“I thought about the earth then, really thought about it, the tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes, all the horrors I haven’t witnessed but have changed my life, the lives of everyone I know, all the people I’ll never know. I thought about life without the sun, the moon, stars, without flowers and warm days in May. I thought about a year ago and all the good things I’d taken for granted and all the unbearable things that had replaced those simple blessings. And even though I hated the thought of crying in front of Syl, tears streamed down my face.”
It’s been a year since the asteroid hit the moon, and Miranda and her family are still struggling to survive in the ruins of their small Pennsylvania town. When Miranda’s father, his wife, their baby, and Alex and Julie Morales (from The Dead and the Gone) show up at the door, the group must make plans for the future. They know the governmental food deliveries won’t continue forever, and with ten people, there’s no way their stored food will last long. However, finding a safe place to go is a challenge. There are rumors of safe cities, for governmental officials and other important people, but no one is sure how or where to find them. As they search for a workable solution, the weather grows increasingly violent; they don’t have much time. Will they make it to safety?
The final book in the Last Survivors trilogy connects the stories of Alex and Julie, from the second book, with Miranda and her family’s. There are no good answers to the climate change and food shortages, but the book manages to strike a balance between bleak hopelessness and unrealistic solutions. In short, Susan Beth Pfeffer continues the tone of the previous two books, giving us a chillingly accurate-feeling story about the end of the world. If you don’t like the zombie apocalypse stories because you don’t think it would ever happen, this trilogy will give you the end-of-the-world creepiness that feels realer than real. It’s scarier than some books for adults, even. I couldn’t put it down, and I bet you won’t be able to, either.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. This World We Live In. Harcourt: Boston, 2010. 239 pp. Ages 15 and up.
How I Live Now