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

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

by Susan Beth Pfeffer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547550282
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/18/2011
Series: Life As We Knew It Series , #3
Pages: 252
Sales rank: 100,542
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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.

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.

What People are Saying About This

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 of the first two will thrill to this latest and the loose ending will leave them hoping for more."—Kirkus

"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."—SLJ

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This World We Live in 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 259 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.
Bookwyrm85 More than 1 year ago
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!
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a fourth book. Its called the shades of the moon and its coming out in August.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books ever!!!! Worth your time and money. So sad tho :(
Olivia Imre More than 1 year ago
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.
PirateBooty More than 1 year ago
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.
newbethlibrarian More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful series
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
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.
Cocopuffy More than 1 year ago
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.
Unkletom on LibraryThing 1 days ago
'This World We Live In', the third book in Susan Beth Pfeffer's Last Survivors series, actually picks up shortly after where the events in book one, 'Life As We Knew It', left off (Book two runs concurrently to book one.) While reading the books in order is advisable, I skipped 'The Dead & The Gone' and went directly from book one to book three and was still able to follow the story fairly easily. The Last Survivors series reminds me of a young adult version of Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'. Due to a natural disaster (covered in book one) the earth has become a very hostile place to live and those who have survived the first year are few and far between. Faced with the likely onset of a new ice age, the long term prospects for survival are bleak. Teenager Miranda Evans and her family struggle just to stay alive. Soon they are joined by others including Miranda's father and characters introduced in book two and we learn more about what is happening in the world through the eyes of people who have spent the past year on the road. As with book one, the story is presented in the form of diary entries written by Miranda. This is a challenging way to write this story as the readers cannot be told anything that Miranda doesn't know and all we learn is seen through the lens of Miranda's fears and attitudes. Pfeffer does an excellent job of staying true to the character and we see much of the snarkiness that one would expect of a young person facing such stressful circumstances cooped up in close quarters with other people. Overall, I enjoyed the story and appreciated the effort Pfeffer put forth to create this dystopian world. I did wonder about whether she was introducing a supernatural plotline when the doorbell rang twice in a house with no electricity. Possible, yes. Likely, no. Even so, I enjoyed and recommend 'This World We Live In'.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I've been waiting for this book to come out. I really liked Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone. I couldn't wait to see how the family was surviving a year after the disaster and to have the characters from the two books meet. Like Life as We Knew It, this book is told using Miranda's diary entries. Survival is still iffy at best and things are pretty dismal. I read it in a single sitting and the book will be gobbled up by fans of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I guess perhaps I should have read/listened to the first 2 books in the series before listening to this book but I didn&rsquo;t. I thought the book sounded interesting but I really wasn&rsquo;t that impressed. Again, perhaps if I had read the first books in the series, I might be more vested in the characters but I did try my best to engage in the story and the characters but in reality, I thought nothing actually happened during the whole story. I know that sounds horrible and I realize something did actually occur or I would not have listened to 6 CD&rsquo;s in my car but I felt that it could have all been condensed to perhaps one CD. The author did a wonderful job setting the story up for those who didn&rsquo;t read couple books. The characters are feeling the aftereffects of a major catastrophe as the moon was hit by a meteor and the world as we know it, no longer exists. Everyone is in survival mood, living off what they can find, scrambling to find anything. Rain, electricity and gas are hot commodities. Miranda is the main character and she got on my nerves immediately with her attitude, her moods constantly changing. When her father arrives with his wife and baby, this creates mixed emotions in the household. With limited resources stretched thin already, the family is excited about the new faces and new opportunities but now there are more mouths to feed. Miranda feels she is in love with Alex, a new individual who has arrived and as the outlook on the world looks dimmer, she feels this is her last opportunity at love. It&rsquo;s now or never and it&rsquo;s this attitude, her emotions and the other characters in her world that have me shaking my head. Go girl&hellip; whatever you want&hellip;.act and then think later&hellip;;s this mentality that makes me like the other characters more.
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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 More than 1 year ago
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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