Jasper Roberts - Blog

It's Monday Book Review Time!

If you are looking for a book to keep you up at night, this is the one! Over spring break, I took my mother to Barnes and Noble and demanded she buy Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone and I wanted her to start reading them immediately. Here are a few things that have changed in my life since reading this book:

  1. I went to our town's website and downloaded their emergency preparedness plan, complete with recommendations on what to buy weekly to have enough food to survive in an emergency.
  2. Every time we have weird or severe weather I assume that something terrible is going to happen.
  3. I have dreams at least once a week that something has happened to the moon, stars, etc... and we are trying to survive.
  4. I talk about this book incessantly and push it into as many hands as possible.
Written by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Life as We Knew It is the story of what happens to the world when a meteor pushes the moon closer to Earth. What happens? Chaos. The climate of the world changes, and Miranda, the 16 year old narrator, has much bigger problems than her homework for school. People start looting grocery stores, gas prices skyrocket, schools close indefinitely, disease begins spreading like wildfire, and as people begin to die off, their possessions become valuable commodities necessary for survival.  The phones stop working, the electricity goes out (and only comes back in intermittent spurts), and then the cold comes in to stay. Miranda and her family battle to survive, and in this new world, natural selection begins to take effect.

I love this story. It has all of the elements of a great page turner.

  • The narrator, Miranda, is likable and Pfeffer writes the character with an intense and passionate voice. 
  • The suspense mirrors a rollercoaster. The family overcomes one hurdle only to be faced with an even bigger one almost immediately.
  • You can't predict what will be coming next, which is great in my opinion. I hate stories that are transparent and obvious. This story will keep you on your toes.
  • This COULD HAPPEN! That might be the kicker. No one can say this wouldn't happen to us, it's entirely possible. Think about what your biggest worry in life is right now. It's nothing compared to the trauma you would face in this kind of disaster.
My students will be reading this book in conjunction with The Dead and the Gone, the second in the series. Our class will be dividing into two camps for this novel study. The girls will be reading LAWKI (female narrator) and the boys will read TDATG (male narrator). The best thing about this are that the first two books are parallel (they occur at the same time in different parts of the country), so we can compare/contrast what is happening to both of them as different disasters strike. Happy reading!


  1. The real question is-- how much peanut butter do you have stored away? And would the community look askance if a well respected teacher starts hoarding gin in the basement? As I was reading The Dead and The Gone, we had a huge wind storm that knocked out power for a couple of days. We won't talk about the amount of peanut butter in my basement. Or laundry detergent!

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Thanks for stopping by! JW