Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

9780152061548_p0_v2_s1200x630Fiction — print. Harcourt, 2006. 336 pgs. Library copy.

It’s a sign of a good book — especially a good science fiction novel — when the reader begins to panic and worry about their location relative to the action in the book and how much food is in their pantry. Because Life As We Knew It focuses on the moon getting knocked closer Earth and the ramifications of a closer lunar force — changing of the tides causes massive flooding, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions — I began to analyze each of my homes.

I would survive in Massachusetts because I live way inland on a hill (and people didn’t seem to ransack colleges), but my parents wouldn’t do so hot in Montana because of their proximity to that volcano in Yellowstone. My brother, on the other hand, would apparently survive with the president since he attends school in Texas.

“As a test, he looked us up, but none of our names were on any of the lists. And that’s how we know we’re alive this Memorial Day.” (pg. 59)

Anyways, I thought Life As We Knew It presented a very realistic portrayal to the end of the world; the hysteria was there, but the reactions those “streetwise” people have are still a large part of the story. You have those who parish because their stupidity, those who believe this is God’s will, those who give up, and those who insist on continuing like life is normal. But it’s also written in a way that’s perfect for young adults and young readers; there’s a scientific reason behind the change, but Miranda presents it like a sixteen-year-old would — muddled and basic.

However, there were times when I just wanted Miranda to get on with the story, and I remember quite a few times where I sighed and said “I know you’re starving, but get on with the story!”. I also didn’t like how the moon was always visible. I realize it was knocked off kilter, but why was it knocked off its orbit? Additionally, when I finished Life As We Knew It I didn’t know it was the first book in a series and was quite disappointed with the end. The story just stopped with with a rushed ending that didn’t seem at all appropriate for the story, let alone offer enough closer for me.

I still think was a great young adult read, and one I would recommend to all who love dystopian/utopian/end-of-the-world books despite it’s ending. I’m excited to continue with this series with the second book, The Dead and the Gone.

Others’ Thoughts:


  1. Hi, thanks for the link to my review! I enjoyed your review but wanted to mention that it’s not the first book in a series. There’s another book called The Dead and the Gone about the same event from another person’s perspective, but it’s not a series. I haven’t read that one (and not sure I will) but I loved Life As We Knew It!


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