Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (5)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (2)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

29 / 51 states. 57% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 50 books. 52% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

13 / 26.2 miles. 50% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

68 / 104 books. 65% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

74 / 165 books. 45% done!
Wednesday, February 03, 2010

State of the World Got You Down? Life As We Knew It Proves It Could Be Worse ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

"Megan's right about my being a sinner. But she's wrong about hell. You don't have to wait until you're dead to get there" (196).

For as long as I can remember, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (The Mormons) has strongly encouraged its members to stockpile a year's supply of food. No one's saying the world's going to end tomorrow, but church leaders want everyone to be prepared to survive any kind of disaster, be it a hurricane, an earthquake, drought or just economic instability. This counsel has been preached for so long that members' reactions to it run the gamut - some hoard obsessively, others laugh off the advice, while most do their best to lay in a year's worth of supplies. I'm a middle-roader. I've got a decent stockpile. Up until the other day, I figured it would be good enough to tide my family over in case of an emergency. Then, I read Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It. Guess who's ready to buy Costco out of every can of food it has in stock?

When the book begins, it's May 7, an ordinary day. Through Miranda's diary entries, we learn that she's a typical teenaged girl - she's worried about her French grade, irritated with her best friend-turned religious zealot, obsessed with a local ice skater, and excited to get her driver's license. By May 18, ordinary no longer exists. Forget French and driving and ice skating, Miranda's now obsessed with one thing only: survival.

It's the asteroid that does it. Instead of just providing a spectacular lights display, it smacks the moon with enough force to slam it closer to Earth. "It was still our moon," says Miranda, "and it was still just a big dead rock in the sky, but it wasn't benign anymore. It was terrifying." The impact causes chaos all over the world - tsunamis wash away coastal cities, floods submerge whole states, earthquakes rumble across the globe, and long-dormant volcanoes erupt, clogging the air with ash. As food supplies run out, sickness spreads, gas climbs to $15 a gallon, and the death toll rises, staying alive becomes the only thing that matters. In Pennsylvania, Miranda's family is facing an early winter (it's 42 degrees in August) with no electricity, a few cans of food, and little hope of rescue. Can they survive? Is there even a reason to live anymore?

I keep comparing Life As We Knew It to Gone, which tells a similar story. I've been trying to figure out why the former freaked me out so much more than the latter. I finally decided that Gone's furiously-paced plot keeps things moving so fast there's little time to really consider the horror of the situation the author describes. Life As We Knew It, on the other hand, is a much quieter story. As Miranda pens ever more desperate entries in her diary, we feel her hunger, her anger, her hopelessness. We also see her courage, her strengths and her weaknesses. Considering our current economy and the devastation in Haiti, it's frightfully easy to imagine ourselves in Miranda's place.

Although the story's both bleak and disturbing, it's also undeniably compelling. It starts off a little rocky (the beginning's a teensy bit slow and the writing's bumpy), but Life As We Knew It quickly becomes the kind of story that just takes your breath away. The characters, the setting - everything - is so vivid that closing the book almost feels like waking up. That's how absorbing it is.

If you're already depressed over the state of the world, I recommend you skip this one, but if you're up for some tense, engrossing post-apocalyptic fiction or if you just need some motivation to gather your year's supply of food, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is the book for you.

Readalikes: Gone series by Michael Grant; also reminds me a little of The Diary of Anne Frank)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for language, mild sexual innuendo and mature themes

To the FTC, with love: This one came from the library.


  1. I loved this book and the next one in the series. Definitely compelling, but heartbreaking at the same time.

  2. I remember being all freaked out about my food storage after reading this! That is a powerful reaction, I think. I wonder what you will think of the next is rather different in tone/feeling.

  3. I just got Gone from the Library. I cant remember who recommend it to me. Have you reviewed it already?


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive