This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It Series #3)

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Overview

It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

 

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his ...

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This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It Series #3)

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Overview

It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

 

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

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  • Life As We Knew It Series
    Life As We Knew It Series  

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Mary Ann Darby
A year after the moon has been thrown off course by a meteor, Miranda from Life as We Knew It (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006/VOYA October 2006) continues to write journal entries. Climate changes and natural disasters persist in making survival a daily ordeal. Miranda, her mother, and two brothers, Matt and Jon, are scraping by on subsistence rations, so when Matt brings home a new wife, Syl, and her father and stepmother show up with their baby and three other travelers, excitement is tempered by tension. Two of the travelers, Alex and Julie Morales (Dead and Gone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008/VOYA April 2008), have made their way back north still in possession of three passes to one of the elusive safe towns. Alex, however, plans to take Julie to a convent to keep her safe. He decides he should dedicate his life to God too, but as the relationship between Alex and Miranda changes from antagonistic to loving, tension and questions abound. A catastrophic storm changes everything, leaving more loose ends tinged with suspense and leaving room for a fourth installment in this series. Teens who have read the first two of these compelling apocalyptic novels will eagerly reach for the third. The coincidence of Miranda and Alex's lives crossing paths seems farfetched, but the main focus of survival amid the unending challenges spawned by the moon's shift supply plenty of suspense. The compassion and strength of individuals, questions of faith, and connections of the heart in the midst of constant turmoil combine to make this a thought-provoking read. Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby
Children's Literature - Carollyne Hutter
This is the third book in the apocalyptic trilogy that began with the books Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone. This book brings together Miranda and Alex, the two protagonists from the other books. The book deals with a bleak and desolate world, resulting from a meteor colliding with the moon and altering the earth's climate. Food is scarce, many neighbors have died, and the landscape is frozen. Miranda, her two brothers, and her mother are struggling to survive when Miranda's father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers. One of the strangers is Alex. Complications arise when Miranda develops feelings for Alex. To further aggravate an already desperate situation a tornado hits the town. The book can be read alone or with the others in the trilogy. It is full images of death and destruction and should not be read by those with a low tolerance for violence. Reviewer: Carollyne Hutter
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This companion to Life As We Knew It (2006) and The Dead and the Gone (2008, both Harcourt) brings together the teen protagonists of those books when Miranda Evans's father and stepmother arrive with their new baby and a trio of strangers, including Alex Morales. For the past year, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother have been living in the family home in Howell, PA, struggling to survive since an asteroid hit the Moon, destroying the Earth's climate and causing millions to die. Deeply religious, Alex is determined to see his younger sister, Julie, safely to a convent before joining a monastery himself. When Miranda and Alex fall in love, she tries to persuade him to stay with her. Then a tornado hits Howell with tragic consequences, and Miranda must make a choice that may drive Alex away forever. As the narrator, Miranda dominates the book, but both she and Alex are sympathetic characters with her independence a nice complement to his sense of honor. Characters such as Miranda's brothers, parents, and Julie play less of a role but are still likable and fully three-dimensional. It is a testament to the author's skill that This World We Live In can be read as a stand-alone novel. In fact, new readers might not even realize that the earlier titles exist. Fans of Miranda and Alex, however, will keep this installment flying off the shelves, and the ambiguous ending will make them clamor for a fourth book.—Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
Publishers Weekly
The protagonists of Pfeffer's novels The Dead and the Gone and Life As We Knew It join forces in this third installment of a harrowing saga set in the not so distant future. A year after the moon was thrown off course by a meteor, natural disasters and climate changes on Earth are still making mere existence a challenge. Miranda's family is barely scraping by on food rations when Miranda's father, stepmother, their baby, and three other refugees show up unexpectedly. Despite there now being more mouths to feed, Miranda's mother welcomes them, and Miranda finds herself falling in love with Alex, one of the refugees, as they spend hours together, scavenging abandoned houses for essentials. Pfeffer masterfully evokes the cold, colorless world in which her characters reside. Moments of relief are frequently tinged with horror, as when Miranda and Alex must bypass a rotting corpse to get to a horde of food. Still, hope is never completely extinguished. Throughout, readers will be moved by displays of compassion, strength, and faith as characters endure grim realities and face an uncertain future. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Palpable despair is dappled with tiny flares of hope in this third entry in Pfeffer's enthralling series about the aftereffects of a meteor strike on the Moon that has altered the earth's gravitational pull. Set a year after the cataclysmic event, the back story is efficiently summarized and readers are reintroduced to Miranda, the teen whose journal entries formed the narrative of the first installment. When her missing father returns, he brings many others with him, including Alex, the protagonist from the second in the series. The author once again creates an extremely satisfying blend of human drama and action. Grimly frightening imagery and spot-on depiction of day-to-day bleakness are emotionally potent. Unfortunately, the inevitable romance between Miranda and Alex is less so. Given the circumstances, it is believable that their relationship would be rushed, but the initial antagonistic tone set up between them still seems too easily resolved, resulting in a formulaic feel. However, fans of the first two will thrill to this latest and the loose ending will leave them hoping for more. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
* "The protagonists of Pfeffer's novels The Dead and the Gone and Life As We Knew It join forces in this third installment of a harrowing saga set in the not so distant future. A year after the moon was thrown off course by a meteor, natural disasters and climate changes on Earth are still making mere existence a challenge...Throughout, readers will be moved by displays of compassion, strength, and faith as characters endure grim realities and face an uncertain future."  —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Palpable despair is dappled with tiny flares of hope in this third entry in Pfeffer’s enthralling series about the aftereffects of a meteor strike on the Moon that has altered the earth’s gravitational pull...fans of the first two will thrill to this latest and the loose ending will leave them hoping for more."  —Kirkus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547248042
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Life As We Knew It Series , #3
  • Pages: 239
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

SUSAN BETH PFEFFER 's first two apocalyptic novels, Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone, were widely praised by reviewers as action-packed, thrilling, and utterly terrifying. Life As We Knew It received numerous starred reviews and honors and was nominated for many state awards. Ms. Pfeffer lives in Middletown, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

April 25

I’m shivering, and I can’t tell if it’s because something strange is going on or because of the dream I had or just because I’m in the kitchen, away from the warmth of the woodstove. It’s 1:15 a.m., the electricity is on, and I’m writing in my diary for the first time in weeks.

I dreamed about Baby Rachel. I dream about her a lot, the half sister I’ve never met. Not that I know if Lisa had a girl or a boy. We haven’t heard from Dad and Lisa since they stopped here on their way west, except for a couple of letters. Which is more than I got from anyone else who’s left.

Rachel was about five in my dream, but she changes age a lot when I’m sleeping, so that wasn’t disturbing. She was snuggled in bed and I was reading her a bedtime story. I remember thinking how lucky she was to have a real bedroom and not have to sleep in the sunroom with Mom and Matt and Jon the way I have for months now.

Then in the dream the lights went out. Rachel wanted to know why.

"It’s because of the moon," I said.

She giggled. A real little-girl giggle. "Why would the moon make the lights go out?" she asked.

So I told her. I told her everything. I explained how in May an asteroid hit the moon and knocked it a little closer to Earth, and how the moon’s gravitational pull got stronger, and everything changed as a result. There were tidal waves that washed away whole cities, and earthquakes that destroyed the highways, and volcanic eruptions that threw ash into the sky, blocking out sunlight, causing famine and epidemics. All because the moon’s gravitational pull was a little bit stronger than before.

"What’s sunlight?" she asked.

That was when the dream turned into a nightmare. I wanted to describe sunlight, only I couldn’t remember what the sky looked like before the ash blocked everything. I couldn’t remember blue sky or green grass or yellow dandelions. I remembered the words—green, yellow, blue—but you could have put a color chart in front of me, and I would have said red for blue and purple for yellow. The only color I know now is gray, the gray of ash and dirt and sadness.

It’s been less than a year since everything changed, less than a year since hunger and darkness and death have become so commonplace, but I couldn’t remember what life—life the way I used to know it—had been like. I couldn’t remember blue.

But there was Baby Rachel, or Little Girl Rachel, in her little girl’s room, asking me about how things were, and I looked at her, and she wasn’t Baby Rachel anymore. She was me. Not me at five. Me the way I was a year ago, and I thought, That can’t be. I’m here, on the bed, telling my half sister a bedtime story. And I got up (I think this was all the same dream, but maybe it wasn’t; maybe it was two dreams and I’ve combined them), and I walked past a mirror. I looked to make sure I was really me, but I looked like Mrs. Nesbitt had when I found her lying dead in her bed last fall. I was an old woman. A dead old woman.

It probably was two dreams, since I don’t remember Baby Rachel after the part where I got up. Not that it matters. Nothing matters, really. What difference does it make if I can’t picture blue sky anymore? I’ll never see it again, anyway, or yellow dandelions or green grass. No one will, nowhere on Earth. None of us, those of us who are still lucky enough to be alive, will ever feel the warmth of the sun again. The moon’s seen to that.

But horrible as the dreams were, they weren’t what woke me. It was a sound.

At first I couldn’t quite place it. I knew it was a sound I used to hear, but it sounded alien. Not scary, just different.

And then I figured out what the sound was. It was rain. Rain hitting against the roof of the sunroom.

The temperature’s been warming lately, I guess because it’s spring. But I couldn’t believe it was rain, real rain, and not sleet. I tiptoed out of the sunroom and walked to the front door. All our windows are covered with plywood except for one in the sunroom, but it’s nighttime and too dark to see anything anyway, unless you open the door.

It really is rain.

I don’t know what it means that it’s raining. There was a drought last summer and fall. We had a huge snowstorm in December and then another one later on, but it’s been too cold and dry for rain.

I probably should have woken everyone up. It may never rain again. But I have so few chances to be alone. The sunroom is the only place in the house with heat, thanks to the firewood Matt and Jon spent all summer and fall chopping. We’re in there together day and night.

I know I should be grateful that we have a warm place to live. I have a lot to be grateful for. We’ve been getting weekly food deliveries for a month now, and Mom’s been letting us eat two meals a day. I’m still hungry, but nothing like I used to be. Matt’s regained the strength he lost from the flu, and I think Jon’s grown a little bit. Mom’s gotten back to being Mom. She insists we clean the house as best we can every day and pretend to do some schoolwork. She listens to the radio every evening so we have some sense of what’s happening in other places. Places I’ll never get to see.

I haven’t written in my diary in a month. I used to write all the time. I stopped because I felt like things were as good as they were ever going to get, that nothing was going to change again.

Only now it’s raining. Something’s changed. And I’m writing again.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 253 )
Rating Distribution

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(149)

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(54)

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(32)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 255 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

    A year has passed since a meteor collided with the moon, sending it closer to the earth, and forever changing the world. In LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, Miranda chronicles the events her family experiences as they struggle for survival during dramatic weather changes, loss of friends, and dangerous food shortages.

    The companion novel, THE DEAD & THE GONE, follows the hardships of Alex and his sisters in New York City. The author paints a more gruesome side of life in this installment. One that stays with the reader long after the book is closed.

    THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN brings the two stories together.

    Once again, we see Miranda at home with her mother and two brothers as they continue to eke out a living. They find ways to deal with lack of food, poor air quality, cold temperatures, and no electricity. Even though they are doing okay now, Miranda knows it won't always be like this. The food deliveries might stop and then what would they do? Miranda's mother rejects any suggestion of leaving , but Miranda knows there will come a time when they'll have no choice.

    Miranda's brothers leave for a fishing trip in an attempt to supplement the provisions they receive weekly from town. Matt and Jon bring back a lot more than fish. While fishing, they run into a band of travelers including Miranda's father, his new wife, Lisa, and their new baby, Gabriel. Also traveling with them is a man named Charlie and a brother and sister named Alex and Julie. As if that weren't enough, Matt meets a girl named Syl and claims her as his wife.

    If supplies were dangerously low before, adding six more people to the mix made it downright frightening. Everyone struggled - with issues of privacy, issues of jealously, and issues of conscience.

    THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN returns the reader to the first-person diary format of LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. Miranda documents her changing life as she talks about her growing family, her complicated feelings for Alex, and the grotesque discoveries that still seem to pop up even after a year. Their lives settle into a new routine until an unthinkable disaster rips through town. Miranda and her family are forced to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives if they want to survive in the world they live in now.

    Susan Beth Pfeffer gives her readers what they've wanted. Personally, I'm very glad she went back to the first-person diary format. Even though there were times Miranda seemed at bit too whiny and I wanted to strangle Alex, I'm happy with the ending of the book.

    If this series is new to you, please begin by reading LIFE AS WE KNEW IT followed by THE DEAD & THE GONE. You won't be able to understand the full impact of what these characters are going through in THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN without knowing a little about their backgrounds.

    30 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hopefully not the last in series!!

    I really enjoyed this book. I read the other 2 as well, and was very glad this book was continued in Miranda's perspective. That's one of the main reasons I like this series so much, it doesn't feel like I'm reading fiction. It feels like I'm reading the diary of a real 16 year old girl, and re-living the extraordinary events through her perspective. It feels very real. If I knew for sure whether or not there was going to be another book, I'd "love" this book rather than just "like". If this is indeed going to be the last book then I'd have to say the ending sucks. Nothing was resolved. I know that in a series like this you don't necessarily get a "happily ever after", but things definitely could have been more settled. The ending is just begging for another book, and hopefully the author gives us one!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    ¿

    She is going to write a fourth one. Yay

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    To person who commented before me

    There is a fourth book. Its called the shades of the moon and its coming out in August.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Great

    Wonderful series

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Sci fi fan

    Epic freakin series this book should've been a lot longer though ok first off she blends the characters from the first to together it is very dark and depressing just the way i <3 my books tears. trickled down my cheeks. i had high hope for this family and they made it this far. I could not stop thinking about this book series. I layed awake with it constantly on my mind i need 2 read this again

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Love it

    One of my favorite books ever!!!! Worth your time and money. So sad tho :(

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Spoiler

    I loved the series! I think Alex and miranda both deserved love. But seriously Matt? Some sort of Russian chick called Slyvia yu picked up from a motel!!?

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it

    I so want to see book four, but it looks like the author is only writing short stories that star some of the characters. I just want to know what happens. The ending left everyone that loves this series hanging in mid air.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Its over?

    This book gripped me more than the first two. I guess I just prefer Miranda to everyone else. She is a survivor. The author ends the series with tragedy and almost zero closure. For whatever reason I still liked it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Good conclusion...?

    It was good, but there should be another book after this telling what happens to the earth. Not the best way to end a series... that's just my opinion.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Unfulfilling Conclusion to Fascinating Series

    I loved Life As We Knew It, wasn't so hot about The Dead and the Gone, and was thrilled to have Miranda back as narrator in this one, and, as I got more into the book, I wondered when Alex was going to show up, since I knew that was the premise of this book. And then he did. I just don't like him. And I really don't like the romance thing. He's a jerk. And he's the only boy around who isn't her brother. That doesn't equal mad, passionate, I'm-going-to-leave-my-family-for-him love.&lt;br/&gt;And don't even get me started about the ending. Besides the whole big decision Miranda has to make, If she writes another book in the series: SELLOUT. If she doesn't, What the Hell is up with the cliff-hanger?! I was really enjoying this third book until the last third of it. I enjoy speculating about how people would survive in this world. I enjoy seeing how these characters that I care about do. But I have to say, now that I've finished it, I'm leaving it with a tear-stained face, not least due to Miranda's poor decision-making skills, throwing her family under the bus, and very disappointed.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Emotional

    I thought it was a very emotional book. The girl in the story is facing many challenges and trying to pick between family and love. I loved it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    Just okay

    Do not read this book without reading the first one, preferably two. You will not understand enough of the background to enjoy the story.

    The third installment of Pfeiffer's "The Last Survivors" series returns to Miranda and her family, who are continuing to survive in the world post-moon impact. They find new ways to survive, as Matt finds a wife and Miranda's father returns to their world - with some guests in Alex and Julie.

    Miranda is once again the one communicating through her journal entries, a refreshing change from Alex's stiff third-person narrative in "the dead and the gone". However, the darker mood of "the dead and the gone" is continued in "The World as we Knew It". There are far more tragedies and shocks to Miranda's psyche in this novel. This is perhaps a more realistic view of the way things are in this dystopic reality.

    The plot line is shaky and has an unlikely twist, without advancing the storyline very far from the original book. However, in Miranda's character there are signs of maturity and a true adaptation to her situation. Though the other characters demonstrate surface development, Miranda is the only one who seems to really develop and change. Alex, though the entirety of the second novel was devoted to him, was practically ignored.

    Though the concept is interesting, it has become tired, without enough character or plot development to make this novel a strong addition to the first. If I hadn't been so curious to discover more about how Miranda is living, I wouldn't have bothered finishing it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    The Demigod Twins (Part 20)

    We arrived in New York about two hours later. I somehow feel asleep again, without dreams. My neck finally stopped hurting. I was stiff and tired. I said good-bye to the pegisi and grouped Shelby, Jax, Ian, Well, Tina, Michael, and Ethan. I would be ready to go home, if I had one. I just need to get everyone to Camp Half-Blood, and to a place called Camp Jupiter for the Romans in the group. We found two cabs for us to go to Long Island. I paid the cab I was in which Michael, Tina, and my mysterous brother, Ethan. We had to walk to the valley from a road away. We were scratched up from a fight with a police officer that were actually was a hydra we met before the taxi ride. We took the sign that we were being followed by Arus's allies. We walked quickly to the camp entrence. I made sure everyone went before me. I did not want anyone else captured. I did a quick scan of the area. No one there. I do not know when, but my knee started to hurt. Tina and Ethan noticed me limping. "Anna, are you okay?" Ethan asked. "I'm fine," i said. "Go on in without me." "We are staying here with you," said Tina. I sighed. Tina could be stubborn, like me. "Fine! Help me in," I told her. She and Ethan helped me walk towards the white pine tree. Tina's half sister's spirt once kept the tree alive, guarding the camp border from monsters and mortals. Now the Golden Fleece, which my half brother, who is on a quest to stop the earth goddess (can't cause chaos which the name), and haven't seen him but once in a dream, the only time I saw him. It gave me strengh to think of a relative doing great things. Suddenly, a hand grabbed the back of my shirt. I knew it grabbed Tina and Ethan in the other hand. "I found you! Now I can use the best weapon around...... you!"

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    In with a bang out with a whimper...

    After reading the first two books in this series, I was hugely disappointed with this book. The author returned to the writing style of the first book, the first person narrative. This book also tied the previous books together, which I was excited about. However, the characters in this book were almost unrecognizable as the characters from the previous books. Overall the author didn't seem all that interested in further developing the characters, and this whole book felt rushed. This book was in fact much shorter than the second book, which wouldn't have been noticeable if the story was well written. Unfortunately, after looking at the final product, the author comes across as lazy. Or maybe she was just burnt out after writing such emotionally charged books before this one. I'm going to assume the latter, since she did such an amazing job with the first two books. The first two books were ended without resolving the lives of the characters involved, but it was done in such a way that you as a reader were going to silently cheer them on, this one was left as a cliffhanger, but it felt like the author simply ran out of steam. I wish the author had just left this series at two books, or intended to write more in the series. Having what was previously an amazing series end on such a low note is disappointing. If you loved the first two books, I would suggest skipping this one, as it taints the entire series. You would not be missing out. J.K. Rowling may have done a disservice to her peers, but a service to readers everywhere. The bar is set high for a series to keep up a consistent quality.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    My fave

    Accidently read this part first. When i realized this had to be part of a seiries i was still hooked and couldnt put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    In the book"This World We Live In" the narrators name

    In the book&quot;This World We Live In&quot; the narrators name is Miranda she is 17 years old loves to read and help her family survive.Miranda lives with her mom and her two siblings Matt and Jon.Matt is the oldest and the craziest throughout the story he does some unexpected things.Jon is the youngest he is quiet and hard to satisfy, and Lisa is the mom she makes sure everyone survives and also sacrifices everything to make that happen.The main conflict in this story is an astreroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to earth blocking the sun  which makes the the earth frozen and gray, this character vs nature conflict changes her view in life and her life style.
     I liked this book because it makes u think about if this event every occurred and how I would deal with it , and I also like how the author makes every second better and better by putting suspense and feat ail in every event. For example her mom almost drowned trying to clean water out of her basement and passed out .Also another event is when they ran low on food and her brothers went out to fish for shed Matt brings back a girl and marries her. Finally there was another ever to where Miranda's dad comes back with three people plus his wife and a baby. I would recommend this book for all high schoolers and adults that are in to science fiction books because it's an amazing book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Must read

    This book was really good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    Love this

    This series is one of the only series i actually liked. Its suspensefull and entertaining. I cant wait to read the next book

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