A few days ago we posted an interview with Maria V Snyder, author of Storm Glass and the Study Series. Maria was kind enough to sit down and write a review of one of her fave novels at the moment. Enjoy guys!
Maria V. Snyder’s Book Review – Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
After you read this book, you’ll never look at the moon the same way again. The premise of the story is rather straight forward—an asteroid slams into the moon (this isn’t a spoiler – it’s written on the back cover). The moon is then knocked closer to Earth. What follows is an extremely realistic account of how life on Earth is altered—and not for the better.
The story is told by 16-year-old Miranda. She’s writing everything that happens in her journal. It’s first person point of view. As most of my readers know, I’m very fond of first person. And it works for this gripping story. Miranda details the catastrophe. She has a unique perspective and being in her head is a skillful way for the author to show how Miranda’s family deals with the ensuing craziness. It’s fun to read about her mother’s quick intelligence while Miranda rolls her eyes and swears she’ll never wear the long johns her mother buys. The reader can see the importance of the mom’s actions, without it being preachy.
The only thing that bothered me with the journal format is I had to wait to find out where Miranda lives. The author’s efforts to be true to life should be commended—a person writing in a journal wouldn’t use their names or the city’s name very often (maybe not at all). However, I was annoyed—especially when tidal waves are taking out New York City and I wanted to know where the story characters are in relation to them. Readers get a hint on page 43 that she is in northeastern Pennsylvania, but I didn’t learn her town name until page 174 (Howell).
This story really made me appreciate the basic things in life, like hot food, a warm house, and electricity. And as the story progresses, it’s like watching an auto race knowing a big crash is coming and unable to look away. I also wanted to start stockpiling can goods and medicine in my basement. This is definitely not for the feint of heart – but Miranda’s character arc is well done and by the end of the book, I was very proud of her.
When I’m reading a book, I’ll get to page 50 and ask myself this question: Do I care? If the main character were to die on page 51 would I be upset? If the answer is yes, I keep reading. If no, then the book is tossed into my library donation box. Did I care about Miranda and her family? Yes – very much! I even thought about them when I wasn’t reading the book (another sign of a good story).
My favorite part was when Miranda’s mom asked if she or her brothers were doing any school work, “Well, of course not. We tried to look shamefaced. Bad us for not doing algebra when the world is coming to an end.” I loved that last line!
There is a companion novel to this book called The Dead and the Gone. It is from the point of view of a teenaged boy living in New York City during the same time. I’m not sure I have the courage to read it, yet I can’t stop thinking about it. Guess I’d better fill my basement first.