Review of ‘Life As We Knew It’

Life As We Knew It follows Miranda as she navigates a world in catastrophe when a meteor hits their moon, knocking it into a closer orbit.


Life As We Knew It
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Clarion Books

Life As We Knew It is a unique take on the dystopian genre. It follows the events of a meteor knocking the moon closer to Earth through the eyes of a teenage girl. Written in a diary format, the tone grounds the reader in the events through Miranda’s eyes.

Miranda’s voice was one the strongest as it is her voice that drives the story forward, her voice that is writing the journal entries. But Pfeffer did not just stop there. Pfeffer focuses on building up those familial dynamics as she sets the stage for the story.

A major catastrophe has occurred and is affecting their home and the planet in ways no one could have predicted. From massive tsunamis, unusual volcanic activity, long winters and hotter than hot summers, and rolling blackouts, Miranda lives in the middle of nowhere, leaving them with just each other to look out for and trust in.


It is a high-tension story seen through the eyes of a young girl, and to not only be able to capture that tension but bring it to life with such realism is an accomplishment. The story feels so real when reading it that it is easy to forget that it is a work of fiction. But then again, natural disasters are not uncommon, which is part of what makes the struggle for survival here even more compelling.

Yes, they are trying to survive a new world where the moon is closer to the Earth, but tsunamis, lightning storms, floods, and cold winters are actual events with devastating effects, and to see them play out here, grips the reader.

Miranda’s voice, her bonds with her family, and her understanding of this new world all work together to bring the story alive. We see the stress in her mother; we understand it, even if the teenage mind does not. But the fact that Miranda just wants to be a kid and does not quite understand this new world initially makes the story believable. Miranda is a kid, and it is essential for the story’s believability for her to sound like a kid.

Final Thoughts

Pfeffer did a fantastic job with Life As We Knew It. This is one of the most believable dystopian novels out there, as it perfectly captures the tension and voice of the characters.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: May 1, 2008Page Count: 352ppAge Range: 12 & Over
ISBN: 978-0-1520-6154-8Publisher: Clarion BooksList Price: $9.99

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