Thursday, May 19, 2011

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Release Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. Miranda and her two brothers spend their days scavenging for food and household items, while their mother stays at home and desperately tries to hold on to the ordinary activities of their previous life. But they all know that nothing is truly normal in this surreal new world they live in. 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. –

I fell in love with this series with the very first book, Life As We Knew It.  I devoured the second and then eagerly anticipated this final book in the series.  Susan Beth Pfeffer has written a heartwrenching series that really pulled at my gut and had me near tears so many times.

It was hard for me to imagine the hardships that these characters had to endure in this story, but it was also scary to imagine how easy these events could actually take place.  Perhaps a meteor won’t hit the moon and knock it closer to earth, but there are so many other natural disasters and possibilities, including this one, that are within the realm of possibility in real life, and I imagine the results of such an event being exactly as described in these books.

The first book introduced Miranda and her family.  Their struggles to survive a changed world, the deaths around them, the vanishing and passing away of just about everyone in their small town, and the starvation that nearly claims all their lives was gut-wrenching.  The second book introduces Alex and his two sisters, several states away in New York.  The events are relived through his eyes, as we get to see how another area of American is affected by the same events.  His struggles and what he and his sisters have to face are just as bad, if not worse.

In this final book in the series, these two parties are brought together.  The world has really not improved by this time, but Miranda and Alex meet.  Their budding relationship would have occurred too quickly for me if it was done in any other setting, but with the events around them, it occurred in what, to me, was an appropriate length of time.  It is easy to see why these two would cling on to each other.  I love both of these characters in their separate stories, and I loved them even more as they were brought together.

Susan Beth Pfeffer did an amazing job on this series in making me care about her characters so much, and conveying the tragedy of the circumstances they face.  I don’t know when a story has broken my heart so many times in the course of three books, while still managing to convey the beauty of the human character and what it’s capable of.  Awesome books, awesome writing. 

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