Hear ye, hear ye! If you are one of the 4 people who haven't read (and probably loved and recommended) Life As We Knew It, you should really just break down and do it. In the meantime, I will attempt to review this awesome book in a way that assumes you haven't heard it all before. ;-)
Miranda is a normal teenager. She goes to school, crushes on guys, and frequents the internet forums of her favorite Olympic-bound ice skater. She has an older brother, Matt, away at college and younger brother, Jonny, who wants to play professional baseball. She lives in Pennsylvania with her mom. Her dad and stepmother are having a baby and want her to be the godmother. She worries about homework and tests. Everything about Miranda's life is business as usual and humming along more or less as planned, that is, until a meteor smashes into the moon and knocks it closer to earth unleashing natural disaster after natural disaster upon the world.
Suddenly, "normalcy" becomes extinct, and Miranda finds herself and her family living in a whole new world where survival is the only goal and concern, and any means are considered justifiable to achieve that end. Life As We Knew It is Miranda's personal story of the apocalypse as written in her journal. She chronicles the big events - the tidal waves, the earthquakes, the volcanos, but she also chronicles the often more mundane events of her daily life as she, her mother, and her brothers struggled to store up firewood and food enough to survive a long winter alone, without electricity, without anything.
Life As We Knew It is terribly powerful in a totally unexpected way. Starting out, the journal format seems like it could be a little rocky, not shedding enough light on the characters, not giving us detailed descriptions, but as the book progresses and Miranda's world devolves into chaos bit by bit, day by day, the journal has the effect of making this horrifying sequence of events shatteringly realistic. Miranda's slow and frustrating transformation from a self-centered, uncomprehending teen, to someone who will do anything to save the people she loves is profound. In Life As We Knew It, Pfeffer creates a realistic and terrifying scenario that, even though it is fiction, seems so frighteningly possible. So engrossing and believable is this book that I read it in almost one sitting and whenever I found myself being forced to put it down, I couldn't shake an eerie feeling that all these things in the book were actually happening.
And it was good. Really, really good.