Parents' Guide to

Life as We Knew It

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Gripping, terrifying disaster tale will inspire discussions.

Life as We Knew It Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 13 parent reviews

age 10+

A Little Boring for 8th Graders

For 14 year old students, they found the book to be boring with a few interesting parts. They hoped that more emphasis would be on disasters with more of a thriller. The main character writes a lot of her personal home experience, emphasizing her feelings--expected for a diary. I guess that students expected more action and scientific explanations. The book has a gentle approach to what is happening around the world. It's a good book for 10 to 12 year olds but boring for 13 + students.

This title has:

Educational value
age 12+

Makes You Think About What is Really Important

I wasn't too happy when I learned that my soon to be sixth grader has a summer reading assignment for his pre-AP English class next year. Haven't we worked our overachievers enough this school year? My aggravation disappeared when I read the book. The book is extremely well written. It is a book that a kid would want to read for entertainment. It doesn't have to be force fed. I agree this book covers a terrifying subject, but the message in the book is strong. The book makes us think about what is really important in life. I see this summer reading assignment as a great opportunity to approach important subjects with my son when he gets back from Christian church camp next week...yes, we are religious. We do not fear reading materials that make us question someone's devotion to God. I have no doubt my avid Christian reader will finish this book in one day long sitting. The book is that good. I look forward to hearing his thoughts about the characters, and the choices that they make.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (13):
Kids say (65):

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.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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.

See how we rate