Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The characters from Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone collide in this continuation of Susan Beth Pfeffer's story of survival after the moon is knocked closer to Earth by an asteroid. The story is being told again in journal format by 17 year-old Miranda Evans. The Evans family has survived the worst of the winter even though many of their neighbors did not. It has been almost a year since the disaster and a new normal has come to exist. Government supplied rations are being doled out to the remaining residents of the town and the weather has gotten warm enough for them to scavenge for supplies from the empty homes and even go fishing. Older brother, Matthew, has met a girl, fallen in love, and brought her home to be part of the family much to his mother's disapproval. Providing for a family of four was hard enough and now there is another mouth to feed. Imagine the reaction when Miranda's father shows up on her doorstep which his new wife and their baby and three strangers. Two of the strangers are Alex and Julie Morales from The Dead And The Gone. Since the story is being told from Miranda's perspective, very little detail is provided on how Alex and his sister ended up with her father. Miranda is relieved that her father has survived, but the complications behind feeding and housing so many people causes some resentment at first.

Eventually, this group of survivors becomes every bit as much of a family as any blood relations. The baby gives them hope of a future... although no one would dare to guess what that future would look like. Since Alex and Julie are close in age to Miranda and her younger brother, they inevitably pair off. This outcome would seem forced except for the new reality where meeting someone of the opposite sex and of a similar age is now an opportunity that should not be passed up. That old saying that there are more fish in the sea... yeah, not so much. However, Alex's determination to take his sister and leave the group could force Miranda to choose between him and her family. The survivors' struggles never seem to end and by the end of this book, you will be wondering if the dead might actually be the lucky ones.

BEST FEATURE: The continuation of a good story.

WORST FEATURE: The romance between Miranda and Alex. Don't get me wrong. I liked the idea of those two characters as a couple, but I like more romance with my apocalypse. There just wasn't enough there.

PARENTAL WARNING: no real sex or violence to speak of, but death is a constant theme; appropriate for teens

RATING: 4, a good ending for a great story.

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