Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Retro Tuesday: Life as We Knew It (2006), by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Publisher's description:
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. In her journal, Miranda records the events of each desperate day, while she and her family struggle to hold on to their most priceless resource—hope.

This book came to our attention when we read reviews of the third in the series - somehow the first two escaped our notice. Apparently they escaped everyone's notice, because we are only the second checkout for each book - and they are GOOD! We are going to be hand-selling these to fans of Suzanne Collins and Scott Westerfeld.

On the surface, they aren't as dark as the Hunger Games or Uglies series. When we passed this one on to one of our favorite teens, however, she found it more disturbing than she did the others.

While any of these series could take place in the future, this one is more immediate - it could happen tomorrow. She found the characters easy to identify with, and the daily routines and plans were similar enough to be familiar - and thus all the more jarring when they changed so drastically. It was reassuring to her to realize that her family is more self-sufficient than some already, but many of today's teens are so used to relying on technology for everything, this book may hit them harder than adults might expect.

It was also somewhat reassuring for our teen to realize that, in this scenario, it's not that the world itself ended - just, to paraphrase the title, the world as we know it now. No civilization lasts forever, and for thousands of years people have learned to adapt to whatever new civilization has come along. This series might prompt both teens and adults alike to reflect on what they may have within them that would make them one of those who would adapt and survive.

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