Life As We Knew It

I started hearing rumblings about Susan Beth Pfeffer’s The Dead & Gone a few weeks ago. When I read the premise of the novel I realized it was a companion to Life As We Knew It and soon ordered a copy from Scholastic. As a fan of science-fiction, I thought it sounded like a novel I would enjoy.

I began reading Life As We Knew It 3-4 days ago. Though it is not a long book, I could not rush through it. The story arc forced me to put the book down hours before I went to bed, for fear that I would have nightmares. The story is haunting and frighteningly realistic. Worst of all, it seems entirely possible. There were times I just could not bear to read any more.

Miranda is your average high school sophomore, with average teenage problems- her grades, friend problems, and anger at her divorced parents for favoring her brothers. She hardly thinks that the asteroid predicted to hit the moon is worth a mention in her journal, but everyone else disagrees. Her teachers are treating this as a historic event, and assigning homework of historic proportions to help their students appreciate it. The story, told through Miranda’s journal entries, captures life as she knows it. She barely mentions the asteroid, unless it is to complain about how it seems to be taking over people’s lives and inconveniencing hers. However, the asteroid becomes extremely important when it does crash into the moon, knocking it out of orbit.

It turns out that the scientists miscalculated the impact and the entire world is thrown into chaos. Miranda (and the rest of the world) never considered how much of our world is controlled by the moon’s gravitational pull. The tides, earthquakes, and even volcanoes are affected by the moon’s new orbit. Tsunamis destroy the coasts, volcanoes are erupting, disease and rioting begin to spread. Life as Miranda knew it is over. Suddenly, just surviving is a daily struggle. No electricity, a major food shortage, and rampant disease are just a few of the problems that Miranda records in her journal. The story is fascinating and completely pulls the reader in, keeping their heart racing throughout the novel.

I am still getting goosebumps, even after finishing Pfeffer’s book. It is, without a doubt, one of the most frightening books I have ever read. It all seems so real and all too possible. I can’t wait to read the companion novel, the dead and the gone.