I loved the first book in the “Last Survivors” series by Susan Beth Pfeffer Life As We Knew It. Amanda read it last year when it was nominated for our state’s book award. Then because she loved it, I listened to the audiobook. It made for a good audio “read,” because it’s in the first person. Sixteen-year-old Miranda’s point of view is strong as she journals her family’s life after a meteor collides with the moon, wreaking havoc with weather patterns, electricity, and everything that used to be normal. Pfeffer’s reach at imagining what the issues would be in this post-disaster world are creative and compelling.
I didn’t even know that there was another book about this crisis, but I heard that a third book was being published this Spring, so I went back and read The Dead and the Gone. It was harder for me to get into, because I felt like it was the same story, second verse. It takes us to New York City, where 17-year-old Alex and his two sisters are left to fend for themselves after the disaster, not knowing where their parents are. At first, I missed the novelty and originality of Pfeffer’s vision as it played out in the first novel. But once I got into it, I enjoyed this installment and just as much as the first. As opposed to the small town that Miranda lived in, living in New York City did create different obstacles for Alex and his family.
This World We Live In (April 2010) brings together the characters we know from the first two books. Life goes on but is still far from normal. The story continues to progress with original thought-provoking occurrences. I’m assuming that it’s the last, but the story could definitely continue on with these characters, so I’m not sure. Sometimes in a series, the characters grow stale, acting only in ways you would predict. But in a year’s time, Pfeffer manages to create real growth and tension and a wonderful story arc.
If you (or your tween or teen) like dystopian literature such as The Hunger Games, then I can highly recommend this series.
Jennifer Donovan lives in Connecticut where she can count on having electricity 24-hours-a-day, and doesn’t have to worry about food shortages. She blogs at Snapshot.