Life As We Knew It Book by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is the first book in the Last Survivors series. The series is also known as the Moon Crash trilogy. The books are an apocalyptic science fiction series for young adults, though adults can be just as enthralled by them.
The book is in a diary style format written by Miranda, an average teenage girl living in Howell, PA. In the beginning of the story Miranda talks about normal things going on with her family, school, and her friends. Things don’t stay normal for long, though.
Everyone in her town is abuzz with the news that a meteor is going to hit the moon. Little did anyone suspect that the collision would change their lives forever.
Instead of hitting the moon and just creating a new crater, the meteor tilts the moon off its axis and knocks it closer in orbit to the earth.
The change in the moon sets off a chain of terrible reactions on the earth. Massive waves begin pummeling the coasts worldwide. Entire cities become submerged underwater. Hundreds of thousands of people die from the flooding.
A massive lightning storm knocks out the power forcing everyone in Miranda’s school to cower in the hallway. Then the earthquakes and volcano eruptions increase dramatically because of the stronger pull of gravity from the moon. The volcanic ash enters the atmosphere causing the sky to be gray and blocking out the sun.
Food Becomes Scarce
The day after the moon crash, Miranda’s mother picks her and her brother Jonny up from school. She takes them and Mrs. Nesbitt, a family friend, to the grocery store. Because of the crash and power outages, the grocery store is a madhouse. By the time they are done, the grocery store shelves are empty.
Miranda and her family grab cart after cart of groceries. They have enough food to last them for awhile if they are careful. Matt, Miranda’s older brother comes home from college, so he is also eating their rations.
Conditions become worse and worse. Utility service becomes a luxury. More and more of the time the town must make do with no electricity. Businesses, especially restaurants, are boarded up and closed indefinitely. Food supplies are low. Even the mail service is no longer dependable.
People’s behavior becomes more desperate as well. Many of Miranda’s friends leave town looking for a place where life is better, if that even exists. Another of her friends is giving away her already meager food portions. Families keep more to themselves to protect what little they have. Even the hospital hires armed guards.
Cold weather comes earlier because of the layer of ash blocking out the sun. So there is no hope of growing more food. When the snow begins, and the blizzard is deep enough to keep them homebound possibly all winter, Miranda and her family live in fear of what new disaster may come next.
Book Trailer for the Series
Once I began reading the book, I was so engrossed I felt as if I were living in the house with Miranda surviving on next to nothing to eat. It is a book that is hard to put down. I had to keep reading because I had to know what would happen next.
There are incredibly sad moments, but they are tempered with the idea that the human spirit can endure much before breaking.
The story is very plausible. It could happen tomorrow. Any other major world catastrophe could set off the same chain of events seen in the book. The characters in the book are very relatable. They react in a believable way.
Life As We Knew It will have you thinking about how prepared you are for an emergency. It will have you thinking about survival kits and back up sources of heat. You will be forming your own survival plan as you read.
Be a Survivor
- How to Survive the End of the World
The world more than likely will not end in 2012. BUT being prepared for the worst case scenario is always a good idea. Taking the time to form an emergency plan with your family and put together a survival kit could literally save your life one day.
End of the World Poll
What would you miss most if life as we knew it came to an end?
Howell, PA, modern times
- Miranda Evans – narrator, 16 year old, likes swimming and skating
- Laura Evans – Miranda’s mother, divorced from Miranda’s dad, writer
- Jonny Evans – Miranda’s younger brother, 13 year old, loves baseball
- Matt Evans – Miranda’s older brother, attended college at Cornell
- Hal – Miranda’s dad, remarried to Lisa, expecting another child, lives in Springfield
- Lisa – Miranda’s stepmom, pregnant
- Horton – family cat, 10 years old, likes Jonny best
- Mrs. Nesbitt – Long time family friend and neighbor, elderly
- Dr. Peter Elliot – boyfriend of Laura, works at the hospital
- Dan – Miranda’s boyfriend, on the swim team
- Megan – Miranda’s friend, very religious
- Sammi – Miranda’s friend, promiscuous
- Luxury versus necessity
- The importance of family
- How people react to disaster
- What people will do to survive
- Hope and endurance
- Civilization versus chaos
- Man versus nature
- Dealing with loss
Book Guide for Life As We Knew It.
More Great Post-Apocalyptic Books
- The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody
Though it is written for young adults, this is a great series for anyone who loves fantasy. Readers will begin to covet the mental abilities of the Misfits and will long to be a part of Elspeths quest as the Seeker.