Life as We knew It (Last Survivors Stories, Book 1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Published by Harcourt Children’s Books
3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audiobook (also available in paperback and ebook here)
I love end-of-the-world dramas, zombies or not, and this sounded right up my alley, I needed a good listen for my journeys down south (4 hours) each week and so ordered it!
LAWKI is written in a diary set up – first person – from the POV of Miranda. The world is thrown into turmoil when the moon is knocked off its orbit by a meteor, and the world changes in unimaginable ways. Miranda is faced with hunger, freezing temperatures, illness, vigilantes, and the biggest struggle, boredom. The moon causes tidal waves, earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, knocks out the electric, oil runs low, cities destroyed, and civilization changed. Life as we knew it, has changed.
Miranda. URRRH Miranda. I praise Pfeffer for being brave enough to write a teenage girl as a teenager girl, rather than a girl turned superwoman in the face of catastrophic events. But she is SOOOO self centered, and brattish that I want to slap her, for the majority of the book. There is a learning curve and she does get better, but she’s in no way a character you root for. Her brothers are the ones you want to survive, the only reason you want Miranda around is so she can write her diary and keep you updated. Even her act at the end, appears selfish, but really its not, its another attention seeking venture.
The story itself is good, the disasters and the slow realizations of the public very realistic, the supermarket scenes were brilliantly real, and the slow descent into turmoil was a fresh change from the usual ‘bang’ and everything has altered. But I do question the science, there are super sized tsunami’s due to the tides being altered, fine, but the volume of water won’t change surely? So if there is land being eaten away, new land should appear – but there is no mention of this. There is also little mention of the rest of the world, which annoyed the hell out of me, why should the world revolve around america, its about half way through the book before Miranda realizes that there even is ANOTHER part of the world, although she admits that she should of thought more of it before.
What saved this book was the realism in the disaster, and the family’s struggles, but also the relationships, and the losses in the book are soul wrenching at times, and often unexpected. Miranda’s friends show the other troubles and struggles in the world now, outside of Miranda’s world, and Peter’s take on things is amusing and harrowing at the same time. I didn’t get the whole brandon thing, it felt like filler for a book that didn’t need filler, but generally characters were there for a reason, and they were all important to the overall feel of the book. Whilst I’ve mentioned the realism, there were a few points where I thought ‘yeah right’ and the story lost its credibility for me a little, it takes a brave writer to sacrifice a lead character and I felt that Pfeffer cheated with this – never really delivering that final punch.