Yesterday was the last meeting of the school year for the Teen Pizza Pagers. My readers devoured the delicious pizza from Dewey’s and had a lively discussion of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This book was a crowd favorite. Here is how they rated it:
Total: 4.4/5 pepperonis
Spencer couldn’t make it but his friends swear he would have rated it a 5 as well. I’m patting myself on the back for picking this winner. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, book 1 of The Survivors series, 2006
Miranda Evans is a normal sixteen-year-old girl living in Pennsylvania. She is on the swim team, she ice skates, and she has a crush on Dan. Her parents are divorced, she has two brothers, and often argues with her mom. Pretty normal stuff. Then one day an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it out of orbit and closer to Earth. The effects are immediate and catastrophic. Soon death and starvation is normal. Freezing cold summer are normal. Life without electricity, cell phones, and television is normal. Miranda and her family must struggle and sacrifice to survive in a world that is unrecognizable from life as we knew it.
Life As We Knew It is a frighteningly realistic postapocalyptic tale of survival and hope. Despite revealing the dark and ugly side of human nature, Pfeffer manages to infuse enough hope into her characters and story that readers will begin to believe that survival is possible. Miranda is a realistic and sympathetic character that readers can actually relate to. She is not a perfect, almost super-human heroine. She has moments of fear, despair, and selfishness, but manages to overcome these feeling and continue to press forward. I also found it refreshing to have positive parent involvement in the story. Miranda’s parents and their reactions made the story that much more believable. This story made some of my readers more fearful of the supposed end of the world events of 2012 (I’ve noticed that the fervor has died down a bit). It reminded some of the movies The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. I haven’t seen either, but I think I have to check them out now. There are three books in this series. The next book, The Dead and the Gone, has an entirely new cast. The Morales family in New York struggles to survive after the asteroid hits. The third book, This World We Live In follows familiar characters from the first two books. I recently finished the series on audiobook, and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good survival story. If you liked this series check out Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and of course, the ultimate survival series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I am off the order extra copies of The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In and check out the availability of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s new book Blood Wound.
I almost forgot to explain the rest of this post’s title! In addition to the more traditional question/discussion format, The Pizza Pagers jazzed things up a bit by playing Life As We Knew It-style pictionary-FUN! I think we will have to incorporate more activities like that into our meetings. Ok, now I am done.