Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer | Book Review

First Published: 2006
Young Adult, Dystopia
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, 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 journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Good god, I loved this book so much! 

Honestly, I didn't really expect to. Me and dystopians have a rocky relationship - I just don't really like the genre and the depressing situations and stories it tells. That doesn't stop me from trying out really hyped dystopias, but more often then not I'm underwhelmed by them.

Life as We Knew It wasn't one of those dystopias. First, despite it being super popular on GR, I hadn't really heard anything about it prior to the book being on sale on amazon. But the cover looked familiar, and I read the synopsis and something just clicked, so I decided to just get it.

Best. Decision. Ever. 

Most dystopias start after the end, in a world ravaged and ruined, and introduce us to the new rules and reality of that world, but Life As We Knew It shakes that old and tried formula by starting not after the end, but before it even comes.

We get a glimpse of normal, every day life. Life we could very easily be a part of, because it's our world, until something big happens to shake everything down. Something moon-sized big, and everything goes bat-shit crazy.

But what's even better about this novel is that there is no quest to save the world, no chosen one, or rebellion, or people trying to uncover what's really going on or anything of that sort. Instead, we have one family... struggling to survive. To keep each other alive as life as they knew it cease to exist.

And it was beautiful.

Miranda's narration was both thought provoking and inherently human, chronicling the end through the eyes of a teenage girl. And she's just that; a teenage girl. She reacts as a teenage girl, even though she's forced to think past it and make tough decisions. And I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

Her mother, Laura, and her two brothers, Matt and Jon, complete this four people unit, and they were all fantastic because they were flawed. Sometimes, they let things get to them. They fought. They worried. Sometimes, they were unfair.

And it made it all that more perfect.

This book is slow - no way around that, especially since the agonizing wait and the uncertainty is such a big part of the story - but in no point did I get bored. I was riveted, and so connected to the characters and their stories that I teared up, especially in the good times, because I could literally feel how precious they were to these people.

Word of warning, though; this book will make you want to stock on food, water and batteries and really savor every pint if ice-cream and chocolate you get to eat. It will make you irrationally paranoid when you hear of earthquakes or tsunamis. And it will make you thankful you're not living in that version of our world... yet.  

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