Last Survivors Series – by Susan Beth Pfeffer

so it was just a couple days ago (Friday i think) that i wrote about Book 1 in the series and had a few ‘questions’ that came to mind.  silly me, i didn’t realize that Book 3 would address a lot of them.  regardless, i was really happy to find that Book 2 The Dead & The Gone and Book 3 This World We Live In were quick reads.  I managed to get through them over the weekend and i actually feel good about what i retained.  so let’s start on book 2

Being a New Yorker myself, it was actually kind of interesting to see the perspective of how the city would deal with a catastrophe like this one.  We had a hurricane here last year actually that made me begin to think about things a little bit because there were fears that the tide would come in too high and there would be walls of water coming in so there were evac zones.  given that i live just about as far east as you can on the island of Manhattan, we were in a level C evac zone.  so we didn’t have to leave per say, just had the fear that we might have to.  the lower part of the city though was on an evacuation just in case. 

in the book though, they said that the lower half of the city was under water (Macy’s and below – bye bye!) and that east and west were getting water logged.  that’s just crazy.  i was thinking about how i’m right across the park from where Alex/Julie and Bri live so it was just weird to picture it all.  you can really see the difference though in how Pfeffer told the story of an urban life vs. the rural life.  in the city at least, they were able to go to school still and they were able to get food.  in PA, it wasn’t really that easy.  yes, the school was open for Miranda and Jon to go to, but it was much much harder. 

i actually really liked how you understood what Alex and Julie were going through, how Alex went through apartments to find things to keep his family alive, and how even though he was a kid – he did a pretty good job.  It was also pretty good character relationship development that you saw with Kevin and even some of the other kids especially when they came for the birthday party.  as i was reading the story, i kept wondering/hoping a few things:

1) was carlos still alive

2) was there any closure on Mom and Dad being gone?  do we even know that PR was completely underwater or not?

3) were Alex and Julie really going to get out and find somewhere safer to live?

then….in reading The World We Live In – a lot of my questions from Book 1 got answered.  We know what happens to Miranda and family  – at least a little bit.  i think that a few things were kind of thrown in there or not relaly elaborated on, but i guess there was just a lot of story telling to go into. 

1) i’m not sure how i feel about Syl and her whole story.  i kept waiting for her to be shady and to do something bad to the family – and well that didn’t happen, but she sure had her way about her

2) we know that dad and lisa survived, and that the baby did too.  that was kind of nice, and you really can’t help but hope that Gabriel is the future and has a world to live in that is actually liveable. 

3) we know that matt’s ok – health wise – that was briefly touched upon, so that’s good – but what about mom? i guess since we know that she finally leaves the house at the end, she’s ok, but i still kind of got the impression throughout the book that she was not at 100%

what i liked though, and kind of didn’t expect was that Alex and Julie would find their way into the story.  i think that it was nice to see that they were making their way places, but i thought that it was odd that they were with ‘dad and lisa’ when they were supposed to go to a church hosted safe area for a bit no?  regardless, i liked the relationships that you saw build there, Alex/Miranda, Jon/Julie, Julie/Lisa….etc etc.  i feel like charlie was a good guy to have in there, potential for Mom/Charlie, but alas that didn’t happen.

i’m not surprised that they had to get rid of a few characters before the end, and i guess that it was kind of organic and not forced.  i.e. plagues and things like that – but it’s still kind of sad.  you see that alex really does need miranda for not only love, but for a family since he clearly doesn’t have any left.

i could probably go on and on about this series for a bit so i’ll stop, but i still have a few questions that i wonder if they would ever be answered (maybe a book4)

1) does the earth survive?  we saw that it was raining again, and that maybe there was some sunlight coming back…but really – did things settle down?

2) where did the family end up? we know they left and potentially went to find some type of safe town near sexton University, but did they make it, and even with the passes did they get in or get to work there for those who didn’t get in?

3) was carlos ever reunited with the family?

4) what ever happens with syl/matt?  do they live happily ever after as a married couple?  do they have little babies to be ‘brothers/sisters’ to gabriel and get our civilization going again?

so much to think about and well, that’s what i’ll have to do until i find new reading (ok, we all know that’ll be tonight)


Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

i wonder if i’m the only one that was thinking about movies and books that kind of sound similar.  w/o thinking about the comedy factor of ‘Seeking a Friend For the End of the World’ starring Kiera Knightley and Steve Carrell, i thought that maybe the 2 were somehow related.  not quite the case but back when i saw the commercial that talked about how there was a meteor or something slated to crash into the planet and who knew what was going to happen, i thought maybe…..possibly..?

well, low and behold Life as We Knew It kind of had something similar to talk about no?  i love that everyone was so innocently ‘ignorant’ about the meteor hitting the moon, like nothing was going to happen except for maybe a little light show and a poof that you could see through binoculars.  i feel like no one ever stops to think that maybe something BIG might happen that’s irreversible.  oh well, i guess they learned the hard way no?

one thing that i did take from this story which i think i might have to thank the author for is the survival skills.  that’s the biggest thing here – and well, i think that a lot of us rely so heavily on technology that we wouldn’t know where to begin with if it came down to it.  who would think about a few things:

1) DROP EVERYTHING and go to the store and buy whatever you can – as much of everything as you can. not just food but those necessities that you wouldn’t think about (i.e.tampons – who would have thought about that). 

2) buy things that are seasons out of season (winter clothes when it’s 100 degrees or vice versa).  they will come in handy

3) learn to chop wood and do it often.  honestly,i live in NYC so chopping wood’s not an option but i’ll probably see what the folks in NYC did in the 2nd book of the series

4) stick together with your family, family first and try your best not to get on each others nerves

5) come to the realization that someone may not live, and well, maybe there’s someone who has a better chance.  don’t resent them for any sacrifices you may make, because sometimes that’s just what life makes you do


it took me a few days longer than i would have liked to read this story, but i think that it was a great take on the end of the world (maybe?) type story.  what i wonder though which i figure was intentionally left out so you’d want to discuss is

1) what happened to dad and lisa (and baby)

2) what was really wrong with matt?  did he really hurt his heart or lungs more than he even knew?

3) what ever happened to the earth after all this.  did the ash clear up, did miranda and her family survive and help rebuild civilization

4) Did Miranda imagine her skating day with Brendon ? was that a hallucination?

i have endless questions, but i guess those are all to go unanswered and that’s probably a great way to write a story.  that way if Pfeffer is ever interested in writing more – there’s plenty to build off of.