Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer


If one day you and your family are outside your home ready to witness a significant event… a meteor about to hit the moon.  You are all excited as thought you are going to witness an eclipse, but then… when the meteor does hit, the moon is pushed closer to the earth. 

Suddenly… people are in a panic, due to the moons pull, tidal waves start taking out cities near the coast, earthquakes and intense storm patterns make up the days and the nights.  Electricity is on again off again and the grocery stores have been cleared out and closed.  What is left of the gas is now $9 a gallon and nothing is open anymore – not even McDonald’s.

Life as we knew it…

is no more.

This is what happens to Miranda, her two brothers, and her mother when the meteor hits the moon.  Suddenly the most important resource of all…

is hope.



Ok… so funny story.  About a year ago my friend Amy and I were driving to my cabin up North.  On the way Amy started talking excitedly about this book… “It was so real,” she says excitedly, “everything comes to a stop… no longer did the world have use of computers, cars stopped along the roads, stores closed – basically the world comes to a screeching halt!”

I agreed, it did sound like a fascinating book and had been in the back burner of my mind ever since that conversation. 

When I started reading Life As We Knew It I knew what she meant… all a little too real, and I had the second and third books in hand ready to go on to them.  Upon seeing Amy recently I told her, “I am finally getting into that book, Life As We Knew It, that you recommended so long ago to me.  I am loving it, why did I wait so.   long?”

“What was it called?” she asked, looking confused.

“Life As We Knew It,” I replied, “you know the one you recommended to me about a year ago while we were going to the cabin.”

Amy thought for a moment.  “Oh, you must mean One Second After.  That’s the one I read about all the computers and everything stopping and sending the world back into the dark ages.  I have never read Life As We Knew It.”

Me:  “oh.”


SO anyway, I read the wrong book – for the right reasons and I have to say it was a wonderful read. 

Life As We Knew It is all to real.  When the meteor knocked the moon closer to the earth causing all these repercussions (tidal waves, earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, and of course, wide-spread panic) I could imagine all to easily that happenings. 

Grocery stores quickly empty, vandalism becomes huge, and as days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, people are afraid to leave their home.  If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove – AND lucky enough to have fire wood, that wood is kept inside your home.  Rooms are blocked off to conserve heat in one main area and food is rationed to the point of days of fasting and choosing which one meal you want a day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

In a world of overabundance, where I almost daily stop by a store to pick up something I need to make dinner, run into a gas station for a diet Dr Pepper, or Twizzlers, and occasionally have to hit the local book store for that “must read”, the idea is down right frightening. 

Looking around my own home I wonder how long I would last with the canned goods in the cupboard, blocking off our windows with sheets of plywood so people could not see in at what we have…

Life As We Knew It is written wisely from 16 year old Miranda’s point.  I think a book like this being written from the point of view of a young adult is wise because while obviously the situation is unbelievably hard, the voice of Miranda keeps it from being too heavy.  She of course, mourns her dreams of dating, loss of school friends, and the swim team. 

The book is very realistic as this family goes through the “what if’s”, as things seem to go from bad to worse, food becomes low, electricity is a thing of the past, there is fear of running out of firewood to keep the house warm, and then… the well runs dry… no more water.

I am currently listening to the second in the trilogy, The Dead And The Gone on audio.  Interestingly enough it is being told from the exact same time frame, but this time it is told from a teenage boys perspective in New York, where Miranda is in Philadelphia.

And uh yes, at some point I guess I do need to read One Second After 😛

In closing, I want to leave with you with this song.  I love the song anyway, but now find it very fitting for this book:

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Life As We Knew It

I purchased this book from Barnes and Noble

30 thoughts on “Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

  1. A couple of years ago, when a group I belong to was doing a DystopYA Challenge, I picked this book up (along with a bunch of others) from the library; but I have no idea why I didn’t read it! It sounds like I need to fix that!

  2. I listened to this series in 2010 and enjoyed it for the most part. I got annoyed at times with things, but most of them, like the mom and daughter’s constant fighting were realistic. I’ve also listened to One Second After and it’s good, but quite brutal. It’s about and EMP and does a good job of showing a small college town affected when all their electronics stop working,.

    Enjoyed the review!

  3. That is totally funny about how you came to read the book! I read this last year and thought it was OK. I like the storyline but the writing and some of the stuff just didn’t hit me right (as often happens with YA books). I never went on to the next book in the series.

  4. Too funny! As I was reading your review I’m thinking…wait, she’s talking about One Second After. We have been trying to talk Amy and her daughter into reading Life As We Knew It, but I didn’t think she had yet! lol I liked this one better than One Second After, it’s not violent and dark. And yes, I too looked at my cupboards and wondered how long I could make my bags of chocolate chips last 😛

  5. Sounds great! Funny how it was the wrong book but the right choice, you know? Just goes to show that you never really know where your next favorite read may come from. Speaking of which, i just might have to add this one to the “wish list”. Thanks for sharing…and happy reading!

    1. It really is scary when you think about it… which I did… a lot. The whole word is pretty fragile in a way… we rely on grocery stores to be open, gas to be available so we can drive, police to protect, hospitals to help….jobs to be secure.

  6. This book felt totally real. I was only about 20 pages in and had to peek outside to make sure the moon was exactly where it should be. My husband has One Second After waiting to be read during Christmas break. Sounds like it might be one I need to check out, too.

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