Monday, June 14, 2010

This World We Live In

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
(sequel to Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone)

Nearly a year has passed since the moon was struck by an asteroid and knocked slightly out of a normal orbit. The tides have changed, destroying much of the Eastern Seaboard. The volcanoes have erupted, filling the atmosphere with grey grit that blocks sunlight. The weather continues to worsen: temperatures are dropping, and the rain and snow continue to fall even in summer. Crops are failing, livestock have been slaughtered for food until very few remain, and survivors of the cataclysm scavenge for necessities from the homes and bodies of the dead.

In the third (and possibly final) volume of the series, Miranda and Alex meet for the first time. Alex and his sister Julie have travelled with Miranda's father, stepmother and stepbrother for months, and arrive at Miranda's home weary...and hungry.

The bleak landscape described in the first two books becomes more bleak, but the will to survive has become even more strong as the family struggles to find food and shelter in an uncompromising world. The sudden marriage of Miranda's older brother is a reminder that times have changed--but have times really changed enough to allow Miranda to fall in love?

The story starts slowly, and will be confusing to readers unfamiliar with the first two books. Fans of the series, however, will want an update on the post-moon-change world.

No on-page sex, but there is definitely hanky-panky among the wreckage. No drugs or drinking, though--that stuff got used up early in the catastrophe. Recommended for readers 13 to adult.

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