Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life As We Knew It

I just finished reading Life As We Knew It for the Forever Young Adult book club. As I was searching for a cover image for this post, I realized it is the first in a series of books that are already out! I am so excited and headed to the book store today to pick up the rest of the series.

Okay, I'm back from Books-a-Million now; I seriously had to buy the sequel to read poolside today. When I read the first few chapters of Life As We Knew It, I thought it would be boring While I love novels written in diary format, the main character, Miranda, didn't capture me. But, once an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth and everything starts to fall apart, I was riveted.

Susan Beth Pfeffer creates an incredible atmosphere (ha ha), creepy and claustrophobic. As Miranda's world gets smaller, the drama increases and I found myself flipping ahead to make sure that there was still dialogue from some of the characters, assuring me that they would live. I'm never like that! I love the way that she subtly shows the dynamics of familial relationships changing, such as the younger brother Jonny slowly becoming "Jon" and the older brother Matt taking a paternal role.

There are a few places that Life As We Knew It could fit into the curriculum. It would be a great lynchpin in our science fiction unit. Even more interesting, however, would be to read it as a companion to The Diary of Anne Frank. Both feature families in peril with limited resources, little hope, and an ever-decreasing amount of freedom. It would be interesting to see the parallels that students would make between this novel based in the future and Anne's nonfiction work from the past.

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