Friday, September 7, 2018

Audiobook Review: Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors #1)
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Narrator: Emily Bauer
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Length: 9 hours, 2 minutes

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Review for book 2

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, 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 journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

I've been putting this series off for years and I honestly couldn't give you a good reason why. I think a couple years ago I might have been worried it would be too much like all the other dystopian fiction I was reading. Lately I've been dying for a good dystopian book to read and since we have a severe lack of them being published at the moment, I went to the backlist and finally picked this up!

Life as We Knew It is told from Miranda's point of view. In fact, it's told in her journal entries, which I have mixed feelings about, but more on that later. She's a normal teenager who just wants to think about boys and enjoy her after school hobbies, but then the moon is hit by a meteor and things slowly start to change. Miranda was fine as a character, but she really wasn't anything special. She had her mom and two brothers, dad and stepmom, and they all coped in their own ways with the changing world. Miranda had her bratty moments as any teen would, but she also had a couple moments of amazing character and I did enjoy her relationships, especially with her mom.

Really, there could have been a cardboard box in place of the main character because the main focus of this book was the events happening around them. I am an absolute sucker for post-apocalyptic survival stories and this one was fantastic! Personally, I thought that the upcoming book Dry was probably a bit more true to life, but this was definitely a great look into how one family survived. I was a bit skeptical about the fact that neighbors left each other alone and only empty houses were looted, but this is YA so I'll let it slide.

Events in this book happen a bit slowly, sort of how I'd imagine things would happen if the moon really was knocked a bit closer to Earth and really did change things the way it happened in Life As We Knew It. Electricity, water, and other utilities slowly start to permanently disappear. Since things don't happen overnight, people have time to slowly realize what kind of situation they're stuck in. I enjoyed watching Miranda and her family come together and figure out how to survive the winter. The effects of the slow deterioration of personal space was also fascinating.

Life as We Knew It was a fun dive back into the world of dystopia, but it wasn't perfect. I did feel that Miranda's journal entries weren't quite convincing enough. When a book goes for this kind of style, I prefer it to go all in. Instead, her writing went back and forth between feeling like a teenager's diary and feeling like any other book (so definitely not how a teenager or anyone else would describe things in a journal). I also wish things had felt a little more urgent in the beginning. Everyone was pretty chill when the natural disasters started happening because they weren't in their part of the country, assuming "the scientists" would figure it out. I'd like to think people wouldn't panic, but I definitely think there would be more preparation than is shown in this book.

Overall, this was just what I needed to get away from the oversaturation of fantasy books currently being published. I'll definitely be continuing the series and looking for more dystopia and survival books I missed in the past! Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!