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Life As We Knew It


Life As We Knew It

Everything was normal until the moon was knocked out of orbit.

Asteroids hit the moon all the time, but the one scheduled to hit at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18 is one of the largest ones yet. To Miranda, the impending asteroid can only mean one thing: more homework. More homework on top of her best friends fighting, her dad's newly pregnant wife, and the fight with her mother over whether or not she can return to ice skating after a serious injury. With all of this on her mind, Miranda goes outside with her family to watch the asteroid hit the moon.

This asteroid however creates worldwide disasters. The moon is responsible for many of Earth's environmental controls, and when the orbit of the moon changes, so does the environment. Tidal waves destroy coastal cities, killing millions of people. Thunderstorms knock out the electricity in Miranda's school. None of it seems quite real to Miranda, even when her mother sends her and her brothers on a grocery run to buy all the canned soup, aspirin, vitamin pills and toilet paper they possibly can. Gas climbs to $5 a gallon, then $7, and pretty soon it's $35 for three gallons, and you can only get three gallons at a time.

Throughout the nuclear winter caused by volcanic eruptions, Miranda tries to live life as normally as possible. She goes to the pond to ice skate for as long as she can breathe. She visits her friends, who are not the same people they were before the disaster. The question is, how long can Miranda and her family survive with minimal water, a dwindling food supply, no heat or electricity, and subzero temperatures?

When so many people are giving up hope, starving, and dying of diseases we rarely get, Miranda is still clinging to normality. She still wants to date Dan, her swimming teammate, and she fights with her mother about her father and brothers. During this time of disaster, though, Miranda's best qualities come to light. Her determination helps her family survive a bout of deadly flu. Even though she fights with her mother, Miranda never gives up on loving her. Miranda might not know how long they will survive, but she does know that by working together they stand a chance.

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT is one of the year's best books. You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails.


Reviewed by Carlie Webber on October 18, 2011

Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 0152058265
  • ISBN-13: 9780152058265