Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it

The three following books are a series.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew ItOne evening in May, an asteroid collides with the moon, knocking the moon closer to Earth. Such begins a chain of events that will completely change the world. Tsunamis crash into the coasts, drowning miles of land. Earthquakes shake the earth, toppling buildings and creating canyons. The weather changes with torrential thunderstorms and increasing temperatures. Then volcanoes erupt, darkening the sky.

Miranda and her family live on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvanian town. As she writes in her journal, Miranda tells how life changes. What seemed like just another excuse for extra homework, and barely a mention in her journal soon takes over as gas and food shortages, electricity outages and major weather changes affect life. Summer quickly turns into a very early winter full of gray blizzards and deep cold and Miranda and her family hold on to a slim glimmer of hope that they will live until spring, all the while wondering about her father and his pregnant wife.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors, Book 2)On that fateful May night when the moon moved closer to Earth, Alex Morales comes home from work thinking that life is normal. His sisters tell him about the moon and that their mother was called into work at the hospital. They expect her home the next day and their father to arrive home from a family funeral in Puerto Rico just a few days later.

Neither one of their parents are seen again.

With their parents missing and their older brother away in the military, it is up to Alex to care for his younger sisters. Knowing that food will be scarce, he takes the opportunity to send one of his sisters to a convent upstate where she will be provided for in exchange for helping the nuns with their farm. When she returns home a few months later with severe asthma, developed after volcanic ash covered the skies, it is up to Alex and their younger sister to do what they can to ensure the survival of all three siblings.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3)It has been nearly a year since an asteroid hit the moon, and Miranda, her brothers and their mother have managed to survive. After a trip to a river miles away, her older brother brings back more than just bags full of fish, causing some conflict in the family. Then, her father, his wife and their baby show up at their doorstep…along with three strangers. Miranda continues to chronicle life after the moon moved – and her feelings towards the quiet Alex Morales. As she struggles with her feelings towards Alex, her family works towards rebuilding their lives to include the new arrivals and to ensure the survival of their future: Miranda’s baby sibling.

Yet even though Alex has feelings for Miranda, a vow keeps him from staying with the Evans’ families adding more complications to an already complicated life.


The premise of the story, though I recommend reading them during a bright sunny day, not over several a very gloomy and rainy “spring” days as I did. Talk about depressing!

Miranda’s diaries, though in the third book her desire to keep them hidden from everyone gets annoying.

Miranda – at least in the first book. She is a teenager and acts like one. She misses the things that she expected to have – Friends. School. A life outside of her house and her immediate family. She fights with her mother and gets angry with others just as any teen would.

In book 2, I really like how Alex’s youngest sister evolves from a petulant preteen into a confident young woman – even if she matures much too quickly.

Alex’s friend Kevin. He’s cynical and has some questionable tendencies, but when it comes down to it he is a wonderful friend.


Alex. In the second book, when we first meet him, he has no personality traits that stick out other than his Hispanic machismo (i.e. his sisters must do all the cooking and cleaning). He keeps everything to himself, including important events that directly affect his sisters. I often wanted to smack him upside the head.

In book 3 he doesn’t get much better. His fixation on the vow he made – regardless of what may be best for him and his family – is just annoying. Actually, he was just annoying all together.

Miranda’s feelings for Alex. It was almost as if overnight she went from seeing him as a prat (my word for him…not hers) to seeing him as the love of her life. Totally unbelievable.


I want them to make a movie out of the 1st book. The other two can be made into sequels…but please give Alex a personality!

I listened to all three books on audiobook. The narrator of the first and third books was decent. She sounded about how you would expect Miranda to sound, and did an okay job with differentiating between characters. The narrator of the second book…not so much. His voice was much deeper than I expected for a book about a teenage boy and his younger sisters. Also, all of the female characters sounded rather male. It was distracting.

On a completely unrelated to reading note, when I think of this series the song "It's the End of the World" by REM starts playing in my head.

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