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Life As We Knew It is a Speculative Fiction teen novel by Susan Beth Pfeffer, told from the point of view of a teenage girl named Miranda Evans in the form of her diary, which she begins writing in May of an unspecified year. Initially, things are normal, and Miranda is looking forward to the upcoming prom and her dad and stepmother have told her that they want her to be the godmother of the child they are expecting. Everyone is eagerly anticipating an interesting astronomical event: an incoming meteor that is supposed to crash into the moon. Miranda just looks at it as another excuse for extra homework assignments. However, most people are looking at it as a once in a lifetime chance to see an event like this. Miranda's mother has even baked cookies in honor of the occasion. But no one anticipates the moon being knocked closer in orbit to the earth and the havoc it causes. The climate is drastically altered, the coastal areas are hit with tsunamis, the supermarkets are closing as food runs short, the price of gas has risen to over ten dollars, electricity is no longer a guarantee, and the lists of the dead are expanding. It's The End of the World as We Know It, though no one wants to admit it.
The author of this series says she was inspired to write the first book in the Moon Crash Series, Life As We Knew It, by watching Meteor. She says "it got [her] thinking about how the people who have the most to lose if the world comes to an end are kids" and wanted to write about how kids would cope with this particular scenario. She later followed up on Life As We Knew It with The Dead and the Gone, told from the point of view of Alex Morales, a young Puerto Rican teenager living in New York City dealing with the meteor strike. There is now a third book in the series, This World We Live In, which brings Miranda and Alex together.
This series includes the following tropes
Tropes in Life As We Knew It
- Adult Fear
- After the End
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best In People: When she realizes that things will most likely get worse after the stores are being mobbed and sold out, Laura gets serious with enlisting her children's help with getting as much stuff and they can. Inverted, though, when she also goes against her usual charitable nature and refuses to give supplies to the local drive to get supplies for needy people in New York and New Jersey, though it's justified, given that the danger in giving up supplies that might be necessary later on as well as giving any hint that you have plenty for others to steal. The whole family goes to great lengths to ensure each other's survival.
- Apocalyptic Log: Miranda's diary.
- Author Avatar: Miranda's mother
- Author Filibuster: It's apparent that the author is anti-Bush and hates Fox News.
- Birth-Death Juxtaposition
- Bittersweet Ending: The End of the World as We Know It has happened, Megan, Peter, and Mrs. Nesbitt have died, it's questionable at best whether or not Miranda's dad, stepmother, and half-sibling are alive, the whole family is starving, and it's clear that things will never get back to normal, but Miranda's mother and siblings are alive, Miranda herself has lived to see her 17th birthday, her whole family is getting a massive amount of food, and it genuinely looks like they're going to make it through the winter.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Miranda, the 16 year old heroine, starts out as this, but of course the apocalypse brings out the best in her.
- The Caretaker: After The Plague hits, Miranda is the only member of her family who doesn't get sick and goes to great lengths to ensure her family's survival.
- Cliff Hanger
- Colony Drop: Subverted. Earth itself suffers no direct impact.
- Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Nesbitt
- Coming of Age Story: Miranda starts out as a Bratty Teenage Daughter who is mainly concerned about herself and then The End of the World as We Know It happens and brings out the best in her. Her mother even lampshades this by correcting herself when she tells Miranda what a special girl she is to tell her what a special woman she is.
- Corrupt Church- Miranda's former best friend, Megan, turns to God after their friend dies (before the book starts). The church tells her not to eat and she dies of starvation. It is also revealed that the priest at said church was taking food from his church members.
- Crazy Prepared: The sheer amount of stuff they got really comes in handy when things get rough in the winter.
- Cult: As the world is ending, religious people are not only flocking to Reverend Marshall's church out of understandable panic, they're spending almost all of their time there, and even sleeping there. Megan says one day that it's the first time she's left the church in a while and that they only sleep for one or two hours at a time so they can keep praying.
- Did Not Do the Research: An astroid large enough to knock the moon closer to the Earth would be more likey to blow it to bits.
- Driven to Suicide: Megan's mother after Megan herself has died.
- The Fundamentalist: Megan has come to be obsessed with church and following the doctrines of Christianity. She becomes even more so to a frightening degree after things get worse.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Even when the apocalypse is going on, apparently.
- Hollywood Atheist: Miranda
- Irony: In one of Miranda's dreams, she sees an old teacher of hers, who tells her "don't be careless" as he always told them when doing schoolwork... before he died running a red light.
- Married to the Job: Dr. Peter Elliot; especially sad when he dies trying to heal people at the hospital.
- No Periods, Period: Averted. Miranda's mother tells Mrs. Nesbitt to get lots of Tampax for herself and Miranda. Miranda also makes note in her diary of having her period when she gets it. [[spoiler:Miranda also doesn't get it for quite a while when their food supplies run particularly low, and this is most likely a hint as to how badly she is starved.
- Nobody Poops: Averted. One of the major concerns is how to deal with everyone's bodily wastes.
- Path of Inspiration
- The Plague: Along with the other things going on, this happens.
- Religion of Evil
- Scavenger World: the United States is on its way to becoming like this.
- Sinister Minister: Reverend Marshall is unquestionably corrupt. As The End of the World as We Know It gets progressively worse, people flock to his church in religious panic and even give him their food. Reverend Marshall accepts the food, even though the people giving it to him are starving and in need of it, and he even narrates about how he deliberately didn't bury Megan's mother just because she was a suicide.
- Snowed In
- Teen Pregnancy: Laura is very worried about this happening to Miranda and does not want this to happen to her. Justified as Miranda having a baby would mean a threat to the whole family's survival.
- Too Dumb to Live: With people dying and leaving left, right and centre, you would think the family would check the empty houses for supplies. They might hold respect for the dead, but still.
- In the third book, they do start house raiding, and it's implied that they didn't before because of Laura's scruples, or that other raiders would fight them for it. When they do empty their neighbour's house they are super cautious about it.
- Tough Love: Laura shows this toward all of her children, making very little effort to soften the reality of the apocalyptic scenario around them.
- Trauma Conga Line: Little by little, Miranda's life gets worse.
- Visit by Divorced Dad
Tropes in The Dead and the Gone:
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Alex's parents are presumed to be dead at the beginning of the story, though nobody really knows for sure.
- Grave Robbing- Kevin and Alex steal belongings from the dead people lying around in the city. They trade the stolen items in for cans of food.
- Ill Girl: Bri gets adult-onset asthma after volcanoes cause the air to be full of ash.
- Snow Means Death: Kevin is killed during a snowstorm by a tree branch
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Bri
- The Unfavorite: Alex dislikes Julie for most of the book.
Tropes in This World We Live In:
- Trailers Always Spoil: In the summary given in the jacket notes, it mentions that a tornado devastates the town an event that doesn't happen until the book is nearly over.
- It Got Worse: Oh yes, it does!(in events to the family anyway.)