cover image Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It

Susan Beth Pfeffer, . . Harcourt, $17 (337pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205826-5

When an asteroid collides with the moon, causing natural disasters—tidal waves, volcanoes, earthquakes and climate changes—on Earth, life as 16-year-old Miranda knows it will never be the same. Suddenly, things she has taken for granted—electricity, news from the outside world and three square meals a day—are a thing of the past. Thanks to her mother's foresight and preparedness, Miranda and her two brothers are better off than many families in their Pennsylvania community. They have a pantry filled with canned goods and plenty of logs to fuel their wood-burning stove. Yet their situation becomes more critical as other unexpected disasters arise. The book may be lengthy, but most readers will find it absorbing from first page to last. This survival tale by the author of The Year Without Michael celebrates the fortitude and resourcefulness of human beings during critical times. The story unfolds through Miranda's journal entries, from May, when the asteroid strikes, to the following March. Though the entries paint a grim picture of a rapidly shrinking civilization ("I write stuff down in here and I don't read it. Things are bad enough without having to remind myself of just how bad things are," she explains), her words also evoke a strain of hope which proves to be her most essential survival tool. Miranda's changing priorities, undying love for her family and heightened appreciation of simple pleasures will likely provoke discussion and inspire gratitude for life as we know it now. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)