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

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Read Feb 25, 2016 – Mar 8, 2016
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 337

Synopsis from the back of the book:
“When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the Earth, nothing will ever be the same. Worldwide tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that’s just the beginning.”

I have very mixed feelings about this book. Going into it, the premise really lured me in. When I think ‘post apocalyptic book’, I think ‘after’, not ‘as it’s happening’, so it was nice to read a story that started during a normal time, if that makes sense.

In that way at least, I enjoyed this book. The premise as stated was really cool (and horrifying) and the things that the family did to survive in this book got me thinking about where I’d go if that same thing happened during my lifetime, and I have to say that I feel like I’ll end up as one of those people that dies right away. But anyways.

This book is written in the form of diary entries by a sixteen year old girl. And it definitely feels like it. The writing is on the level of a 16 year old, which normally would have bothered me, but I attributed it to fitting the character. The character, while she tried, was really irritating at times, which detracted from my liking of the book. She was selfish to the point where she would get angry about losing ‘personal space’ so her family could stay warm in the winter. I rolled my eyes a few different times while reading from her perspective. The other characters in the book, even her younger brother, seemed to be developing at a better pace, adjusting better to the situation, but not Miranda. That scene I mentioned where she got angry, that happened within the last hundred pages of the book.

There were two other major detractors about this book. One is the plot twists. Everything that happened either the characters knew about ahead of time and were still caught off guard by when they occurred, or the instances were totally predictable. I feel like the author used a couple of these incidents as a plot device to make things harder on the family in the book. I mean, one person managed to injure themselves in the same way twice, resulting in the same strife for the rest of the family each time. You’d think there’d be a bit more creativity there.

The other major detractor was something that kind of caught me off guard. Back a while ago, a friend noticed I was reading this book and said “What, no, don’t read that, it’s awful” and now I see why she thought so. I feel like the author put her opinions into the book for no other reason than to have them in there. The main character is rather anti-religious and it’s mentioned quite a lot towards the beginning of the book. That on its own is fine – I’m not going to judge what a person (or character) chooses to believe or not believe. But I feel like the author is anti-religious to the point where she put this theme in her book just so she could bash religion and those who practice it. Case in point, one of Miranda’s friends is very religious and this friend (and her pastor) are portrayed in such a negative light that it was cringeworthy to read. I mean sure, there are bad eggs in every religion, but the way this was written, there was not a single character that didn’t represent the ‘crazy’ side of religion and overall the book said ‘Having a religious faith when the world is coming to an end is awful, why would anyone do that’. I mean really. Religious or not, one has to acknowledge religion’s importance in the world. It gives people comfort and you know, the majority of religious people are good, kind-hearted individuals (no matter what the media wants you to believe). But apparently not in this book.

So yes. It really put me off. The general messages of this book I think were not good. The plot was neat, the moral character was not. Though in the main character’s defense, she did become more tolerable towards the end. Maybe just enough to make me want to read the second book, but I’m still undecided on that. I won’t buy it, that’s for sure. I might get it from the library or something. But buh. This book. It had so much promise, but the ‘this is what you should feel, this other way is crazy’ messages it sent were so juvenile.

Here’s to hoping the author recognizes that she’s being completely biased in her future books, but we’ll see what happens.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars