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Life as We Knew It
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book about a global disaster is well drawn but terrifying, and is best for readers who able to put it in the appropriate context. Even kids who have the maturity to read it on their own may appreciate discussing its themes with their families -- see our "Families Can Talk About" section for some ideas. This book was one of the American Library Association's Best Books For Young Adults Readers in 2007, and some kids may find this book on a school recommended reading list. It is the first book in a series of three.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a meteor crashes into the Moon, it knocks the Moon's orbit a bit closer to the Earth, causing tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, which in turn wipe out coastal cities, disrupt infrastructure and weather patterns, and cause crop failure. Teenaged Miranda, who lives with her mother and brothers in Pennsylvania, doesn't directly witness most of this, but she feels the effects: Her family must try to survive on hoarded canned food and a woodstove when power and communications fail, there is no food in stores, temperatures plummet, the sun is blocked by volcanic ash, and disease ravages the surviving population.
Is it any good?
This is one terrifying book, more so because it's largely concerned with the mundane -- food, water, heat. The author is very clever here, though: She has chosen a possible but very unlikely event (disruption of the moon's orbit) as the catalyst for the story, providing a little distance for those who need it, but the results of the moon's change are all too similar to much more likely scenarios, such as global warming -- rising tides, weather and agricultural disruption, collapsing infrastructure, and energy failure -- and alert young readers won't fail to make the connection. Ultimately, this book's realism, combined with a gripping writing style, may scare younger kids, and won't be as easy for you to dismiss as just fantasy. But for middle-schoolers and up, it will be extremely compelling and thought-provoking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about books about the future. Many books, like this one, make dark predictions about what will happen to our planet and our society. Why do you think that is?
Books like this may be somewhat scary -- but are they important to read? Why is it important to consider our possible futures?
This book has two sequels. Will you read any further into the
series? There is some hope at the end of this book -- what do you think
will happen next?
For kids who love discussion books
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.