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

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

by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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Overview

Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew It Series #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Susan Beth Pfeffer has written several companion novels to Life As We Knew It, including The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152061548
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/01/2008
Series: Life As We Knew It Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 347
Sales rank: 1,458
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times best-selling novel Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for several state awards, and its companion books, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In, and The Shade of the Moon. She lives in Middletown, New York.

Read an Excerpt

one

May 7
   Lisa is pregnant.
   Dad called around 11 o’clock to let us know. Only Mom had already taken Jonny to his baseball practice and of course Matt isn’t home from college yet, so I was alone to get the big news.
   “The baby is due in December,” Dad crowed, like he was the first guy in the history of the world with a younger second wife about to have a baby. “Isn’t that great! You’re going to have a little brother or sister. Of course it’s too soon to tell what it’s going to be, but as soon as we know, we’ll tell you. I wouldn’t mind another daughter myself. The first one I had turned out so wonderfully. How’d you like a baby sister?”
   I had no idea. “When did you find out?” I asked.
   “Yesterday afternoon,” Dad said. “I would have called you right away but, well, we celebrated. You can understand that, can’t you, honey? A little private time for Lisa and me before letting the world know.”
   “Of course, Daddy,” I said. “Has Lisa told her family?”
   “First thing this morning,” he replied. “Her parents are thrilled. Their first grandchild. They’re coming for a couple of weeks in July, before you and Jonny visit.”
   “Are you going to call Matt and tell him?” I asked. “Or do you want me to?”
   “Oh no, I’ll call,” Dad said. “He’s busy studying for his finals. He’ll be glad for the interruption.”
   “It’s great news, Dad,” I said, because I knew I was supposed to. “Be sure to tell Lisa how happy I am for her. And you, too. For both of you.”
   “You tell her yourself,” Dad said. “Here she is.”
   Dad muffled the phone for a second so he could whisper something to Lisa and then she took the phone. “Miranda,” she said. “Isn’t it exciting!”
   “Very,” I said. “It’s wonderful news. I’m really happy for you and Dad.”
   “I was thinking,” she said. “Well, I know it’s way too soon and I haven’t even discussed this with your father yet, but would you like to be the baby’s godmother? You don’t have to answer right away, but do think about it, all right?”
   That’s the problem I have with Lisa. Whenever I want to get mad at her, or just irritated because she really can be immensely irritating, she goes and does something nice. And then I can understand why Daddy married her.
   “Of course I’ll think about it,” I said. “You and Daddy think about it also.”
   “We don’t have to give it any more thought,” she said. “You should see the glow on your father’s face. I don’t think he could be any happier.”
   “I couldn’t,” Dad said, and I could tell from his laughter that he’d grabbed the phone away from Lisa. “Miranda, please say yes. It would mean so much to us for you to be the baby’s godmother.”
   So I said yes. I couldn’t exactly say no.
   After that we chatted for a while. I told Dad about my last swim meet and how I was doing in school. Mom still hadn’t come back by the time I finally got off the phone, so I went online to see what’s new with figure skating. The hot topic at Brandon Erlich’s fan site is how good his chances are to win Olympic gold. Most people think not very, but a lot of us think he has a real shot at medaling and ice is slippery and you never know.
   I think I’d like to take skating lessons again. I’ve missed it the past couple of years and besides, it’ll give me a chance to pick up news about Brandon. He isn’t being coached by Mrs. Daley anymore, but I bet she still hears stuff. And maybe Brandon’s mother would show up at the rink.
   When Mom got in, I had to tell her about Lisa. She just said that was nice and that she knew the two of them wanted children. She and Dad have worked really hard on making it a “good divorce.” Matt says if they’d worked half as hard on their marriage, they’d still be married. I didn’t tell her about how I’m going to be the godmother (assuming Lisa doesn’t change her mind, which she’s more than capable of doing). I feel kind of bad that I’m going to be the godmother but no one said anything about Matt or Jonny being godfathers. Of course Lisa and Matt don’t get along very well, and maybe 13 is too young to be a godfather.
   I hope Lisa changes her mind and I won’t have to deal with it.

May 8
   Not the greatest Mother’s Day ever.
   I’d told Mom a while ago that I’d make dinner and she decided to invite Mrs. Nesbitt. I can’t say I was surprised, but I figured if Mom was having Mrs. Nesbitt over I could ask Megan and her mom, too. Only when Jonny found out it was going to be me and Mom and Mrs. Nesbitt and Megan and Mrs. Wayne, he said that was too many females in one room for him and he was going to have dinner at Tim’s instead.
   Mom always thinks it’s a good idea for Jonny to spend time with Tim and his family because there are three boys and Tim’s father is around a lot. She said if it was okay with Tim’s folks it was okay with her.
   I called Megan and told her to bring her history notes with her and we’d study for the test together, and she agreed.
   Which is why I’m so mad at her. If she hadn’t said yes, it would be one thing. But she did and I made enough meatloaf for five and salad and then right before I started setting the table, Megan called and said she had decided to stay on at her church and do something with the youth group. She’d gotten the dates mixed up. And her mother didn’t feel like coming without her, so it was going to be two less for Sunday dinner and she hoped I didn’t mind.
   Well, I do mind. I mind because I’d been looking forward to all of us having dinner together and to studying with Megan. I also figured Mrs. Nesbitt and Mrs. Wayne would be good people for Mom to talk to about Lisa’s baby. Mom may not be best friends with Mrs. Wayne, but she’s funny and she would have gotten Mom laughing.
   Megan is spending so much time at her church. She goes to services every Sunday and she never used to and she does stuff with the youth group at least twice a week and sometimes more and for all her talking about how she’s found God, I think all she’s found is Reverend Marshall. She talks about him like he’s a movie star. I even told her that once and she said that’s how I talk about Brandon, like it was the same thing, which it isn’t at all. Lots of people think Brandon is the best skater in the U.S. right now and besides it isn’t like I talk about him all the time and act like he’s my salvation.
   Dinner was okay except I overcooked the meatloaf so it was a little dry. But Mrs. Nesbitt’s never been shy with the ketchup bottle. After a while I left her and Mom alone and I guess they talked about Lisa and the baby. I wish it was summer already. I can’t wait to get my driver’s license.
   I also wish I was through studying for my history exam. BORING!
   But I’d better get back to it. Bad grades, no license. The Rules According to Mom.

Copyright © 2006 by Susan Beth Pfeffer

What People are Saying About This

Booklist

"...Readers will respond to the authenticity and immediacy; each page is filled with events both wearying and terrifying and infused with honest emotions.  Pfeffer brings cataclysmic tragedy very close."  --Booklist (September 1, 2006)

From the Publisher

A 2011 ALA Popular Paperbacks Title

"Absorbing from first page to last."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Riveting and deeply frightening."—The Bulletin
"You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails."—Teenreads.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Life As We Knew It (Life As We Knew It Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 833 reviews.
A_IS_AMAZING More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh; Life As We Knew It is one of my favorite books ever! This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Miranda who lives a normal life for a teenager. Everything is going well in her life, and it¿s all good. But all of this changes one night when a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the Earth. After the meteor crashes, the ¿normal¿ way of life completely changes for everyone. There are catastrophes all around the world, like sickness, food shortages, and many natural disasters. Miranda has to let go of almost everything that she is used to, and she and her family have to struggle every day just to survive. I really love this book because it is written in Miranda¿s diary entries and it felt so real. Sometimes, I even felt like I was struggling along with the characters in the story. The only thing that disappointed me a little was the ending. But oh well, the rest of the book was great!
acsimps More than 1 year ago
The story is centered around sixteen-year-old Miranda's life after a meteor crashes into the Moon. Life as they knew it would never be the same. The collision pushes the Moon closer to Earth and causes tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.Thousands are dead within the first 24 hours and the numbers just keep rising as the book continues. Power outages as well as food, water, and fuel shortages all create a platform for the chaos that ensues. The story is told through journal entries where Miranda describes her life and the fate of her town over the course of a year. Miranda is living with her mother and two brothers (one older and one younger). Her father and his new pregnant wife live in another state (which is a cause for concern for Miranda throughout the story). To be honest the book is sort of scary in a way. It portrays a fairly realistic glimpse of how people would react if food and resources were suddenly scarce. For most people who read this book, this realistic portrayal will be what makes them love it. The constant death and destruction soon left me feeling depressed whenever I picked the book up. This book was pretty good. It has a good message behind it: "Appreciate what you have, because tomorrow it could be gone." But it was also kind of depressing. I recommend you flip through this one before you buy it. I will probably read the second and third books when I get around to it so I guess I liked it enough to do that. I hope this review is helpful! :) http://bringmeanotherbook.blogspot.com/
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
What would happen if a meteorite/asteroid hit the moon and knocked it closer to the earth? All hell would break lose, that's what! This book tells the story of just that and a small family's struggle to survive the aftermath of an epic natural disaster. I really liked this book and can't wait to read the next in the series. Highly recommended if you love books that have post-apocalyptic themes. I'm a sucker for them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutly LOVED this series. It's my second favorite series next to harry potter. It was the best and i would recomend it to EVERYONE!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It really makes you thankful for all that you have and reminds you not to take it for granted! If you are looking for a generally quick read with lots of emotion, than this book is for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really caught my attention. Miranda and her family were living a perfectly normal life until an asteroid hit the moon causing chaos and natural disasters all around the world. Millions or people are dying everyday. Imagine if one of your family member's name was on the Dead List? Imagine living with a handful or food to eat once a day. Brutal? This book is all about surging one day at a time. I liked how the events in the book were rrealistically written in diary entry forms from Miranda's point of view to get a good idea on what Miranda was thinking and feeling. However, I didn't like that there were so much tragedy and death. I recommend reading the rest of the series to know if they will survive in the end. If you like reading books that give you thrills and chills, this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, appeals to a wide-ranged audience. In my opinion, anyone from a preteen girl to a young adult man would enjoy this story, but not distinvtly everyone in this category. It could also appeal to some people outside of it. This novel is definitely a must-read. Have you ever wondered what would happen if your whole world was flipped for the worse? That¿s exactly what happens to Miranda. When the moon suddenly becomes hundreds of miles closer to the Earth, things only go downhill. Stores close down, oil runs out, gas is limited, and winter comes much sooner than expected. For the first time, Miranda, her mother, and her two brothers, Matt and Jonny, are forced to do everything the old-fashioned way, regardless of their terrible condition. In my opinion, this book was written very well and gives you the feelings as if you were in Miranda¿s world. It truly makes you think, ¿Could this really happen?¿ or ¿What would I do if I was in her situation?¿ I think that Pfeffer did a wonderful job at giving you several questions to ask yourself as to what might happen next and builds suspense very well. In all, this novel was very interesting. I believe it is one of those books where every chapter you say to yourself, ¿Maybe I¿ll just read one more.¿ You won¿t want to put it down! It ends with a twist that you¿ll never be able to predict or ever see coming. There is absolutely a reason why I gave Life as We Knew It five stars out of a possible five, and when you read it, I bet that you¿ll agree, too. Susan Beth Pfeffer tries and succeeds at making the plot extremely organized and suspenseful. My final opinion is that the book can¿t be judges by its cover because I liked the cover, but I loved what was on the inside so much more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life as we Knew it is about the life of a teenage girl Miranda Evans during an apocalypse. The setting is in Pennsylvania in present time. Miranda lives with her mom and two brothers, Matt and Johnny. Her dad and his fiancé, Lisa, are expecting a baby together. Miranda’s friends Samantha and Megan argue frequently. Nothing new. But when an asteroid hits the moon, life makes a turn for the worse. She and her family must quickly adapt to the apocalyptic conditions. For someone who doesn’t read science fiction often, I enjoyed this novel. The beginning was very slow. I thought that Miranda’s daily life before the asteroid disaster was very dull compared to the rest of the book. It was dull but it was tolerable and, fortunately, got a lot better. Things started to get interesting when her mother bought a big supply of groceries to prepare for the impact of the crisis. I enjoyed reading the journal entries with her thoughts and feelings about the the world coming to an end. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to teenagers who like to read science fiction and the apocalypse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
¿In Mirandas world, something important happens. An asteriod hits the moon and knocks it out of its orbit, moving it closer to the Earth, causing natural disasters of all kinds. No one is prepared for this, as calculations had made bad estimates of the density of the asteriods. Miranda and her family have to find a way to survive. ¿ I enjoyed this book. I couldnt put it down, for I felt there was always a possibility the characters would die. I even foundmyself wondering what I would need if this happened to my family. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book us great for anyone. It keeps you reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shocking ending love this flippin book
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of books about the end of the world. I'm not a morbid person but deep, deep down I do believe that something horrible could happen to the world as we know it. Fires, earthquakes, tsunamis (oh my!).I had to toss that in there to lighten it up a bit. Anyway, with the weird weather patterns and the fear of a pandemic, Life As We Knew It is not all that farfetched. Really. After the moon's position is compromised by a meteor hit, Miranda and her family do their best to survive in a world that is completely different from what they're used to. There are lots of things that I liked about this novel so I thought I'd stray from my usual format and make a list: Miranda, at age 16, is very much a sixteen-year-old but emotionally strong when she needs to be. Miranda's mom is a sensible woman. I've read so many of these types of books where the mom is just the stereotypical "mom" and lacks any kind of common sense. Not the case here. The family works together as a unit and it's believable. The other characters are actually important to the story and not just there to create conflict. Pfeffer paints a realistic picture of what could happen given such a catastrophe. These characters are hungry and you feel it. As Miranda longs for a hot shower, you are reminded of how wonderful hot water can be. I mentioned above that it's scary at times, scary as in "This could happen!" Even though the subject matter is grim, there is a strong sense of hope throughout the story. This is incredibly hard to do but Pfeffer does it effortlessly. Since this is a young adult book, I could easily see a teenager reading this and really thinking about how good they have it. As an adult, I know I spent many moments pondering what was on the page. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected it to be a page-turner, but I didn't expect to care about the characters as much as I did and I didn't expect to think about it days after reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for one of the best books of 2006, then look no further than Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. A wonderful tale of family love, loss, and survival, this is one story that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. There have been lots of changes in sixteen-year-old Miranda's life recently. Her older brother, Matt, is away at college. Her mom is still adjusting to being a divorced parent. Her younger brother, Jonny, is obsessed with baseball. And her dad and his new wife, Lisa, are expecting a baby. Dealing with all of that has been quite stressful, but Miranda's been thinking about getting back into ice-skating, and she's spending plenty of time mooning over her current hero/crush, Olympic-hopeful Brandon Erlich, a hometown hero. Miranda's also excited about the meteor that's headed towards the Moon. Some scientists predict a minor collision teachers predict plenty of extra homework dealing with the subjects of both Moon and meteors. For Miranda and her family, and for millions of others around the world, it simply sounds like a cool event you'll get to watch from your front yard through a pair of binoculars. What happens on that fateful night is something no one expected. The meteor does, in fact, collide with the Moon. However, the impact was stronger than anyone had previously thought possible, and immediately, all throughout planet Earth, the effects of that collision begin to be felt. Tides, which are controlled by the Moon, become erratic, causing deadly tidal waves. Fissures in the Earth's crust crack, causing earthquakes worldwide, even in places where no earthquakes had ever occurred before. Within twenty-four hours, it becomes apparent that thousands upon thousands of people have died, and that, with the Moon out of its normal orbit, many more deaths are sure to follow. This may sound like a depressing story, but in fact it's a story about hope and survival. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT follows Miranda and her family through nearly a year after the meteor's collision with the Moon, and all of the events that come after it--the power outages, the food shortages, the weather changes, and the loss of human contact. As Miranda and her family come to grips with this new way of living, their bodies and spirits will be tested more than they've ever been before. But this is ultimately a story about learning to survive with what you've got, and never taking what you have for granted. A wonderful, inspiring story, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT is one you'll want to read more than once. **Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka 'The Genius'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Life As We Know It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a suspenseful and mysterious book. The book “Life As We Know It” is a very detailed book to entertain readers about a 16-year old girl named Miranda and her family trying to survive an international disaster. It’s a great book to read from a girl’s point of view. It’s an inspiring and heartwarming story; it captured my mind in the first sentence. The book is vividly told from the first sentence to the resolution. The story began introducing the characters, 16 year old Miranda living with her divorced mother and little brother Johnny. Miranda is telling her story through her diary. Every day she writes in her diary and explains to the readers on what’s happening when the asteroid hits the moon. The moon was hit closer to the Earth causing tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions killing everyone around her. Miranda trying to support her family and stay alive as well through the international disaster is an entertaining piece to read. Miranda life flashed before her eyes, her whole life changed forever. Overall, the book was very well written, but the beginning is quite slow and dull. The suspenseful and exciting parts start in the middle of the story. I enjoyed reading this it was very vivid and detailed book. “Life As We Know It” is a book of many genres mystery, loving, and romantic. I truly think whoever reads this book will never regret it. This book is very excellent story to read. I enjoyed reading every single word; I couldn’t put the book down in some parts. The book was interesting and exciting just to live through that time of disaster would be hard for me. I loved reading this magnificent and mysterious story. I will read this book over and over again. I loved every minute, and every part of the story. The author really swept me off my feet; I will definitely read more books written by this author. “Life As We Know It” is a well written and outstanding book to read. Every part will snatch you up, and never let you put the book down. This story about a 16 year old girl named Miranda trying to survive with her family through an international disaster is a suspenseful, and astonishing. I will definitely read this book, and more books written by this author. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes suspense, romantic, mystery, and heartwarming stories. This story took me off my feet. “Life As We Know It” is one best books I have ever read.
Conoverjack More than 1 year ago
Excellent science fiction from an excellent writer. I can only hope this is made into a movie. If you like 'The Road' you will probably enjoy this immensely. Totally believable from beginning to end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is similar in theme to 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy, but geared toward teen readers like me. Miranda is a typical high school teenager with the usual worries and concerns, until a world-wide disaster turns her life upside down. It's both fascinating and heart wrenching to see how Miranda and everyone around her cope with the drastic changes. Some cope fairly well, while others are mentally (and physically) destroyed by the unexpected upheaval. This is one of those novels that stay with you because of the intensity of the writing and story. Whether you're young or old, Life as We Knew It is a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you put yourself in miranda's shoes... what would you do... is this even possible.... It makes you want to hug your family and tell them you love them... I read this book in a day... you can't put it down!!! Highly recomend this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago for a book report snd fell in love with it!! Absolutely wonderful, and just about scientifically accurate. Would definitely read again and again!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a lot of death and there wasn't a real happy ending because almost everyone died. Good book for people who like science and natural phenomena.
BookGirlR More than 1 year ago
I love apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction almost as much as I love the subject of the impending zombie apocalypse.  Life As We Knew It is intended for young adults.  It is set up as the diary entries of a girl named Miranda.  The dying, the horror and the bloodshed that would be sure to happen during this type of apocalypse are only hinted at.  The main focus of this apocalyptic novel is a teenage girl dealing with being a teenage girl in the midst of a disaster.  Miranda is attempting to deal with her parents being divorced, her father’s new wife having a baby, her brother away at college and whether or not she is going to take skating lessons again.  And, oh yeah, the moon has been knocked into a closer orbit, causing freak weather, erratic tides and electrical storms, meaning Life As We Knew It is over.  Pfeffer’s novel is excellent and I highly recommend it.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book, the author explores the idea that a meteor hit the moon and knocked it into a closer orbit. Food becomes scarce, millions die, and communications fail as the plot moves on. While you could argue that a TINY rock from space hitting the moon and drastically changing its orbit is against the laws of physics, the author wants to show what would happen and not demonstrate breaking simple laws of physics. My rating for this book is 4.5 stars ( A-). So buy this book and enjoy! --Please leave a comment at the bottom of your review telling me if you thought this was helpful-- -MRD15 Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this bookthe writer is genios and the plot is alwats turning its a great read for almoast any age !!!!!! I highly recomend it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good but a little boring. Relp to Smlies and tell me what u think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a very suspenceful novel. I injoyed the way the aother wrote this in a teens point of view. I found this book to have a slow and a little boring of a story line. It lead you thru the stuggles of a teens family to surrive thru natral disasters and hunger and also illness. Mrainda, the main carachter started leading a normal life in modern times . Then when a gigantic meteor hits the moon closer to earth. At first it was very fast paced then it slowed down to a shuttery crawl discribing mraindas every day life with little to no food. *WARNING* i thoght this book was edited by a five or six year old there was MANY mistakes , simple little ones like a random letter in the middle of a sentence. All in all i thought this book was ok, but it could have used a little more action. The books theme was a very good idea though. I recammened this book to 13-16 year olds some parts can be scary for younger children
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me reading until the very end!!!! I absolutelyloved the veiwpoint and i was up late so tha i could finish the book!! I would reccomend the book to anybody who likes post apocaliptic survival stories or any body who hs sieriously thought about the end of our civilization as we knew it today,'-