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Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It

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Life As We Knew It

4/5 (317 évaluations)
382 pages
5 heures
May 1, 2008


I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, 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 a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

May 1, 2008

À propos de l'auteur

Susan Beth Pfeffer wrote her first novel, Just Morgan, during her last semester at New York University. Since then, she has written over seventy novels for children and young adults, including Kid Power, Fantasy Summer, Starring Peter and Leigh, and The Friendship Pact, as well as the series Sebastian Sisters and Make Me a Star. Pfeffer’s books have won ten statewide young reader awards and the Buxtehude Bulle Award.

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Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer


May 7

Lisa is pregnant.

Dad called around 11 o’clock to let us know. Only Mom had already taken Jonny to his baseball practice and of course Matt isn’t home from college yet, so I was alone to get the big news.

The baby is due in December, Dad crowed, like he was the first guy in the history of the world with a younger second wife about to have a baby. Isn’t that great! You’re going to have a little brother or sister. Of course it’s too soon to tell what it’s going to be, but as soon as we know, we’ll tell you. I wouldn’t mind another daughter myself. The first one I had turned out so wonderfully. How’d you like a baby sister?

I had no idea. When did you find out? I asked.

Yesterday afternoon, Dad said. I would have called you right away but, well, we celebrated. You can understand that, can’t you, honey? A little private time for Lisa and me before letting the world know.

Of course, Daddy, I said. Has Lisa told her family?

First thing this morning, he replied. Her parents are thrilled. Their first grandchild. They’re coming for a couple of weeks in July, before you and Jonny visit.

Are you going to call Matt and tell him? I asked. Or do you want me to?

Oh no, I’ll call, Dad said. He’s busy studying for his finals. He’ll be glad for the interruption.

It’s great news, Dad, I said, because I knew I was supposed to. Be sure to tell Lisa how happy I am for her. And you, too. For both of you.

You tell her yourself, Dad said. Here she is.

Dad muffled the phone for a second so he could whisper something to Lisa and then she took the phone. Miranda, she said. Isn’t it exciting!

Very, I said. It’s wonderful news. I’m really happy for you and Dad.

I was thinking, she said. Well, I know it’s way too soon and I haven’t even discussed this with your father yet, but would you like to be the baby’s godmother? You don’t have to answer right away, but do think about it, all right?

That’s the problem I have with Lisa. Whenever I want to get mad at her, or just irritated because she really can be immensely irritating, she goes and does something nice. And then I can understand why Daddy married her.

Of course I’ll think about it, I said. You and Daddy think about it also.

We don’t have to give it any more thought, she said. You should see the glow on your father’s face. I don’t think he could be any happier.

I couldn’t, Dad said, and I could tell from his laughter that he’d grabbed the phone away from Lisa. Miranda, please say yes. It would mean so much to us for you to be the baby’s godmother.

So I said yes. I couldn’t exactly say no.

After that we chatted for a while. I told Dad about my last swim meet and how I was doing in school. Mom still hadn’t come back by the time I finally got off the phone, so I went online to see what’s new with figure skating. The hot topic at Brandon Erlich’s fan site is how good his chances are to win Olympic gold. Most people think not very, but a lot of us think he has a real shot at medaling and ice is slippery and you never know.

I think I’d like to take skating lessons again. I’ve missed it the past couple of years and besides, it’ll give me a chance to pick up news about Brandon. He isn’t being coached by Mrs. Daley anymore, but I bet she still hears stuff. And maybe Brandon’s mother would show up at the rink.

When Mom got in, I had to tell her about Lisa. She just said that was nice and that she knew the two of them wanted children. She and Dad have worked really hard on making it a good divorce. Matt says if they’d worked half as hard on their marriage, they’d still be married. I didn’t tell her about how I’m going to be the godmother (assuming Lisa doesn’t change her mind, which she’s more than capable of doing). I feel kind of bad that I’m going to be the godmother but no one said anything about Matt or Jonny being godfathers. Of course Lisa and Matt don’t get along very well, and maybe 13 is too young to be a godfather.

I hope Lisa changes her mind and I won’t have to deal with it.

May 8

Not the greatest Mother’s Day ever.

I’d told Mom a while ago that I’d make dinner and she decided to invite Mrs. Nesbitt. I can’t say I was surprised, but I figured if Mom was having Mrs. Nesbitt over I could ask Megan and her mom, too. Only when Jonny found out it was going to be me and Mom and Mrs. Nesbitt and Megan and Mrs. Wayne, he said that was too many females in one room for him and he was going to have dinner at Tim’s instead.

Mom always thinks it’s a good idea for Jonny to spend time with Tim and his family because there are three boys and Tim’s father is around a lot. She said if it was okay with Tim’s folks it was okay with her.

I called Megan and told her to bring her history notes with her and we’d study for the test together, and she agreed.

Which is why I’m so mad at her. If she hadn’t said yes, it would be one thing. But she did and I made enough meatloaf for five and salad and then right before I started setting the table, Megan called and said she had decided to stay on at her church and do something with the youth group. She’d gotten the dates mixed up. And her mother didn’t feel like coming without her, so it was going to be two less for Sunday dinner and she hoped I didn’t mind.

Well, I do mind. I mind because I’d been looking forward to all of us having dinner together and to studying with Megan. I also figured Mrs. Nesbitt and Mrs. Wayne would be good people for Mom to talk to about Lisa’s baby. Mom may not be best friends with Mrs. Wayne, but she’s funny and she would have gotten Mom laughing.

Megan is spending so much time at her church. She goes to services every Sunday and she never used to and she does stuff with the youth group at least twice a week and sometimes more and for all her talking about how she’s found God, I think all she’s found is Reverend Marshall. She talks about him like he’s a movie star. I even told her that once and she said that’s how I talk about Brandon, like it was the same thing, which it isn’t at all. Lots of people think Brandon is the best skater in the U.S. right now and besides it isn’t like I talk about him all the time and act like he’s my salvation.

Dinner was okay except I overcooked the meatloaf so it was a little dry. But Mrs. Nesbitt’s never been shy with the ketchup bottle. After a while I left her and Mom alone and I guess they talked about Lisa and the baby.

I wish it was summer already. I can’t wait to get my driver’s license.

I also wish I was through studying for my history exam. BORING!

But I’d better get back to it. Bad grades, no license. The Rules According to Mom.

May 11

Got a 92 on the history test. I should have done better.

Mom took Horton to the vet. He’s fine. I worry a little bit about him now that he’s ten. How long do cats live?

Sammi told me she’s going to the prom with Bob Patterson. I know I shouldn’t be jealous but I am, not because I like Bob (actually I think he’s kind of creepy), but because nobody asked me. Sometimes I think no one ever will. I’ll spend the rest of my life sitting in front of my computer, posting messages about Brandon Erlich and his future in figure skating.

I told Megan about Sammi and how she always gets dates and she said, Well, the reason is there’s always a man in Samantha, and after I got over being shocked I laughed. But then Megan spoiled it by becoming that new preachy Megan and she went on about how sex before marriage is a sin and how you shouldn’t date just to go out with guys but because you were serious about making a lifetime commitment.

I’m 16 years old. Let me get my learner’s permit first. Then I’ll worry about lifetime commitments.

May 12

I went to bed in a bad mood and today everything just went worse.

At lunch today, Megan told Sammi she was going to go to hell if she didn’t repent soon and Sammi got real mad (I don’t blame her) and yelled at Megan that she was a very spiritual person and didn’t need any lessons from Megan about what God wanted because she knew God wanted her to be happy and if God hadn’t wanted people to have sex He’d have made everybody amoebas.

I thought that was pretty funny, but Megan didn’t and the two of them really went at it.

I can’t remember the last time the three of us had lunch together and enjoyed ourselves. When Becky was still healthy the four of us did everything together, and then after Becky got sick, we grew even closer. Megan or Sammi or I visited Becky at home or at the hospital almost every day, and called or e-mailed the others to say how Becky was doing. I don’t think I could have made it through Becky’s funeral without them. But ever since then Sammi and Megan both changed. Sammi started dating all kinds of guys and Megan got involved with her church. They’ve both changed so much over the past year and I seem to be staying who I always was.

Here I am going into my junior year of high school and these are supposed to be the best years of my life and I’m just stuck.

But the real reason why I’m in a bad mood is because I got into a big fight with Mom.

It started after supper. Jonny had gone into his room to finish his homework and Mom and I were loading the dishwasher, and Mom told me she and Dr. Elliott were going out for dinner tomorrow night.

There was this quick moment when I was jealous of Mom because even she has a social life, but it passed pretty fast. I like Dr. Elliott and Mom hasn’t been involved with anybody in a while. Besides, it’s always smart to ask favors of Mom when she’s in a good mood. So I did.

Mom, can I take skating lessons?

Just for the summer? she asked.

And next year, too, I said. If I feel like continuing.

After your ankle healed, you said you didn’t want to skate again, Mom said.

The doctor said I shouldn’t even try jumping for three months, I said. And by then there wasn’t any point competing. So I stopped. But now I’d like to skate just for fun. I thought you like it that I do sports.

I do like it, Mom said, but the way she slammed the dishwasher closed let me know she didn’t like it nearly as much as I thought she did. But you have swimming and you were planning on trying out for the volleyball team in the fall. You can’t handle three sports. Two’s probably a stretch, especially if you want to work on the school paper.

So I’ll skate instead of volleyball, I said. Mom, I know my limitations. But I loved skating. I don’t understand why you don’t want me to.

If I thought the only reason was because you loved it, then we’d talk about it, Mom said. But skating lessons are very expensive and I can’t help thinking you only want them so you can gossip about Brandon Erlich on the message boards.

Mom, Brandon doesn’t even skate here anymore! I cried. He trains in California now.

But his parents still live here, Mom said. And you’d want to be coached by Mrs. Daley.

I don’t know if she’d even take me on, I said. It’s about the money, isn’t it? There’s money to send Jonny to baseball camp this summer, but not enough money for me to have skating lessons.

Mom turned 15 shades of red and then we really went at it. Mom yelled at me about money and responsibilities and I yelled at her about favorites and not loving me like she loves Matt and Jonny (which I know isn’t true, but Mom wasn’t right about me not understanding about money and responsibilities) and we got so loud Jonny left his bedroom to see what was going on.

Mom came into my room about an hour later and we both apologized. Mom said she’d think about the skating lessons. She said she thought volleyball would be better on my college applications since I could join a college squad if I was good enough.

She didn’t say I’d never be good enough at swimming for a college squad, which was actually kind of nice of her. I’m never going to be good enough for anything the way things are going.

And I don’t much like either of my two best friends these days.

All that and a math test tomorrow I can’t even pretend I studied enough for.

I wish I was in college already. I don’t see how I can make it through the next two weeks, let alone two more years of high school.

May 13

Friday the 13th. Well, things weren’t that bad.

The math test wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Mom said if I wanted, I could take skating lessons in July. August I’ll be spending with Dad, anyway. Then if I want to continue, we’ll talk about it again.

Megan had lunch with her church friends (I don’t like any of them) and Sammi had lunch with this week’s boyfriend, so I ended up eating with some of the swim team, which was a lot more fun than listening to Megan and Sammi yell about God. Dan, who’ll be captain next year, told me I had a really good crawl stroke and that if I worked at it, he could see me anchoring relays as soon as next season.

And I like Peter (he told Jonny and me to call him that; said Dr. Elliott was his name at the office). Some of the guys Mom’s dated have tried too hard with us, but Peter seemed pretty casual. Not with Mom, though. He actually stammered when he was talking with her and he stumbled and nearly fell. But he laughed at himself and said he wasn’t nearly that careless when he was operating on someone.

He asked if any of us had heard about the asteroid and the moon. Mom remembered something about it, because it was big news when the astronomers first announced it was going to happen. Some asteroid is going to hit the moon, and Peter heard on the radio driving over that it’s going to be visible in the night sky next week. I asked Mom if we could dig out Matt’s telescope and she said we should ask him, but she was sure it’d be okay.

Jonny and I didn’t even argue over the computer after Mom left. There was something I wanted to watch on TV from 8 to 9 and there was something he wanted to watch from 9 to 10, so that worked out really well. The fan board is still fighting over whether Brandon’ll need two quads to win the Olympics or whether he could win with just one.

It would be so amazing if Brandon won a gold. I bet we’d have a parade and everything.

It’s 11 already and Mom still isn’t home. I guess she and Peter are out admiring the moon.

May 15

Spent the weekend working on my English paper.

Dad called this morning.

Matt says we can use the telescope. He’ll be home in a couple of weeks. He swears he’ll teach me how to drive.

Jonny was named middle school player of the week.

May 16

All of a sudden this moon thing is the biggest thing ever. Either that or my teachers are as bored with schoolwork as we are.

I could understand it if I were taking astronomy. But French? Madame O’Brien made us talk about la lune the entire class. She’s making us write a composition about it due Friday, because Wednesday night we’re all going to be outside watching the asteroid hit the moon.

Sammi says every time they make a big fuss like that, for an eclipse or a meteor shower, it rains.

It isn’t just Madame O’Brien who’s hot for this asteroid. In English today we talked about the origin of the word lunar. Eddie made a joke about mooning, and Mr. Clifford was so excited about word origins, he didn’t even get mad. He talked about slang instead and metaphors that have to do with astronomy and he gave us a new assignment, too. We can write on any topic that has to do with the moon. Due Friday, of course.

I guess Ms. Hammish thinks this moon thing is historical, because in history that’s what we talked about. How people throughout history have looked at the moon and comets and eclipses. Actually, that was kind of interesting. I never really thought about how when I look at the moon it’s the same moon Shakespeare and Marie Antoinette and George Washington and Cleopatra looked at. Not to mention all those zillions of people I’ve never heard of. All those Homo sapiens and Neanderthals looked at the very same moon as me. It waxed and waned in their sky, too.

Of course Ms. Hammish wasn’t satisfied with inspiring us like that. She gave us an assignment, too. We can write either an essay about astronomy in the past and how it affected someone in history (like if they saw a comet and it scared them or prophesized something) or an article about what’s going to happen Wednesday night.

Either way it’s due on Friday.

I don’t understand teachers. You’d think they’d talk to each other and at least one of them would realize how unfair it is to give us all assignments due on Friday. I wouldn’t mind if I could figure out how to double up on them, write my history essay and translate it into French (which I could maybe do if my French was good enough, which it isn’t). But I don’t see how to do two for the price of one, so I think I’ll have to write three separate papers (and one in French) and hand them all in on Friday.

I’ll really be sick of the moon by then.

This moon thing is supposed to happen around 9:30 Wednesday night, and Mom was interested enough that we watched the news tonight. They said asteroids hit the moon pretty often, which is how the moon gets its craters, but this one is going to be the biggest asteroid ever to hit it and on a clear night you should be able to see the impact when it happens, maybe even with the naked eye but certainly with binoculars. They made it sound pretty dramatic, but I still don’t think it’s worth three homework assignments.

Mom watched the local news, too, which she almost never does because she says it’s too depressing, and they’re predicting a really nice night. Clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s. They said in New York people are organizing parties for Central Park and on apartment rooftops. I asked Mom if we could have a party, and she said no, but people on our road will probably be out watching and it’ll be like having a block party.

I don’t know how interesting it’s really going to be, but compared to everything else in my life, at least it’s something different.

May 17

I got an 82 on my math test. There were at least four questions I should have gotten right but made careless mistakes on.

I know for a fact that Sammi’s mother hasn’t looked at a test result of hers in years, and Megan’s mom has always worried about who Megan hangs out with, but I don’t think she cares all that much about her grades. I had to get stuck with the mother who works at home and has plenty of time to check things out and hover and demand to see tests.

We didn’t have a big fight over it (I did pass, after all), but Mom gave me one of her famous You Shouldn’t Be So Careless lectures, which I get at least once a week and sometimes more than that if the mood strikes her.

Mom said since I’m prone to carelessness, etc., it might be a good idea if I got a head start on all my moon papers, especially since they didn’t have to be about whatever is going to happen tomorrow.

She suggested writing about the 1969 moon landing, so I Googled it, and I found out lots of people didn’t really care that there were men walking on the moon. They all watched Star Trek (the original, old lousy-special-effects Beam Me Up Scotty Star Trek) and they were used to seeing Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock hopping around the universe so real people walking on the real moon wasn’t as exciting.

I think that’s funny. Men were walking on the moon for the very first time in history and people preferred watching Dr. McCoy say, He’s dead, Jim, for the thousandth time.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to turn that into a paper, so Mom and I talked about it, about how fiction can have more power than reality and how in 1969 there was a lot of cynicism because of Vietnam and the sixties and all that and there were people who didn’t think men were really on the moon and thought it was a hoax.

I think I’ll do my French paper on what happens tomorrow night, because my French isn’t good enough for stuff like hoaxes and cynicism. For English I’m focusing on how fiction can be more exciting than reality and for history I’ll focus on how people in the ’60s were cynical about what the government told them.

I told Mom that Sammi said it was sure to rain tomorrow night because it always rains when something important is supposed to happen in the sky and she laughed and said she had never known a more pessimistic 15-year-old.

I’ll be at Dad’s when Sammi turns 16. I have a feeling if she has a party, it’ll be all boys, so it probably won’t matter.

Around 10, something kind of odd happened. I was working on my paper and Mom was arguing with Jonny about going to bed, when the phone rang. We never get calls that late, so we all jumped. I got to the phone first and it was Matt.

Are you okay? I asked him. Matt never calls that late and he pretty much never calls on a weekday night.

I’m fine, he said. I just wanted to hear your voices.

I told Mom it was Matt. Jonny took the kitchen phone and she used the one in her bedroom. We told him what was going on (I complained about my three moon papers), and he told us about what he has left to do at school. Then he and Mom talked about the arrangements for him to get home.

This was all perfectly normal stuff, but it didn’t feel right. Jonny hung up first and then Mom, and I managed to get Matt to stay on a minute longer.

Are you sure everything’s okay? I asked him.

He paused for a moment. I have a funny feeling, he said. I guess it’s this moon business.

Matt’s always been the one to explain things to me. Mom had her writing and Jonny, and Dad was at work (for as long as he was here), so Matt was the one I turned to. I don’t think he’s psychic and maybe it’s just because he’s three years older than me, but whenever I’ve had a question he’s seemed to know the answer.

You don’t think anything is going to go wrong? I asked him. It’s not like the meteor is going to hit us. It’s just the moon.

I know, he said. But things might get a little crazy tomorrow night. Phone lines might get tied up, people calling each other. Sometimes people panic even if there’s no reason.

You really think people are going to panic? I asked. Around here, it just seems like an excuse for teachers to give us even more work.

Matt laughed. Teachers never need an excuse for that, he said. Anyway, I figured I’d find you all home tonight and it’d be a good chance for me to say hello.

I miss you, I said. I’m glad you’re coming home.

Me too, he said. He paused for a moment. Are you still keeping that journal of yours?

Yeah, I said.

Good, he said. Be sure to write about tomorrow. You’ll probably enjoy reading all the details twenty years from now.

You just want me to keep a record of all your clever sayings, I replied. For your many biographers.

Well, that, too, he said. See you in a few days.

When we hung up, I couldn’t figure out if I felt better because he’d called or worse. If Matt’s worried, then I’m worried.

But maybe all Matt is worried about is getting through his papers and exams.

May 18

Sometimes when Mom is getting ready to write a book she says she doesn’t know where to start, that the ending is so clear to her that the beginning doesn’t seem important anymore. I feel that way now only I don’t know what the ending is, not even what the ending is tonight. We’ve been trying to get Dad on his land line and cell phone for hours and all we get are the kind of rapid-paced busy signals that mean the circuits are tied up. I don’t know how much longer Mom’ll keep trying or whether we’ll talk to him before I fall asleep. If I fall asleep.

This morning seems like a million years ago. I remember seeing the moon in the sunrise sky. It was a half moon, but it was clearly visible and I looked at it and thought about how tonight the meteor was going to hit it and how exciting that would be.

But it wasn’t like we talked about it on the bus going to school. Sammi was complaining about the dress code for the prom, nothing strapless, nothing too short, and how she wanted a dress she could wear when she went clubbing.

Megan got on the bus with some of her church friends and they sat together. Maybe they talked about the meteor, but I think they just prayed. They do that on the bus sometimes or read Bible verses.

The whole school day was just normal.

I remember being bored in French class.

I stayed for swim practice after school, and then Mom picked me up. She said she’d invited Mrs. Nesbitt to watch the meteor along with us but Mrs. Nesbitt had said she’d be more comfortable watching at home. So it was just going to be Jonny and Mom and me for the big event. That’s what she called it: the big event.

She also told me to finish my homework early so we could make a party of it after supper. So that’s what I did. I finished two of my moon assignments and did my math homework and then we ate supper and watched CNN until around 8:30.

All CNN talked about was the moon. They had a bunch of astronomers on and you could see how excited they were.

Maybe after I’m through playing second for the Yankees, I’ll be an astronomer, Jonny said.

I’d been thinking the exact same thing (well, not about playing second for the Yankees). The astronomers looked like they loved what they were doing. You could see how excited they were that this asteroid was going to make a direct hit on the moon. They had charts and computer projections and graphics, but basically they looked like big kids at Christmas.

Mom had gotten out Matt’s telescope and she’d found the really good pair of binoculars that had somehow hidden themselves last summer. She’d even baked chocolate chip cookies for the event, so we carried a plate out and napkins. We decided to watch from the road, since we figured we’d have a better view from up front. Mom and I brought out lawn chairs, but Jonny decided to use the telescope. We didn’t know exactly how long the hit was going to take or if there’d be something exciting to see afterward.

It seemed like everyone on the road was out tonight. Some of the people were on their decks having late barbecues, but most everyone else was in front of their houses, like we were. The only one I didn’t see was Mr. Hopkins, but I could tell from the glow in his living room that

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Ce que les gens pensent de Life As We Knew It

317 évaluations / 259 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (4/5)
    It was an interesting book. A young adult book. It was not a typical apocalypse book. It really made me think about daily life after a major disaster.
  • (5/5)
    This book has been one I have loved for years. I have book talked this to middle through high school and have never had a unhappy reader, most have gone on to finish the series. I read this book the first time in early spring when the little leaves on the trees are a neon green color, I was reading along very intent on the book when I took a minute and looked out the window and was startled by the fact it was a beautiful spring day, unlike the very dark gray day I had just left in the book. I think that if you can get that into a book the author sure knows what they are doing!
  • (4/5)
    Never before have I been so tempted to stock up on canned vegetables.I scoped out the reviews on Amazon.com and there was a big debate on whether or not it was possible for the moon to be shoved closer to the earth via a meteor. Who cares? It's science fiction for a reason.What I loved most about this book is that Miranda was a normal teenage girl who thought about ice skating and celebrity crushes and boyfriends and who sometimes didn't like her family all that much. And even when the world became insanely not normal, she kept a little of that teenage girl. But also, I liked watching her become stronger and more mature and I enjoyed how her family grew closer in a crisis.Overall, it was fascinating to read and since it was written in diary style, it was easy to breeze through!
  • (3/5)
    The plot of this is slightly unsettling. It's scary to think of something like this really happening and having to survive. It wasn't a fantastic read, but it does make you want to read the next two books just to see what happens to Miranda, her family, and the rest of the world.
  • (4/5)
    When an asteroid is going to hit the moon, nobody took much notice because it wasn't supposed to do much - but, in fact, the asteroid was dense and knocked the moon off course, bringing it closer to earth. Within hours, the tides are wreaking havoc with tsunamis across the world, the electricity is starting to fail, and Miranda and her family find themselves in survival mode.My reading tends more to the fantasy and teen dystopia side of science fiction, so this post-apocalyptic tale was a different sort of read for me and reminded me a bit of Alas, Babylon. Except, instead of a nuclear war that might have been preventable, we see the aftermath of a natural event that was absolutely no one's fault. I would have to read up on the science behind it, but I couldn't help but wonder if the fallout of one thing after another was an accurate "what could be" or a perfect storm of terrible events that have almost no chance of happening. While I liked Miranda for the most part and enjoyed her growth as she's forced to do things she never would have thought herself capable of, I questioned whether her family's complete isolation was necessary or even beneficial. In a way, the book raised more questions for me than it answered and it's hard to call such a bleak tale enjoyable, though there is some hope throughout, since it was such difficult reading. I'm not sorry I read it, but would only guardedly recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting premise, skillfully handled. It's YA, but adults will enjoy it, too.
  • (5/5)
    I listened to this in audiobook form and thought it was great. Engaging, interesting and the story is sticking with me even now several weeks later.
  • (5/5)
    Life as we Know centers around the life of a family after a catastrophe ,as told by the 16 year old narrator Miranda, in diary format. After a worldwide catasptrophe, Miranda and her family must learn to survive in a drastically changed world. Gas prices rise, food is scare, family and friends are dead.With everything changing around them Miranda and her family struggle to stay together.The main protagonist matures nicely in the book from a slightly pampered sixteen year old to more mature and decisive character.Miranda intially pines for the creature comforts lost but eventually realizes that they are all in a struggle for survival. Life as We Knew It Is not just a look at how things change after catatsrophe but, also a look at how people change.Life As We Knew It is the first book in the last survivor's series.This book is a perfect book for readers that like post-apocalyptical reads with great writing, the main character will also be very relateable to many readers.Age group: 13 and upContent: a refernce to somone letting her teenage daughter go off with a grown man, a reference to a charcter committing suicide, references to several people dying in disasters, some characters consume wine at a dinner, also a reference to teenage pregnancy.
  • (4/5)
    Fifteen-year-old Miranda is a teenager with a lot on her plate. Her diary entries record how her best friends are fighting, her father’s new wife is pregnant and after a serious injury she is arguing with her mother about whether she can return to ice skating. The news of a large asteroid scheduled to hit the Moon is a welcome distraction with people everywhere pulling up deckchairs to watch the spectacle. The consequences of the asteroid’s impact, however, are unforseen and catastrophic. Worldwide disasters hit when the Moon is knocked out of orbit and the Earth’s environmental controls are altered. Millions are killed when tidal waves obliterate coastal cities, thunderstorms rampage across the earth and volcanic eruptions cause a nuclear-type winter. Miranda’s mother has stocked up on canned goods, vitamin pills and other supplies but gas is rationed and the price skyrockets to $35 for the three gallons allowed per vehicle. Life goes on, but how long can Miranda and her family survive? Their food supply is dwindling, the water supply is in doubt, there is no electricity, no daylight and freezing temperatures. To make matters worse, disease rampages throughout the starving population, vigilantes make going out alone unsafe and survival seems hopeless. This science fiction novel for teens is the first in the "Moon Crash Trilogy". Family dynamics between Miranda, her mother and two brothers, during a prolonged crisis situation are deeply explored. A well written book that had me nervously looking at how much canned food is in my pantry!
  • (4/5)
    Where where these books when I was a kid?
  • (5/5)
    this is my favorite book from all the ones i read :D
  • (4/5)
    I love post apocalyptic novels. This one was pretty basic.
  • (4/5)
    The series goes exponentially downhill after this (great) first book.
  • (4/5)
    At first I was a little put off because Miranda doesn't sound 16, she sounds 12. I don't like reading middle grade so that was a bit annoying. But the story pulled me in after a bit and she also starts acting more mature. The premise for the story is great and the written is pretty good.
  • (5/5)
    I could not put this book down either! At first I didn’t think I was going to like Miranda, but she really grew on me and as a character as well. I loved how realistic every situation in this book was. I was fascinated by everything. Definitely looking forward to more!
  • (3/5)
    Plot devices aside, this was an effective diary of a young girl during the apocalypse. At first the young voice of the narrator was grating, especially in rendering her father's voice, but then I got used to it and it reflected the character well.
  • (4/5)
    At first I didn't like the book because I thought the characters were doing everything all wrong. Then I realized that they were probably reacting the way most people would who are ignorant of basic skills and have never prepared for emergencies or natural disasters. If anything, I hope this book served as a wake up call to those who think nothing bad will ever happen to them and that the government and local infrastructure will always provide whatever they need.

    I don't know if anyone has done this yet but I want to list the mistakes the characters made (in my opinion).

    1. Expecting the government to provide resources in times of crisis- take a look at most recent disasters and the time it takes for a response team to arrive with minimal supplies. People are recommended to have a 72 hour kit because that is the average time you might need to survive before help arrives. A 72 hour kit consists of food, water, first aid and clothes enough for 72 hours- and usually stored In a portable container. A 72 hour kit wouldn't have helped for very long but had the people in the community had that mindset, maybe they would have been quicker to organize as a town and start planning for survival after the disasters started occurring. Some cities and towns have an Emergency Response team with plans in place for emergencies and disasters. Maybe this is why in the second book the characters are able to get help from the Catholic church for quite a long time.

    2. Gardening- oh dear, this made me cringe! Don't harvest everything simply because it's cold and dark! The root plants could have stayed In the ground, especially if they wanted to be able to have a garden year after year. Carrots will produce seeds the second year. Don't eat all the potatoes- save some to plant the next year. Cover the remaining plants with sheets of plastic to make a basic green house and certain greens will continue to grow through the cold months. Even dig some of the plants up and attempt to keep them alive in the house. I get that the sky was darkened by volcanic ash bit they weren't walking around in the dark. The garden plants would have been stunted but I bet they could have kept things alive if they had tried. We had an earlier frost than I expected, and my fall crops didn't produce, but they are still alive under a layer of leaves and In the spring, I'll clear away the leaves and get some early peas.

    3. Bread- commercial yeast won't last forever but you can feed it for quite a while before it dies and one packet can actually produce enough yeast for multiple loaves of bread. But really it doesn't matter because anyone can make their own yeast. Yeast is all around us in the air. You simply mix a little flour and water and set it out in a warm place and see what wild yeast lands in it and starts growing. Not all yeast tastes great but it's a simple matter of trial and error. That is why San Fransisco sourdough is what it is- a wild yeast originating in San Fransisco. Wild yeast does take longer to rise but is more nutritious as a result.

    4. What is up with their obsession with washing themselves and their clothes? Use a bucket and a toilet plunger when it's necessary. But really! I think if I was lucky to have a well but it wasn't raining, I would not be using water for clothes and I'd be taking sponge baths once or twice a week.

    That's all I can think of for the moment. I'll update my list as I think of more.

    One final note- I agree with everyone else who said this book made them hungry and want to make a huge stockpiling trip to the store.
  • (5/5)
    Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a book that sounded so intriguing and it certainly was! A giant asteroid hits the moon from the dark side ( I think) and it had a greater force than expected and pushes the moon out of it's normal orbit, path, rotation, and closer to Earth!!! This book follows one family before and after as everything goes to h#ll right away as tidal waves surge again and again, then more and more disaster happen due to the different forced of the gravitational pull. Other things happen too! Very thrilling and exciting book! Glad I found it! Who knew disasters could be so entertaining, lol, as long as it's in a book!
  • (3/5)
    I found this topic a little scary as I've never heard anyone use it before. I could see this happening and what would happen? What would we do? The writer did a good job of making you care for the family and want to know if they will survive. The story was very isolating which it should be because this family becomes so isolated in their house 4 miles from town. They have no clue what is going on in the world even in their own small town and the author really isolates the reader. I'm looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.
  • (4/5)
    This review first appeared on One Curvy BloggerSince I finished this book in 48 hours, I can guarantee Life As We Knew It has that un-put-down-able quality that we all look for in a novel. While this one unearthed a mixed bag of emotions for me, I would be lying if I said the writing was anything but superb. Thankfully, I picked up the second book in the same library sale that I bought this one and both of them for a buck total! And you can bet my book hoarding obsession that I will be reading the second story just as soon as I can cram it in my daunting to-read schedule.THE WRITINGIf you’ve seen other reviews of Life As We Knew It floating about the book community, you’ve probably realized that the book was written in the style of diary entries, from the prospective of sixteen-year-old Miranda. Since it is written in such a subjective point of view, the characters could be described as one dimension, but I disagree. Sure I’m introduced characters colored by the opinions of a teenager who has a pretty damn good excuse to be mad at the world, but Pfeffer (the hardest last name you will ever spell) delivered complex enough characters to entertain me and connect with as a reader. I also liked that the diary entries reminded me a lot of reading The Diary of Ann Frank in the seventh grade. I loved the experience and cannot wait to see what else this author has in store for me.THE STORYIf you’re like me and love an apocalypse-themed novel, you know most of them weren’t written to be light and fluffy reads (unless they are romance novels disguised as apocalypse themed – that’s a different genre altogether) so I expected some less-than-pleasant emotions to run high. I didn’t expect that I would grow so connected to these characters that it was excruciatingly tough to read about their train-wreck of an existence after the meteor alters the moon’s gravitational pull in such a simple way as to hit it at the wrong angle and tilt the moon just a bit closer to the Earth than necessary.All the sudden (but at a slower pace than usual when it comes to apocalypse themes fiction) tsunamis are eating away at every coastline in America and all over the world. Smaller countries surrounded by ocean are disappearing, benign volcanoes are suddenly forced into erupting. Some they didn’t even know existed made an appearance thanks to the moon’s stronger-than-normal gravitational pull. People are dying by the thousands and it seems so real and so possible that this could happen, it gave me chills to read about … I think I even dreamed about it last night.The only thing that bothered me in the way of world building is that it was purposely sketchy. What I mean is, because of all the natural disasters cropping up on every inch of the Earth’s surface, it makes it kind of difficult for the characters to find reputable information. Nobody has any real facts – except that people are dying and everything is chaos. The world is still spinning, but not in the same way it has for thousands of years – or ever again. You expect the power and gas shortages and the food to disappear rapidly, but you’d expect at least one person to know what the hell is going on and how to fix it – right? I mean, every time I read a zombie story, there is either someone at fault or someone working behind the scenes to find a cure, even if nobody knows why it happens, some one knows something, but not in Life As We Knew It. And besides … How do you find a cure for the moon tilting closer to Earth? You don’t.Generally, I like my endings tidy and happy or at least some closure to satisfy me. Life As We Know It doesn’t have the satisfaction of a tidy ending, no matter how thankful I am that it ended the way it did. So while I cried tears of relief for ending the way it did (you had to be there, quit laughing at me!), I still had a knot in my stomach and I still had a couple unanswered questions that will undoubtedly never be answered in the next book. And you guys know how I like my questions answered!THE CHARACTERSMy tug-of-war feelings for the main characters was my biggest problem with this book. The narrator is a 16-year-old girl stuck in the middle of one older brother and one younger brother, with another sibling on the way from her dad’s new wife. She reminds me a lot of myself – probably why even though I was hard on her and could see why other readers hated her, I could understand her.For one, she is without a doubt a teenager and therefore ruled by her emotions, not logic. She knows the world will never be the same, but she was in mega denial that everything will be back to normal next year. So did she come off as whiny and spoiled in some parts? Hell, yes! She had a lot of moments that I wanted to deck her, however when I think back to my own awful teenage days (I’m saying this as a borderline 20-year-old, but I’m still a teen until September 13th), I wasn’t always so fun to be around. In fact, there are days my family still has to warn people ahead of time when to stay out of the line of fire. Factor in that Miranda is having to make some god awful choices in the name of survival, well … I don’t hate her for being a whiny brat half the time. Though I wish I could have smacked her around a little!I had a harder time respecting Miranda’s parents, to be honest. One of them doesn’t even stick around to help raise them in the midst of an apocalypse and the other would sacrifice the others to save just one. Maybe I can’t judge because I’m not a mom, but you’d think for parents who claim they love their kids equally they would fight to keep them all living! I know my mom would.THE ENDYou guys were so, so right. This book really is one of a kind, even more so than I expected – especially since it was written in 2006, before the dystopian/apocalypse craze! I had a few complaints (mainly about the characters) but I enjoyed myself and would read it again if I had the time and stomach lining to spare. Everybody should try this series, especially those science fiction fans out there!
  • (4/5)
    Originally posted at The Wandering Fangirl. I really enjoyed Life as We Knew It for the unique take on the apocalypse. It’s kind of terrifying to think of the moon moving closer (I didn’t question the science, I just went with it) and destroying all normalcy in the weather. From tides that are tidal waves to volcanoes and early winters, it’s hard to imagine how I would survive in that new world. Would I be as smart as Miranda’s mother was to gather food at first? Would I have the strength of mind and character to stay as strong as Miranda did during the few months her diary covers? It’s insane.The diary format made this a simple, engaging, interesting read, and I cared for Miranda and her family so deeply. She goes through just about every emotion under the sun; from fear and love for her family, to a budding crush when she can manage it, to determination and frustration and despair. But even with the end of the world closing in around them, it’s the moments Miranda’s family can find to remember they love each other and are grateful to be together that are so worth it. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
  • (5/5)
    Life As We Knew It is a book that I first discovered on LibraryThing. I already have a great interest in post-apocalyptic fiction, young adult or otherwise, and the cover is great. (Yeah, I'm sorta a sucker for a good cover.) Miranda is a normal sixteen-year-old girl living in Pennsylvania who keeps a normal journal--pouring into it her frustrations and secrets. Family drama, falling outs with friends, boy troubles, complaints about school and homework, everything that you would expect to find in it. But then, disaster strikes. A large meteor slams into the moon with enough force to change its orbit, thereby changing life as we know it. Tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, bizarre weather, deadly illnesses, and drastic climate change result. Suddenly, prom isn't nearly as important now as Miranda and her family must struggle to survive in a civilization that's collapsing and a world that's coming to an end. I'm not entirely sure how plausible the initial scenarios is (in fact, I'm pretty sure that it's not), but everything else I am absolutely convinced could and probably would happen. Miranda's voice is completely believable--this really is what I would expect her diary to be like, trying to live through such an event. However, I didn't quite understand some of the formatting choices used. In addition to the individual journal entries, the book was also divided into chapters as well as four seasons. I liked the addition of the seasons, but didn't really see the point of using chapters. I really wish that the individual entries had included days of the week as opposed to only the date. The only thing that really detracted from the diary format, which was wonderfully effective, was the use of word-for-word dialogue. Although Life As We Knew It is a fairly typical post-apocalyptic survival tale, it is exceptionally well done. And though it made me extremely paranoid (I have a strong urge to start hoarding canned food right now, and am very grateful for everything that I do have) it is well-balanced and not too depressing. It is entirely appropriate for younger and older readers alike. I tore through it pretty quickly. I recently discovered that a sequel or companion novel has been written called The Dead and the Gone which takes place in New York City, one of the harder hit areas. I look forward to finding a copy and reading about the event form an entirely different perspective.Experiments in Reading
  • (5/5)
    This book was an accidental but glorious find. I'm always on the look-out for women writing SF, and finding a woman writing YA-SF was just too good to be true. I grabbed the book as soon as I was able, and I must say, I loved it. In some ways, Pfeffer tested the limits of my disbelief, but overall, it's a beautiful read about family, love, and survival, written with hope instead of depression.The premise: a meteor hits the moon and knocks its orbit closer to Earth. This makes everything go to hell: tidal waves, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes. It feels like the world is ending, and it just might be. Miranda and her family do whatever it takes to survive the coming days. The book's almost The Road for teen readers, only this book isn't about a journey through nuclear winter, it's about the struggle to stay home, the struggle to take care of the people you love.The full review, which does include spoilers, may be found at my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)REVIEW: Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW ITHappy Reading! :)
  • (5/5)
    I haven't forgotten this book since I finished it a year ago. It was honest, gripping, & sensitive in a very raw way. It came to life in my imagination & kept me there. Sad at times, but so well written.
  • (3/5)
    This book is good because it seems like realistic dystopian and the narrator's perspective is unique. After reading I immediately wanted to stock up on canned goods. It's that realistic and frightening.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book for SOS Bingo and I am thrilled with finding this book along with many more this round. I don't know if I would have read this book on my own. I had received this book from a friend of my dad's after she had passed. Her daughter tried to sell the books that her mother had and what ever was left she let me have.Life as we Knew it is told by a girl Miranda after the moon is knocked out of orbit and the world starts to change. The way this story was told really kept me reading. I never felt like I was lost or confused. Miranda lives with her mother, younger brother Johnny and an older brother Matt when he comes home from college. The changes and troubles the family have to endure really make you think about all that we have. This story made me think about times that we lose electric for a few hours. It also made me think about Super Storm Sandy and how it affected so many people.This book made me think about how strong people are when they are under this type of challenge.
  • (3/5)
    Told through a series of diary entries by a teenage girl, this book chronicles a family's struggle to survive after the collapse of modern society. The characters were portrayed honestly, warts and all so to speak, and their reactions to the situations they face was realistic. My only gripe is that while I'm sure the premise is scientifically sound (certainly the Earth would suffer major effects if the Moon felt an impact so great that it's knocked out of its normal orbit), the way the author gets to that result is really unrealistic. A meteor is pelting its way across the sky to collide with the Moon and every scientist on Earth miscalculates the object's mass and trajectory? No one suspects that doom is impending, not even a little? C'mon, people freak out when a tiny comet streaks by. But, I get it, a big aspect of the story is that everyone, including the government, was completely unprepared and unequipped to handle the problem - so without every scientist on Earth being totally blind-sided, that plot point would have been lost.
  • (3/5)
    This novel gives account to the worldwide catastrophe that begins after a meteor hits the moon. Miranda and her family in rural Pennsylvania are struggling, as everyone is, for survival. Written in the form of Miranda's diary, the book details the family's struggles with staying warm, fed, and alive through the natural disasters, sickness, and other trials faced. Loyalty to family is one thing they have; will it be enough? Lexile: 770AR BL: 4.7Recommended for: teens, tweens
  • (1/5)
    Couldn't stand the writing style. The voice was too insipid. I couldn't give 2 fucks about the main character. Also. God.
  • (4/5)
    I did like this book, I would have liked to hear more about what happened outside of their world.