An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew It Series #1)

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer I don’t like comparing works in reviews. Mostly because I never know if anyone reading this review has read both works, and it doesn’t seem fair to either work. However, I could not stop thinking about The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker and City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau while I was reading Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. You could easily read them as a progression (City of Ember is MG, Life As We Knew It is YA, The Age of Miracles is “adult” fiction).*Life As We Knew It is not as beautifully written as The Age of Miracles nor are the characters as likeable as those in City of Ember. But it’s a good story if you can get past the first few chapters.Life As We Knew It is the diary of Miranda, an average sixteen-year-old living in Pennsylvania, in which she documents her life immediately before and following a meteor strike to the moon which pushes the moon closer to the earth. At the beginning, Miranda read more as a twelve-year-old than a sixteen-year-old to me. After finishing the novel I see how her voice at the beginning is meant to highlight her growth and the change in her life, but the portrayal of Miranda’s shallowness is too heavy-handed at the start. It made me not want to finish the book.Once I got past the first few chapters though, I really got into the story. Sometimes I wondered about the format. There’s a lot of dialogue for journal entries. It’s mostly written as a normal novel would be with a few journal-y things thrown in here and there. It’s not so annoying, and the story doesn’t suffer because of the journal entry structure. However, I don’t think it benefits from it either.I have no idea what would happen to Earth if the moon were moved closer to us. And maybe the scenario Pfeffer sets up in Life As We Knew It is implausible. However, I didn’t find myself questioning the science as I was reading it.** The book might seem a bit slow for disaster fiction. Miranda and her family are very isolated from the world for most of the book. But I think it works. Most of the story is about the day-to-day drudgery of Miranda’s life and her personal growth after the disaster. Her uncertainty of her family’s future. The uncertainty of what’s happening in the world. The possibility that they might be the only people left at the end of everything.The book is very readable (once I got into it I read it straight through in an afternoon). The situation was more interesting to me than the characters. As cheesy as it might sound it made me think about the things I value and the things I take for granted. I found it interesting enough that I’ll probably read the companion novels (The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In) at some point.*I might even include The Road by Cormac McCarthy in this little list.**I never found the science in The Age of Miracles believable. It was my biggest criticism of that book.