Friday, April 16, 2010

A Bad, Bad, Moon

I've read the first two novels in the Susan Beth Pfeffer series about a meteor that hits the moon and causes massive chaos on Earth.  Life As We Knew It takes place in a small town in Pennsylvania.  Miranda is a teenage girl, living with her mother and two brothers and having a typical teen life.  One  night in May, everyone gathers to watch the meteor hit the moon.  Scientists have assured everyone nothing will come of it, and there's a party atmosphere all around the world.

This lasts about as long as it takes for the meteor to hit the moon and the moon to be knocked off course and move closer to the earth.  Suddenly, the moon is looming in the sky, massive tsunamis wipe out cities along the coasts, and craziness abounds.  Miranda has a very smart   Mom who realizes that they have to  prepare for a long summer with sporadic electricity and probably food shortages.  As the summer slowly creeps by, the news that trickles through is not good--earthquakes, volcanoes, and continued flooding are creating chaos.  The sun is lost behind a slow moving cloud of volcanic ash, adding to the food shortages and panic.

What I loved about this novel is the way Miranda acts like a typical teen.  At first, no big deal.  Then, as the months go by, she comes to understand people are dying, people (including her own family) are starving, and the world will never be the same.  I asked my niece, who's fifteen and has read the books, if she "got" the seriousness and sadness of the novels.  She immediately said "Yes! I think about my family and what I would feel if this was happening to me."  Phew.  The kid gets it.

                                              The second book is The Dead and the Gone and it follows Alex and his sisters Bri and Julie as they cope with the same catastrophe in New York City during the same months that Miranda is living in Pennsylvania.  I found the second novel to be even more riveting and just heartbreaking.  Alex's father is in Puerto Rico for a funeral, and his mother was called to the hospital to help in the crisis.  The problem here is that Puerto Rico is wiped out by a tsunami, and the subways were flooded by the influx of water into New York City--people were trapped and drowned.   Alex doesn't know if his parents are alive or dead.  He's a 17 year old who has to take on the responsibility of survival for both himself and his two younger sisters without any parental guidance.  It's a nail-biter of a story filled with images of a city under siege and people doing whatever they have to in order to get food and survive.

These books are great teen reads, but don't hesitate to pick them up and read them yourself.  Discussing them with  a teenager is enlightening.  And, it's pretty creepy that a few nights ago we experienced a meteor flashing by in the sky (it landed in Wisconsin) and the Icelandic volcano is spewing so much ash it's prohibiting air travel in Europe.  My niece and I laughed about it this morning--and we both kinda got a little freaked out at the timing of reading the books and what's happening now.  She's picked up the third in the seriesThis World We Live In and will probably finish it tonight.  I will read it in the next week and let you know.  

These novels are excellent reads and will keep you up at night.  So run--I say run! to you local bookstore and pick them up.  After you've finished, and stopped watching the sky nervously, and stockpiled your canned goods,  relax and go about your life.  


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