Every few years, humans get a reminder of the destructive power of nature. It was hard to ignore the news coverage of the Haiti earthquake, and before that, Hurricane Katrina. Before that, there was the tsunami that washed away thousands of lives in Southeast Asia. There are volcanic eruptions, cyclones, monsoons, wildfires, and avalanches that threaten to take lives every year. Imagine if these types of disasters all started to happen at once.
In Life As We Knew It, readers are introduced to sixteen-year-old Miranda through journal entries. Her journal begins like any typical teenage girl’s. She writes about her grades, friends, fights with her mother, her new step-sibling-to-be, and her crush on a local Olympic-caliber skater. And she writes about the fuss all her teachers are making about the asteroid that’s supposed to hit the moon. They’re all excited because it’s supposed to be big enough to see with the naked eye, but not so big that anyone is particularly worried. They should have been. The asteroid is not only bigger than expected, it hits with much more force than expected. It knocks the moon out of orbit, much closer to Earth.
Almost immediately, natural disasters begin to change the Earth in ways nobody could have predicted. Tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions simultaneously wipe out communities and create conditions similar to a nuclear winter. Little by little, life as everyone knew it devolves into a struggle for survival.
In her journal, Miranda wonders how they can possibly survive. The situation is desperate. If only one person in her family can survive, who should it be? It’s time to choose. She longs for life as she knew it, but she has to deal with life as it is, for as long as she possibly can. How long will that be?
Life As We Knew It is the first in what is now a trilogy of books called “The Last Survivors.” The Dead and the Gone, the second book in the series, focuses on the same events as Life As We Knew It, but focuses on NYC teen Alex as he tries to care for his two sisters. This World We Live In, the third book in the series is due out in April.
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