Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review : Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

  • Release Date : 2006
  • Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Pages : 337
  • Genre : Science Fiction/Survivalist/Contemporary
I picked this book up for my book club  not knowing anything about it. I was interested in it because it was discussed as being Dystopian and I hadn't read a Dystopian in a while.  However, I found this less Dystopic and more of a small-scale survivalist story. This isn't the story about how a teen is going to save the end of the world. . . But how she is going to survive it. Life As We Knew It will have you thinking twice about what it means to survive and the importance of family. A great read if you are looking a more realistic 'end of the world' YA novel.

Life As We knew It is the gripping tale of a family's survival in the midst of a global disaster. Told through the diary of 16-year-old  Miranda, each day presents the challenges that come with daily survival for  her brothers and Mom after a surprise astrological event changes the world as they knew it.

The novel works off  a what-if scenario where an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth. The gravitational pull floods the coastlines, activates dormant volcanoes, creates communication blackouts and brings on harsh early winters. Despite the book's dark tones and hardships it touches on the perseverance  and strength of a family when they have nothing left but each other.

The use of diary entries as a storytelling technique  limited the writing style and at times it did feel a little repetitive. I found myself wanting to see what was happening outside of the diary.

While parts of this book were nightmare inducing other parts could be a little hard to believe. The family catches a lot of lucky breaks and a few storylines seem to disappear, though they might come back in the other books.

Published in 2006  before the big YA boom I liked that this doesn't fall into a lot of the tropes I see in YA Fiction now. For example, parents and other adults  are actually useful and don't disappear. Miranda's mom has to be the strongest character in this story, she sacrifices everything to keep  her family together and healthy

Another plus for me was that even though the parent's are divorced the dad isn't one of the Jerk-Dads I've been reading about lately.


  1. I love when family dynamics are represented well in YA; they're easily my favourite relationships to read about.

    I'm usually a big fan of epistolary novels, but I can see how with an apocalyptic novel, it could lead to missing out on some crucial/informative details.

  2. Apparently the other novels in the series are written from other POVs so I'm curious what kind of insights they give on the situation.

  3. I think it was the most realistic version of what would happen if the world went through a catastrophic event. I agree that the family was very lucky though! Read the next book. I liked it a bit better and that family didn't have as much luck . The third book combinations the characters from the first and second books.


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