Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  337

RAC Book:  Yes

Miranda, her mother, and her little brother Jonny are all excited about the upcoming event of a meteor crashing into the moon.  Meteorologists have been predicting it for weeks and believe people will be able to see it just by looking at the sky.  People plan big parties and everyone is outside to watch, but somewhere the calculations are off and the meteor has a much bigger impact than anyone predicted.  In fact, the moon is pushed closer to earth, which causes a string of events that end “normal” life on earth.  First, the tides begin to change and cause floods, tsunamis, and tornados.  Then, volcanoes start to erupt all over earth.  The ash in the air causes the sun to become blocked, which kills the crops, etc. 

Miranda and her family live in a place that is not directly affected by any of the natural disasters, but everyone in the world is affected by what has happened.  All of the grocery stores and restaurants close, the price of gas keeps rising and rising, the schools close, and there is no electricity.  Miranda tells the story through her diary where she depicts her family’s activities each day following this disaster.  They gather as much food and supplies as they can so that they can be prepared, but still find themselves eating as little as possible so that they can conserve.  They also spend hours on household chores such as washing clothes and chopping wood since they won’t be able to count on their appliances anymore.

As the story moves on, things keep getting more dire for Miranda and her family and there are times where they all doubt their survival.  There is a theme of hope in the book, but there is also always the possibility that they will all die.  The story is told realistically and accurately portrays how one incident can change everything about life on earth.  Some students may find it too realistic and therefore disturbing, but it is good for students to be aware of how we all depend on each other and what might happen if even one thing went wrong.


17 Responses to “Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer”

  1. 1 ReAdEr November 6, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I love this book! It’s so good, and im doing it for my English Project! ♥

  2. 2 Alli February 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    OMG ! Your doing it for an English Project too!!! Right now I’m researching the author for my English project!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 3 Katie March 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    This is an amazing book!! I couldn’t put it down. I loved it! Now I’m writing a speech on it. Does anyone know any themes in this book?

  4. 4 Natzz March 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Wow this is soo wierd… I’m doing MY english project on this book too!!! ahhaa

  5. 5 lisamm March 22, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Both my daughter (11 years) and I LOVED this book. It really made us think about how important it is to rely on each other, and not to waste resources, etc.

  6. 6 nyla July 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this book. Some of Miranda’s entries greatly amused me while others fell flat. I skipped about 100 pages of the book but went back and read them for my sophmore summer reading project.

  7. 7 anne January 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I had to do this book for school as well. I liked that it was realistic in some chapters. I found it quite believable. Overall, it was better than the other books I read this year.

  8. 8 Anonymous March 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    what are some themes in this book?

  9. 9 Anna May 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Just finished about a week ago for MY english project too! small world i guess lol

  10. 10 jori November 12, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I loved this book so much i read it for reading and i felt one part was really flat and the it was good again. This book is amazing

  11. 11 Anna March 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I think the theme of this book is about hope. Like not giving up.

  12. 12 **33** March 20, 2011 at 2:14 am

    what is the theme of this book

  13. 13 Bailey August 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    as far as themes, I’ve come up with..
    – hope
    – family
    – struggle
    – right vs. wrong
    – compassion/ empathy
    – human vs. nature
    – panic
    I’m positive that a reply on other themes won’t get back to me in the next, oh, five minutes or so (I, too, need themes for an English project), but this is for the girl scrambling around two days before school starts to finish her summer reading.
    have at it.

  14. 14 Bailey August 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    oh! here’s an extra happy.
    I sat down and thought about main topics in this book, and a huge one was Miranda’s growth in maturity. at the start of the book, she was a carefree teen, and by the end, a tired and weak woman. she often complained about the guilt she felt towards Jonny- how she experienced two and a half years more of being a teenager than she did. her mother, Laura, recognized this change in Miranda when confronting her about how well she had handled the smoke in the sunroom, and corrected herself by saying something along the lines of “you’re an amazing/beautiful/inspirational/somethinglikethat girl,” and then “no, you’re an amazing/beautiful/inspirational/blahblahblah woman,” near the end of the book.

    I have my theme- ninth grade, here I come.

  15. 15 Buudddddd April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I think the theme is you will always have family to help you through any struggle, and that they will always help to give you hope, empathy/sympathy, and peace of mind.

  16. 16 Betsy G. August 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

    omg i love this book i read it for my freshman summer reading i read it in 4 days it was awesome

  17. 17 Kaylee August 28, 2012 at 12:44 am

    What’s the theme I need help on my project:/?

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