Life as We Knew It/The Dead and the Gone/This World We Live in
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I am a sucker for a good YA post-apocalypse story. I was teaching in a 7th grade LA class last week, and the first volume of this trilogy (Life as We Knew It) was one of the free-reading books the students could choose. I picked it up during lunch, and was immediately sucked in.
There were a good many things I liked about it. The way the story is written, as diary entries, was what initially captured my interest. BUT, this POV kept any real science from entering the book (I might have liked a more in-depth consideration of the science, but I am not a teenage reader!). The catastrophe that causes the “post-apocalyptic” scenario was pretty realistically depicted, but again, the science behind it was not even addressed.The relationships between the family members drove the story. I could relate to some of the sibling rivalry and love/hate between the kids.
I liked the first book enough that I stayed up until 2 am Friday finishing it. Since book 2 and 3 were available on my library’s site, I got them, and read them over the weekend. They were still pretty good. "The Dead and the Gone" covered the same time period, but in an urban setting, rather than a rural one. Different kinds of conflict, but still not the guns and gangs that many post-disaster stories rely on. And the third volume, “This World We Live In” hook up both books into a neat, pat conclusion. I didn’t like this one as much as the first, but it did conclude the story nicely.
Now, I know there is a fourth book. But it really didn’t seem related at all in tone or plot, as it covers time the characters are living in a city that survived the disaster. I had no interest in it after reading the synopsis and reviews.
Overall, I give the series a solid three stars, with the first book book getting a slightly higher four.