Last month I told my 15-year-old daughter Sarina about The Last Policeman, a detective novel that takes place in the final months before a catastrophic asteroid is about to collide with Earth. She said it sounded interesting and told me I should read a young adult novel she loved called Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. She said that once she started reading it, it was hard for her to put down. On her recommendation I got it (actually, I listened to the unabridged audiobook version.)
Told through the journal entries of 16-year-old Miranda, a high school sophomore in Pennsylvania, Life As We Knew It describes how Miranda and her family deal with the devastating climactic and social changes that occur after a large astroid hits the Moon, knocking it into a new orbit much closer to the Earth.
The ensuing tsunamis that destroy coastal cities around the world aren't immediately felt by Miranda's family, so their way of life is not hugely affected in the first couple of months following the asteroid collision. In fact, Miranda's mother even sends her younger son to baseball camp for the summer. But in time Miranda, her two brothers, and her mother begin to experience the loss of things that they used to take for granted.
The Internet goes down, and then stays down. Gasoline prices skyrocket, and eventually it becomes unavailable to anyone who can't afford black market prices. Electrical service is spotty and stays off for days at a time. Water service shuts down, and water wells dry up. People who did not stockpile food when grocery stores were still open slowly starve. As the novel goes one, things get even worse.
This could've been an utterly depressing novel, but Miranda's appealing character makes it a thrilling read instead. She's resourceful, vulnerable, optimistic, realistic, generous, and selfish, as most teenagers are. She's a surviver. No wonder Sarina liked it so much. (It's great when your kid is old enough to recommend books to you!)
Life As We Knew It
Pfeffer has two other books in the "Last Survivors" series: The Dead and the Gone and This World We Live In.
Free diving holds a special terror for me. I’ve lost two friends to abalone diving, here in Northern California, and while strenuous and dangerous, it doesn’t hold a candle to competitive free diving. Adam Skolnick’s One Breath tells the tale of Nick Mevoli, a superstar whose death put the sport on trial. Mevoli in 2013 […]
Jindo Fox writes, “A few years ago, Cory linked to some wonderful pictures in Usborne’s 1983 classic Introduction to Machine Code for Beginners. Usborne has made PDF copies available of their whole line, with the only restriction that you link to their page, not to copy and redistribute the files themselves. Very cool. I have […]
Fresh Comfy is a Thai scarf-seller whose gauzy chiffon scarves come screened with motifs from literary classics, in a variety of finishes (grey, black, off-white, full color): Anne of Green Gables cover; Harry Potter Marauders’ Map; Map of Middle Earth; Pride and Prejudice cover; the Cheshire Cat; Romeo and Juliet title-page; Sherlock Holmes engravings; Alice […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]