Review: Shade of the Moon (Life as we Knew It #4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Title:  Shade of the Moon
Author:  Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publisher/Year:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  8/13/13
Length:  288 Pages
Series: Life as we Knew it #4


It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

My Thoughts

I wasn’t necessarily expecting another book in this series so it was a nice surprise to see it pop up on my Goodreads list of ‘books released by authors you’ve read’.  Since i had no expectations of this story, i was looking forward to the read, but i have to say that it wasn’t as quick of a read as the others in the series.

We pick up with the characters that we love a few years into it, where they are living in/around the enclave that they had found at the end of book 3.  With the passes that they had gotten from Alex’s friend’s father in NYC, Lisa, Gabe and Jon were able to get into the enclave and live as the ‘better class’ while Laura, Alex and Miranda were forced to live as ‘grubs’ in the town right outside the enclave.  At least it meant that they would be near each other, although there’s a significant disparity in the quality of life and what you get when you’re not a ‘claver’

This story focuses on Jon a bit more than the others ever did – where we get to see him as a teen who’s got this odd sense of entitlement while he’s still quite fearful of a mis-step that will get him kicked out of the enclave since they are only living there on slips / passes.

The basis of this story is showing that there’s real inequality and that the only people that are ok with it of course are the ones that ‘have’ things of value.  I think that one of the things that we know of society is that the folks that don’t have ‘things’ are the ones that usually decide for themselves to make a change.  Jon isn’t quite ready to settle for what the situation of things are, yet he’s afraid of the consequences of his actions.

His brother Matt and sister-in-law Syl live outside of this specific type of community form, and that’s something that over the course of the story we see become more attractive and necessary for all the folks involved.  Through a series of unfortunate events of deaths, and lies, the family has to find a way to leave the enclave of Sexton and find their way to something better.

The questions that really come out of this story are

1) is what’s outside of Sexton better?

2) is there even something outside of Sexton?

3) who of our fav characters will survive and make it to the next destination

4) what’s next?

While i like the idea of where this story is going, i don’t know what’s really next.  Where we’re left off in this 4th installment leaves a clear direction for the immediate next few chapters, but besides that, i don’t know how much farther they can take the story.  We’ve seen things happen that you can only expect from a desperate time/society, and you see definite character maturation and growth, but aside from that, i’m not quite sure what my expectations are for the future of the series.  Maybe that’s a good thing though – not to expect where the story will take us – definitely something to think about, so i’ll keep my eyes open for a book 5 in case one comes out in the near future.

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