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Book Review: Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1) , by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This book has become one of my favorites of all times!
It gets ALL my page-turner check marks: ✓Writing, ✓Theme ✓Plot ✓Characterization and ✓World-building

4.8 stars

About the book

life as we know itI guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like “one marble hits another.” The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, 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. Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut! Susan Beth Pfeffer has written three companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

My Review

I ran into this book when was searching for an audio book to try in the public library’s online catalog. I sorted by “most popular” and there it was. I loved the title, the cover, the premise and now I love the book.

I never liked to listen to audio books before. When I got this book I couldn’t wait to get in the car and drive for hours so I could listen to it!

I was in awe of the way this book covers how an unexpected event impacts life on Earth and the life of Miranda, with such incredible detail. First person is not my favorite POV, but Miranda’s diary won me over the same way that The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, did.

Miranda’s diary narrates, with gripping and painful precision, day by day, how her life crumbles gradually but unavoidably to pieces. Her school, sports, friends, boyfriend, community, family, country, planet… everything she had ever given for granted… just gone.

There is not an aspect of Miranda’s ordeal that is not addressed impeccably with masterful writing, plotting, characterization and world-building. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was the scientific unlikeness of the event that triggered the story, which is almost irrelevant to the story anyway.

Every event in Miranda’s ordeal makes perfect sense and leads inexorably to the next, dragging the reader to experience firsthand her hopelessness and isolation while she tries to survive starvation and sickness in a world where there is no foreseeable future.

The raw realism of this book touches almost every emotion you can possibly imagine. It is a tale of commitment, love, friendship, survival and sacrifices; of rediscovering joy in the most unexpected places because each moment could be your last.
By the time you get to the last page you would have skipped many heartbeats and maybe will look at things a little differently as I do now. (I even started an emergency plan after reading this book! lol).

Quote from The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors #2)  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

the dead and the goneThe Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors #2)  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

Stay in line!… The noise was what attacked him first, a cacophony of screams and sobs. He could make out some cursing, some praying; but mostly the noise was just the sound of agony. Then came the smells.  unlike anything he’d ever known. A sickening combination of vomit, body odor and rotten meet. The menthol covered the stench slightly but still he gagged and he was glad he hadn’t eaten all morning. He could taste the small as he inhaled the scent of decomposing flesh. It was a scene unlike any Alex could have imagine. He looked up it was Yankee stadium filled with empty sits but if he looked at eye level it was hell. Alex made the sign of the cross and pray for strength. all around the plain field were corpses lying head to toe in neat rows with just space enough for one person to walk between. How many bodies were there? hundreds? thousands?

This gripping quote is part of this week’s  Thursday Quotable @Bookshelf Fantasies


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  1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this series! I loved how books 1 & 2 show the extremely different experiences of two characters based on the same set of events. So interesting to see the different ways their lives are affected! (Ha, I also put a lot more thought into emergency kits and food supplies after reading these books…)
    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies recently posted…Thursday Quotables: Paper TownsMy Profile

  2. I haven’t heard of this one before but it sounds great! I love emotional books that make me feel all the feels. Love that you had a post reading emergency plan! I have often needed those after a book broke me! :O
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…Book Review: When the Music Stops by Paddy EgarMy Profile

  3. Just added it to my list – sorry, in a hurry, no time to chat ! 😉
    Red Iza recently posted…Hottie of the weekMy Profile

  4. Wow :D! Nice reviews, I totally forgot about these books! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED them back when I first started reading them, and I thought I finished the series when it turned out, there was another book… it’s been a few years since then and I never did re-read them… Glad to hear you liked them though, very nice 🙂
    Have a wonderful day!
    Brianna @ Otakutwins Reviews recently posted…Chronicles of Nick Infamous (Book 3) ReviewMy Profile

  5. Yep, I really need to read this series! Thanks for sharing your review!
    Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings recently posted…About Me! – My Obessession with DystopiaMy Profile

  6. I have never heard of this author before but now I feel I must read her! These two books sound awesome!
    Erin @ Quixotic Magpie recently posted…Book Review and Giveaway! Redemption Bay by RaeAnne ThayneMy Profile

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