Book Reviews

Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone- Susan Beth Pfeffer



High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like “one marble hits another.” The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, 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 a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut! Susan Beth Pfeffer has written three companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

My Review:

I absolutely loved Life As We Knew It. A few parts made me laugh, many parts made me cry, and the entire novel made me thankful for every blessing in my life. One of my favorite quotes is “I guess I always felt even if the world comes to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.” That quote struck a cord with me because it’s true- if every McDonald’s in the world closed, it truly would be the end of life as we knew it, and most likely the beginning of the end of the world. Pfeffer’s writing is excellent and the message is clear- be thankful for what you have today because tomorrow anything can happen, even a gigantic asteroid hitting the moon.



Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

My Review: 

Although I didn’t love The Dead and the Gone as much as Life As We Knew It, I definitely enjoyed it. In this novel, 17-year-old Alex Morales has to deal with things that adults shouldn’t have to deal with. His parents are gone, his older brother is gone, his extended family flees, he and his sisters are starving, they have no way of leaving New York City as it turns into a hellish nightmare of a place… Fortunately for his sisters, Alex is an incredibly unselfish older brother. “Bed looked very inviting. But first he (Alex) got down on his knees, made the sign of the cross, and prayed for the safety of his sisters, and then for the safety of his country and the world. God show us mercy, he prayed. And give me strength. Only then did he allow himself to escape into sleep” (19). This is a heartbreaking tale, but there’s a strong message of hope. I recommend this novel for anyone who fell in love with Life As We Knew It.

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