Life As We Knew It

Warning: This book is not for people freaked out by the thought of the end of the world as we know it and/or paranoid conspiracy theorists.

That being said, Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It is fan-freaking-tastic - with extra emphasis on the freaking. It's good and if you haven't read it yet go get a copy right now (unless you are one of the people above that I've said shouldn't read it).

Miranda is living a pretty typical life for 16 year old girl in middle America. She's a figure skating fan, on the swim team, doesn't have a boyfriend and wonders if she'll ever get kissed. She worries about grades and her mom rides her about getting into a good college. Her parents are divorced and her dad remarried and his new wife is about to have a baby and wants her to be the godmother. Her older brother in college and her younger brother dreams of being a baseball player.

And then suddenly things will never be the same again.

An asteroid hits the moon. It's not uncommon for things to hit the moon - after all we can see all the craters on it. But this is the biggest thing to ever hit the moon. But the asteroid is even bigger than the scientists thought it was and it knocks the moon much closer to earth. The moon is the biggest thing in the sky.

Weather patterns are screwed up. The tides are all messed up and anything on the coast is pretty much gone thanks to tsunamis. New York, Rhode Island, Los Angeles, Cape Cod? Pretty much gone. Electricity? Unreliable and is off more than it's on. Supermarkets are cleared out. The cost of gas skyrockets. Schools mostly shut down.

Miranda's world gets smaller and smaller. The internet doesn't work. They can't get through to anyone on the telephone. Soon her entire world is just her family and their house. Will they have enough food to get through the winter? What happens if someone gets sick? Do any of them have a future?

It's a fantastic book and I totally understand why it's been nominated for awards and why everyone was ravin about it when it came out. It would be an excellent book in a classroom setting. Or for a bookclub. Or for families to read together. There's just so much potential for discussion.

There's a companion book that is coming out in June called the dead and the gone. It follows the same events but from the point of view of a teenage boy in New York City who must care for his siblings after his parents are killed by a tsunami. I'm really looking forward to it because the one thing that I kept thinking about while reading this book is that while I could see how Miranda's family was getting by I figured that city dwellers would be pretty well screwed.

Life As We Knew It will make you think. It will likely also make you want to stock up on bottled water, batteries and a crank flashlight and radio. And possibly make you want to start canning things and knitting socks. And stockpiling firewood. And figuring out how the heck to get a woodstove into your city apartment...