changes for Miranda — she’s growing apart from her two best friends, getting into swimming after a figure skating accident, and just found out her dad and step-mother are pregnant — and even bigger event looms. All the world is excitedly watching as a meteor is scheduled to collide with the moon. This event is predicted by astronomers across the country and is expected to pass with all the world watching but with little fanfare.
As soon as the meteor hits the moon, everyone knows something something is wrong. The moon is knocked harder than expected, tilting and moving it closer to Earth. Too close. In Miranda’s small town it’s the beginning of big change.
Cable is out. Phones are out. Tsunamis start across the world. Miranda’s mom goes into beast mode and takes out all the cash she can before taking her family try to secure any and all supplies they can from the stores. Miranda, her mom, her little brother Jon (future Yankee’s 2nd basemen), and older brother Matt try to settle in and live life as normally as possible…if normal means off-and-on electricity, no school, and rationed food supply. The sky becomes clouded with ash from volcanoes erupting across the U.S.
Winter sets in early, and life is anything but normal. Each day is harder than the last, and with food running low, Miranda doesn’t know how much more she can take.
What I Liked:
Between Ashfall and Life As We Knew It, I’m expecting the end of the world any minute now! This book was so realistic that I can definitely see it happening…and I can’t imagine what it will be like in real life.
I loved Miranda’s mom in this book. I hope that I’m as on top of things as she was when the world starts going downhill. She has a plan and is prepared to hit the supermarkets for anything they might need in the next days/weeks/months. She keeps her head throughout the book and has the perfect balance of hard love and being a softie.
I also loved the relationship between the family as a whole. The siblings obviously love and look out for each other. They all obviously love and respect their mom. Even though the parents are divorced, they get along wonderfully. It’s refreshing to see a family where there isn’t some awkward/awful family dynamic.
I thought the side story of Miranda and her best friends was very fitting. Before the disaster, Miranda and her two best friends are branching off in different directions: Sammi is chasing after boys, Megan is chasing religion, and Miranda is left not knowing exactly what to chase. The disaster seems to push Sammi and Megan even further along the roads they were headed down. Sammi turns to an older man to help her family survive while Megan follows her religious zealot reverend.
What I Didn’t Like:
I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like in this book! There could have been a little more action, but I’ve heard there is plenty in book two.
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I’m thinking of making an “It’s the end of the world as we know it…” display at school for post-apocalyptic books like this! I borrowed this book from my school library, but I don’t remember any of my students reading it this year. Since I hadn’t read it, I didn’t really book talk or push this book…but I will next year! I think my students will definitely like it. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series: The Dead and the Gone, which is told from the point of view of Alex who experiences the disaster in New York City, and This World We Live In, which brings together the survivors from the first two books.
When I was looking up information about the author, I found her blog and uncovered some great news…there will be a book 4! The Shade of the Moon just got picked up by a publisher and will hopefully be out next fall. You can read all about it (and even read the first chapter) in this blog post from Susan Beth Pfeffer.
I think I need to go watch The Day After Tomorrow now 🙂