Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

When Miranda first hears the warnings that a meteor is headed on a collision path with the moon, they just sound like an excuse for extra homework assignments. But her disbelief turns to fear in a split second as the entire world witnesses a lunar impact that knocks the moon closer in orbit, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. Everything else in Miranda’s life fades away as supermarkets run out of food, gas goes up to more than ten dollars a gallon, and school is closed indefinitely. But what Miranda and her family don’t realize is that the worst is yet to come. Told in Miranda’s diary entries, this is a heart-pounding account of her struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar time.
(blurb from Amazon)
I've only ever heard good (and positively raving you-must-read-this-book) reports about Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It so I was pumped to finally have a copy to read. And you probably can't tell in the picture here, but the cover is textured, so you can feel the craters on the moon (like braille) -- so it feels cool too :)
The story of the-beginning-of-what-could-be-the-end-of-the-world is told by sixteen-year-old Miranda in diary format. Her voice is compelling in a way that makes you feel like you really are reading a teenage girls diary. It's a book you sink into - it doesn't open with a bang, and even when catastrophic events start occurring, it isn't overly dramatic. The story moves effortlessly from event to event - a snowball effect that seamlessly shows the deterioration of civilisation as we know it.
It's startlingly real and once I was into it, I didn't want to put it down.
I love all the characters - Miranda's family are all fully fleshed out and flawed in the best of ways. I love how Miranda and her mum fight a lot but also love each other fiercely. There's a chocolate chip scene with Miranda and her mum that I read wide-eyed, it really highlighted all the pressure that they were under.
The only part that niggled at me was the way Miranda's friend, Megan (a Christian), was portrayed. Megan and her minister were fanatical and extremist and made me cringe (and want to punch them in the head, in a friendly-Christian-kinda-way). I guess there's always going to be nutters out there... :)

Famine and earthquakes and tsunamis and floods and death and may sound like a depressing read, but ultimately, it really made me crazily grateful for the life I live now. It showed me the small things that we all take for granted. And how courageous humans can be when survival is constantly threatened.
I am a major fan of all things convenience and leisure :) - forever grateful to be born in Australia and not a developing nation. So, if a mega meteorite ever hits the moon in my lifetime, I hope I would be as awesome as Miranda. I'd kinda like to go wild chucking things with feverish abandon in my trolley at the supermarket*...but pretty much everything else would suck.
Life As We Knew It will definitely appeal to boys as well as girls and I give it a G rating for content (possibly PG for mature themes) - also suitable for Middle Grade readers, but adults will love it as well... like me :)
What would be the most self-indulgent thing you'd include in your trolley if it was your last shop ever?
Oh, and they ate a lot of cans of tuna**. Not my idea of a good time.
*I guess there's nothing stopping me from indulging in a frenzied moment in the supermarket right now?
**Was tuna even intended for human consumption?
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  1. Awesome review. At least I know my 11 year old can read it. Thanks, it sounds fascinating!

  2. Wow... what an awesome blog. I haven't read any of the books you have written about so far but have soaked up your descriptions... you write beautifully!! Anyway... if I was to do my last grocery shop ever there would definitely be some very expensive soft cheese involved... ;)

  3. I haven't heard much about this book. Thanks for reviewing it. It sounds awesome

  4. Hey, I like tuna! Sounds like a good read. didn't know you had a blog up, but I'll be following now. I post on my blog - sometimes. As for what I'd buy - hmm... it'd have to be something chocolate I think.

  5. If the world was ending, I most certainly would NOT be shopping. Though I suppose if I had to make my last shop ever, I'd buy lots of chocolate and Monsters and everything that I love or have always wanted to try, but is too expensive in everyday life.

  6. @ J S Wood - I think your son will like it - and the second one in the series is from a male POv :)

    @ Deb - thanks :) They're all YA books so far, which is most favourite demographic to read - so many good books in the YA section for ppl of all ages.

    @ Sage - hey :) Yeah, I hadn't heard much either, weird considering the third book has just been released...

    @ Angie - blog is brand new. A little scary to be blogging, haha. Got tired of always wanting to comment, get involved in the blogging scene...

    @ Horserider. Yeah, I'm an anti-shopper. But the made dash through a supermarket type thing really appeals to me. especially going carzy in the chocolate isle :)

  7. haha! not liking tuna! of course it's for humans! just not for freaks like our nomes :)


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