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This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) Hardcover – April 1, 2010

Book 3 of 4 in the Life As We Knew It Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth's climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda's father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda's complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Susan Beth Pfeffer, Author of This World We Live In

Dear Amazon reader,

I love you.
No, I really do.

I have loved you since the first of the Last Survivors trilogy, Life As We Knew It, was published. It was then that I began monitoring (such a nice euphemism for stalking) my Amazon ranking. I cheered when it dipped below 20,000 for the first time. I marveled when it landed at 7,777 and 6,666. When, for one glorious moment, it was in the extremely high three digits, I wrote an entire celebratory blog entry.

I went through the same emotional extremes when the second volume, The Dead & The Gone, came out. When its Amazon ranking was lower than Life As We Knew It, I felt that same trill of excitement that I experienced when kid sister Serena beat Venus Williams for the first time.

Now the trilogy is complete, with the publication of This World We Live In. I celebrated on July 13, 2009, at 4:06 p.m., when it debuted at 271,527. Each morning and afternoon and evening and night and occasionally at tea time, I check on all three books. It's like the Milwaukee Brewers Sausage Race. Now in first place is Life As We Knew It at 2,911, but fast on its heels is the up-and-comer This World We Live In at 2,983. Falling back to third place is The Dead & The Gone, at 3,240, from its midafternoon high of 2,829.

Yes, dear Amazon reader, I love you. But could you please do something about my 1993 novel, The Ring of Truth? It's feeling very lonely at 5,235,538!

Susan Beth Pfeffer

(Photo © Marci Hanners)

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—This companion to Life As We Knew It (2006) and The Dead and the Gone (2008, both Harcourt) brings together the teen protagonists of those books when Miranda Evans's father and stepmother arrive with their new baby and a trio of strangers, including Alex Morales. For the past year, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother have been living in the family home in Howell, PA, struggling to survive since an asteroid hit the Moon, destroying the Earth's climate and causing millions to die. Deeply religious, Alex is determined to see his younger sister, Julie, safely to a convent before joining a monastery himself. When Miranda and Alex fall in love, she tries to persuade him to stay with her. Then a tornado hits Howell with tragic consequences, and Miranda must make a choice that may drive Alex away forever. As the narrator, Miranda dominates the book, but both she and Alex are sympathetic characters with her independence a nice complement to his sense of honor. Characters such as Miranda's brothers, parents, and Julie play less of a role but are still likable and fully three-dimensional. It is a testament to the author's skill that This World We Live In can be read as a stand-alone novel. In fact, new readers might not even realize that the earlier titles exist. Fans of Miranda and Alex, however, will keep this installment flying off the shelves, and the ambiguous ending will make them clamor for a fourth book.—Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547248040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547248042
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

Customer Reviews

They didn't really seem to like each other all that much, or even have much in common.
K. Eckert
I also thought that the romance that developed between Miranda and Alex seemed forced and out of the blue; I didn't feel any connection between them, not one bit.
Erika (YA Lit Crave)
This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a very good read and the third part of The Last Survivors series.
Joseph P. Ulibas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By DJLA531 VINE VOICE on July 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN is not the follow-up to LIFE AS WE KNEW IT that I was hoping for.

I think the root of the problem is that the diary format just doesn't work for this installment. In book one, it was interesting enough to follow Miranda's personal journey via her written thoughts. She goes from a girl who has the whole world open to her to a girl trapped in a dark, cold room with only her starving family (and, yes, the family cat). However, this time around, Miranda's character arc is so scant that it can't sustain 300 pages of her whining.

The diary format also makes the creation of sympathetic, three-dimensional supporting characters difficult. I do recall caring about the fate of Miranda's family in the first book, but here all we see through Miranda's eyes is mom being an agoraphobic shrew, older brother Matt being a selfish jerk, and everyone else just existing.

The romance between Miranda and Alex (the "hero" of book 2) is dead in the water. These two have so little chemistry together, I cringed when they touched. And c'mon Miranda - I know you don't have a lot of options for romance, but Alex is NOT boyfriend material. He wants to be monk. He's super controlling and stubborn. And he's obsessed with his sister. (Good at finding food though. I'll give him that.)

And what's up with everyone just moping around the entire novel until a tragic event (in the last 20 pages) forces them into action? Why couldn't we have gotten more exploration of the "safe town" idea for instance?

Unless you are just really in love with the characters and world of LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, I'd probably recommended putting this one near the bottom of your reading pile.
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I just finished Life as we Knew It, and was blown away. When I saw there was a follow up, I had to see what happened. I kind of wish I hadn't.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer takes place a month after Life as we Knew it. After getting halfway through this book, I realized there was a second book I hadn't read, but didn't feel I needed that book to read this one. Miranda continues to write about how life is after the meteor disaster and the struggle to find food and other necessities. Except it seems like all of the characters have regressed in their maturity. Miranda starts whining about how bad life is again and fights with her mom about ridiculous things. Matt, who may have been my favorite character in the last book, now is completely self centered and can only talk about a girl he's found while fishing. New characters enter the book, but they only add to the whine and dine that is this book.

I was completely underwhelmed by this new entry in this series and hope that this is the last one. Life as we knew it is a wonderful book and can act as a stand alone. I encourage people to see it that way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First Line: I'm shivering, and I can't tell if it's because something strange is going on or because of the dream I had or just because I'm in the kitchen, away from the warmth of the woodstove.

A year ago, an asteroid crashed into the moon, forcing it closer to Earth with catastrophic results. Teenager Miranda Evans is almost accustomed to friends and neighbors being dead, to food shortages, to the relentless gray skies and freezing temperatures.

The struggle to survive gets worse when Miranda's father, stepmother, their baby, and three strangers show up on the doorstep. One of the strangers is Alex Morales, the young boy in the dead & the gone, the second book in the trilogy by Pfeffer. Alex is going to cause some very profound changes, not only in Miranda's life, but in the lives of all the others struggling to survive in this nearly deserted town in Pennsylvania.

I loved the first book in the trilogy, Life As We Knew It. The scenario involving the asteroid crashing into the moon and forcing it closer to the earth captured my imagination. Miranda's voice rang true to me: typical whiny, self-absorbed teenager at the beginning, she matured before my eyes and really made me care about her and her family.

the dead & the gone I didn't care for as much, mostly because of Alex's insistence on being The Man of the Family who always knows best and who must be obeyed at all times. This reaction is undoubtedly personal, since I've never dealt well with anyone who's had that attitude.

In many ways, I wish Life As We Knew It had been a standalone, because I had no real emotional investment in this third book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Elle Vancouver on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I understand this is a young adult series but the worst thing a writer can do is write "down" to her audience regardless of age and I think for some reason Ms. Pfeffer did exactly that with this third installment.
I too, was rooting for the family in the first book, the second book was much darker but gave a completely different perspective of what life was like for people living in a big city. Book three was just very disappointing. I was so looking forward to getting back to Howell and seeing what the family dynamic was doing however, it wasn't doing much and where I found the characters in the first book interesting enough for me to want to know more the third book sadly did not deliver. Boring: nothing happens except for the ex-husband coming back with wife, baby and 3 stragglers. I was looking forward to seeing how they would all interact but was very disheartened to see them all pair off. Miranda and Alex was too predictable. The rest of the characters from book one got real nasty and mean or maudlin, like completely different characters from the first book especially the Mom and Matt character. THEN the religious overtones kicked in...why? All of a sudden, everyone is praying in different corners of the house, having bible studies and even Miranda (though not religious) sings a did she know a hymn if she isn't religious? (That would be like me humming a Gregorian me I wouldn't have a clue.) So many religious overtones I almost thought it was one of those teen-christian books. And WHY, WHY was Alex so bound and determined to get his little sister to a convent? He says he wanted her safe...well, if I had to leave my little sister somewhere "safe" it wouldn't be in a convent with a bunch of old nuns...
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