Life As We Knew It

This is the first book in a trilogy called the Moon Crash Trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I had heard nothing of it until I picked up the third book in B&N one day, intrigued by the cover (all 3 books have a large moon prominently featured). After I discovered that it was a trilogy, I was excited to find that B&N had the first book for $1.99 in a large online sale a few weeks ago.

The story begins in Spring–school is ending for Miranda and her classmates, and their teachers keep assigning homework related to astronomy because the news has been reporting that an asteroid is on collision course with the moon. No one is worried about the crash, just intrigued, until the night of the collision. The asteroid is denser than astronomers realize, knocking the moon closer to Earth and resetting the gravitational field. Of course, tsunamis wipe out the coastlines of America, earthquakes rumble all over the world, and long-dormant volcanoes begin erupting.

The story is told by 16-year-old Miranda through her diary as she, her mother, and her brothers struggle to survive the aftermath. Pfeffer does a great job of lending a sense of isolation to the setting–isolation that frustrates them, but eventually saves their lives. Miranda is also a good protagonist, I think–sometimes, she’s a selfish teenager, but other times, she’s a fighter, just as she needs to be.

I only had a few issues with the books, and those were mostly with writing style. First, I don’t think Pfeffer wrote urgently enough for the initial crash. It was a very quick scene–block party atmosphere with neighbors watching the sky, crash, oh-know-the-moon-is-closer, panic, sing national anthem, go inside to listen to the news. Maybe I was reading too fast, but the catastrophic event needed a few more pages of description.

Other times, specific details would have been nice. For example, Miranda burns pages of her textbook at one point, and she goes through the thought process of whether she should burn them or not before deciding to. But she never writes down which textbooks she chose. All the thought process involved, and she should have at least said something like. “I hate science. That will be the first to burn.” There’s beauty in the details.

All in all, though, I found this to be quite enjoyable. I started reading yesterday afternoon and finished this morning, so it’s a quick read, as well as being engrossing. The second book, The Dead and the Gone, is actually a companion novel, with characters in New York City who experience the aftereffects of the moon crash. Then, the final book, which was released in April brings those characters to Pennsylvania to meet Miranda. I’m very much looking forward to the final two books (and I’ll probably leave soon to go buy the second one!).


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