Life As We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer

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life as we knew it

I have previously shared that I am a big fan of dystopian novels those stories like “The Hunger Games,” “Uglies,” or “The Giver,” where a major event has transformed the world (like a war or a pandemic) and a new society emerges. The series I am talking about belongs to this genre, but it stands out because it shows our familiar world crumbling, instead of just focusing on the new society built afterwards.

In the end, the story is about the moon getting struck by a huge asteroid, which pushes it closer to Earth. It is close enough that it messes up the ocean tides, alters the weather patterns significantly, and leads to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, giant waves, and volcanic eruptions all over the planet. As you might guess, it is not exactly a happy scenario.

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT BY SUSAN BETH PFEFFER

The first book, “Life As We Knew It,” is a diary by a young girl named Miranda. She and her family live in a small town in Pennsylvania. They manage to get by when food becomes scarce because her mom wisely bought a lot of canned and dry foods early on.

Soon, they lose heat and power, which only comes back on for a short time every few weeks. School stops suddenly, and Miranda’s life changes from hanging out with friends and playing sports to washing clothes by hand, staying in one room with her family to stay warm, and wondering about her future possibilities like college, dating, or working.

The second book, “The Dead and the Gone,” is told by Alex, a boy in New York City. I read this one first about a year ago. It happens at the same time as the first book. When the disaster strikes, Alex’s dad is abroad, and his mom is at work. After not hearing from them for months, Alex has to take care of his two younger sisters alone.

`Life in the city is very hard. Illness spreads fast among the many people, there are few natural resources, and there are many deaths. Compared to this, “Life As We Knew It” seems almost hopeful.`

The third book, “This World We Live In,” is supposed to be the last in the series and comes out in early April. In this book, Alex (he survives the second book) goes to Pennsylvania to stay with Miranda’s family (she survives the first book), and they start a romantic relationship.

After the sadness of the first two books, a little romance was welcome. However, even love does not change the harsh reality that food is still very hard to find, it could run out any time, families still need care, and the future is uncertain for everyone, even those who have lasted more than a year since the disaster.

What is really frightening about this book is that the problem cannot be fixed. Unlike “The Giver,” where Jonas might find different communities, or “The Hunger Games,” where Katniss tries to overthrow the government, there is no way to move the moon back to where it was. The only choice is to adapt to the new world, which is a lasting change.

I really appreciate Susan Beth Pfeffer for not just trying to shock readers. Yes, awful things occur in all three books, but the characters handle them in ways that seem very true to life. For example, even when everything is going wrong, Miranda still ends up arguing with her mom. Moreover, Alex, who really cares about his younger sisters, sometimes gets so upset about losing his hopes for the future that he gets angry with them.

“Life As We Knew It” is a book that might make you want to stock up on canned food. It is sad, showing the world almost ending, people around you suffering and dying, and leaving you to wonder if you are next. However, it also shows how strong people are, how they come together in tough times, and how thankful you can be for something as simple as a can of pineapple when you are very hungry.

P.S. I listened to the first two books of the Last Survivors series. Some people did not like how Miranda’s book was read, but I did not mind. Actually, I enjoyed it so much that I looked for reasons to keep listening (I have never done my laundry so well). 

But I did not enjoy “The Dead and the Gone” as much, and it was only the intense story that kept me from stopping. Honestly, I would recommend reading the book instead of listening to it.

FAQs

What is the series about? 

The “Life As We Knew It” series tells the story of a world changed by a meteor hitting the moon. It follows a girl named Miranda and her family as they try to survive in a world with crazy weather, less food, and lots of danger.

How many books are in the series? 

There are four books in the series: “Life As We Knew It,” “The Dead and the Gone,” “This World We Live In,” and “The Shade of the Moon”.

What genre does the series belong to? 

The series is a mix of Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction, and Post-Apocalyptic genres.

Who is the main character? 

The main character is a teenage girl named Miranda who writes about her life and survival in her diary.

Can the books be read out of order? 

While each book can stand on its own, it’s best to read them in order to get the full story.

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