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Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew It Series) Paperback – May 1, 2008


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Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew It Series) + The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors, Book 2) + This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It Series)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Life As We Knew It Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152061541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152061548
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (506 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

Veteran author Susan Beth Pfeffer, who penned the young adult classic The Year Without Michael over twenty years ago, makes a stunning comeback with this haunting book that documents one adolescent's journey from self-absorbed child to selfless young woman. Teen readers won't soon forget this intimate story of survival and its subtle message about the treasuring the things that matter most—-family, friendship, and hope.--Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8–Pfeffer tones down the terror, but otherwise crafts a frighteningly plausible account of the local effects of a near-future worldwide catastrophe. The prospect of an asteroid hitting the Moon is just a mildly interesting news item to Pennsylvania teenager Miranda, for whom a date for the prom and the personality changes in her born-again friend, Megan, are more immediate concerns. Her priorities undergo a radical change, however, when that collision shifts the Moon into a closer orbit, causing violent earthquakes, massive tsunamis, millions of deaths, and an upsurge in volcanism. Thanks to frantic preparations by her quick-thinking mother, Miranda's family is in better shape than many as utilities and public services break down in stages, wild storms bring extremes of temperature, and outbreaks of disease turn the hospital into a dead zone. In Miranda's day-by-day journal entries, however, Pfeffer keeps nearly all of the death and explicit violence offstage, focusing instead on the stresses of spending months huddled in increasingly confined quarters, watching supplies dwindle, and wondering whether there will be any future to make the effort worthwhile. The author provides a glimmer of hope at the end, but readers will still be left stunned and thoughtful.–John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

SUSAN BETH PFEFFER is the author of many books for teens, including Life As We Knew It and the bestselling novel The Year Without Michael. She lives in Middletown, New York.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#47 in Books > Teens
#47 in Books > Teens

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Customer Reviews

It's just not going to happen.
Anita - New Hope
It was just so realistic and believable, the characters were easy to relate to and well developed.
Tyler
I found this book to be very well written.
Ashton's Mommy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 116 people found the following review helpful By M. Hanners on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this new novel "Life As We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the author of the highly regarded "The Year Without Michael" and many other books, a cataclysmic astronomical event threatens the very existence of the world and all of humankind. An event like this is too immense to imagine in any detail, but the story is told from the point of view of one 16 year old girl living in Pennsylvania, and the apocalyptic event is viewed from the perspective of one person in this seemingly isolated corner of the world.

Miranda begins her diary entries with the usual teen business of school, friends and family with a little digression into figure skating fandom. The forecast collision between asteroid and moon seems like a fun event, as well as an excuse for homework assignments from her teachers, in other words, of interest but not particularly interesting. But the unexpected happens and the collision knocks the moon out of its normal orbit around earth and terrible things begin to happen. Life as Miranda knew it changes quickly and relentlessly from one of normality to a frightening spectre of violent death and terrible deprivation. As suddenly as this happens in parts of world where tsunamis, earthquakes and floods wipe out huge areas of land and people, the changes in Miranda's world occur more gradually but relentlessly. Miranda's world becomes more and more focused on the tragedy and the effects of the global climactic change, and her frame of reference as a teen in a world of school, friends, sports and the future, shrinks down to the day to day survival of herself and her family of four. Miranda struggles to maintain her identity, her physical existence and her hope in the face of frightening odds against her.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Independence Dave on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Life As We Knew It" is exciting, thought-provoking, and unique in this genre for its realism. By using Miranda's diary as the method to tell the story, the reader really does get a chance to participate in the events as they unfold.

The reviews posted so far on Amazon are sufficient in summarizing the plot and commenting on the quality of the writing. It's obvious that a few issues stand out to many readers, and that those of us who have read this book are interested in what others think about them, so for that reason I'll offer my own opinions.

First, I'm not a scientist, and I can't comment on the feasibility of the asteroid/moon event. To me, it's just a device to set up the story - the author needed a worldwide cataclysm, and invented a cosmic event. If your fiction choices have to line up with hard science and you won't be able to get past this scenario, you probably shouldn't try reading this book.

Yes, I thought the jabs at the President, Fox News, etc., were unnecessary to the story, and only served to alienate part of the audience. Aside from that, I found Miranda's Mom to be a very interesting character. I cheered for her when she took quick, decisive action in buying supplies (even thinking of cat food, tampons, and baby clothes) and growing food. Many readers have accused her of cruelty or inconsistency; but I think her struggles were entirely realistic. She had to make the choice to provide for her family; to her, this meant shutting off her compassion for the outside world - and she's clearly tormented by it.
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64 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on July 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Do the concerns of a teenage girl disappear in a post-apocalyptic world? Not for Miranda, the protagonist in Susan Beth Pfeffer's novel about life after a climate-changing astrological event. The moon has been struck by an asteroid, knocked into an orbit nearer Earth, causing tsunamis, flooding, and volcanic activity. High school junior Miranda watches her world turn upside down. Her mother chastises her children for thoughts of generosity and declares that they must think only about their own family's survival. They learn to shop for every possible food item when the shelves are stocked, how to maneuver the gas rationing lines, and how to make the most of their few daily hours of electricity. The family must protect their cat to prevent him from being snatched from the road as a food source.

Miranda thinks most of her mother's disaster-readiness is a bit silly, but she's willing to play along until the world rights itself. Unfortunately, New York, Boston, and Rhode Island are completely under ocean water, and the president has abandoned Washington, D.C. for his Texas ranch. Miranda is still coping with the death of one of her circle of friends, and feeling alienated from her two remaining friends. She has a crush on Dan, and they've been flirting at the town pond every day. Miranda's mom is rationing the canned goods, but Miranda is not above feeling resentful about the family's focus on nutrition for their precious younger son.

Life as We Knew It is an excellent book for discussion in a classroom or book club. Issues of looting, bribery, and rationing are raised. Miranda watches as one friend gets lost to a religious cult, while the parents of her other friend end up sending her off with an older man for a better life (they hope) down south.
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