Life As We Knew It came out in 2006 before Hunger Games really sparked the YA dystopian craze. It was a strong novel, about the effects on the earth’s climate when the moon gets knocked off its orbit. It stands on its own, and I was surprised when a 2nd book came out a couple years later. But what keeps this series fresh — especially this 4th offering which reinvigorates the whole story — is that the book is more about the event, not necessarily the characters.
The first novel followed 16-year-old Miranda and how the disaster affects her and her older and younger brothers. The second takes us to a different city with a whole different cast of characters. The 3rd brings the two sets of characters together.
The Shade of the Moon: Life As We Knew It Series, Book 4 looks at their lives in an enclave. Matt was selected to go live there with his stepmother and younger half-brother, because he was the youngest and had the most potential to realize. His mom Laura and sister Miranda are living outside the enclave, and are known as “grubs,” those who serve the “clavers” in the enclave or are workers within the grub town.
The story takes place 4 years after the incident, and things are just getting worse. The air quality is affecting everyone, the differences between those who have and those who have not create even more problems. This is Matt’s story, and he represents this conflict perfectly.
I also like that each book does stand on its own, which isn’t always the case in this type of series. At the end of this one, the door is definitely left open to another book in the series, and I’d say this is possibly the most “cliffhangy” ending of the series, but even so, it stands on its own, telling a complete story.
The first book is appropriate for a younger audience, as young as 5th or 6th grade, but the subsequent novels, including this one, are much more grim and explicit. There is murder, death by natural causes, and rape. These are good novels, but I’d only recommend them for readers at least 8th grade and up. Re-reading this paragraph and the topics I listed gave me pause about the age recommendation, but it’s handled in an appropriate way. Dystopian fiction is harsh, but I think that because it doesn’t have a realistic setting, it reads as fantasy and so it’s easier to digest.
Ms Yingling says
The social dynamics gave me a bit of pause and also catapult this into an older age range. The boys wouldn’t think of harassing a claver girl, but it’s okay to do to grubs, that sort of thing. Older students would be more able to put that in context.
Yeah, I told my 15 yo daughter I thought it was a lot more mature content-wise, and she agreed. The deaths really stood out to me, but she said that a lot of people died in all of them. Maybe murder was the difference. But I did think it was a very strong addition to the series and look forward to what’s next.
I have a great-niece, who is a freshman in high school, that I
think is age appropriate for this series…
Cindy Brooks says
I’d never heard of this series. I’d like to read it! Thanks for the age recommendations, too. I’m always looking for books to interest my 5th grade grandson. I think #1 here would be great for him!
This series is new to me and I know that my
great-nephew would enjoy reading it!
Im sorry I believe I read your summary wrong. You stated “Matt was selected to go live there with his stepmother…” and “This is Matt’s story..” in your review. I would like to make corrections as a fan and lover to this book series. Matt is the oldest brother who married a girl and lived hours away from his whole family. In The Shade of the Moon, the view point of the story is of Jon Evans, the youngest brother. In the book, it shows the struggles he faced from problems from the previous book, This World We Live In.