Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life As We Knew It

I do not like reading about natural disasters that are actually plausible. Like, I can read The Hunger Games and at least fell like all that stuff isn't likely to happen in my or my daughter's lifetimes. But the moon getting knocked out orbit by an asteroid? Heck, that could happen tomorrow! That sort of thing feeds my paranoia just enough that lie awake at night plotting just how long my family could survive in such a situation (normally it's not very long). Life As We Knew It is no exception to the paranoia feeding, but damn, it's a really good book.

So, as you might expect, the book takes place in a world (out world) where the moon has been knocked out of orbit which significantly affects the natural order of things on the planet. Tides are out of whack (ridiculous, huge tidal waves that wipe out entire coastlines), the weather is going nuts, there are volcanoes going off all over the planet and that causes something akin to a nuclear winter, and there are sickness epidemics going on all over the place. Caught in the midst of this is Miranda Howell and her mom and two brothers (her dad and his pregnant wife make a brief appearance, trying to make their way south, but their fates are unknown as disaster after disaster unfolds). The story is basically Miranda's family trying to survive--but they aren't just trying to survive this new, horrible world they inhabit, but trying to survive spending hours and hours cooped up in the same small room together (which, I'm sure, would drive anyone crazy).

This story is so incredibly gripping. I read it very quickly and pretty much ate myself silly the entire time. Food and the amount of food and how hungry Miranda is (the story is told in the form of her journal) is a huge piece of this story and everything is so immediate and frightening that I found myself compensating for Miranda's lack of food by eating a ton myself. But that's just how engaging this book is.

Comparable Reads: I can't think of any book that quite puts me into this amount of panic. The only thing that I can think of that compares is the movie The Day After Tomorrow (similar wacky weather patterns, except in that movie, I think the ice caps melted or something).

Who this book is for: While it certainly will appeal to teen readers (the main character is a seventeen year old girl with very typical seventeen year old girl interests, even after, to a point, the moon disaster occurs), the tale is so gripping and the range of characters actually in the book is pretty wide, that I think most people could find something interesting and a character to whom they could relate. 

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