Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) – Susan Beth Pfeffer




I could simply stop there, but I won’t.  This is a dystopian, climate change/world coming to an end, fantastic-ness.

I love a good tsunami, earthquake, volcanoes erupting hot mess and this gives all the ‘end of the world’ craziness with a good plot and family to follow.

Miranda – and the world – think the meteor that is scheduled to hit the moon sounds like a great night of sky gazing.  In fact, her teachers assign a watch party, her neighborhood hosts a block party, and everyone thinks it’ll be great to watch.  It isn’t until the meteor explodes into the moon (not a slight hit at all), tilting it, and pushing it closer to earth that everyone knows this was not just a fun oddity to watch.  Within hours, tsunamis hit the eastern coast washing away the Statue of Liberty and the coastline, electricity is gone, and the looming moon is eerily larger in the sky day and night.  Storms rage in Philadelphia and Miranda’s mom goes into apocalyptic preparation in a very organized grocery store relay.

School continues, but life does not continue normally: electricity continues to be inconsistent, without telephones and internet people don’t know who survived the tsunamis on both coasts, stores are out of supplies, and gas gets to $12 a gallon.   Food is scarce, people are leaving town, and soon more natural disasters begin.

So why should you read this very depressing sounding novel – to cheer on Miranda’s family, who due to her mom’s over-preparation and worry, are actually better off than most.  They, along with Mrs. Nesbit – a neighboring family friend, come together and sacrifice for one another, but also keep their stash of food and firewood a secret.  As dormant volcanoes begin erupting worldwide, sunlight is blocked by a sky full of grey ash.  It has been months since the moon was pushed out of orbit and now August is much cooler and with temperatures dropping and no sunlight, Miranda’s family garden will stop growing food, and they begin skipping meals to stretch their ever decreasing stash of food.

Add to the scene West Nile Virus, still no constant electricity, and people leaving town, Miranda’s family puts family first in an effort to survive.

Once fall begins, the weather feels more like winter; more people have left town; violence begins, and she can’t even rely on school.  Miranda finally starts to believe that this could be the end of the world.  Winter is tough, but those still in town find a little joy on Christmas eve.  There’s a few  more scares, more climate changes, but finally at the end – there is hope.  Of course it’s a series so I totally expect more apocalyptic fabulousness.

Depressing topic, death, etc., but if you’re OK with that, younger YA readers can handle it.  I had an 11 year old read it before I could and he loved it.

Series Order: Life As We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon


3 thoughts on “Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) – Susan Beth Pfeffer

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