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on 11 May 2010
I very much enjoyed the first two books in the series, but not this one. The story is again told through Miranda's diary, with Alex and Julie from book 2 arriving as refugees so we see them through her eyes. This means it is perhaps not surprising that Alex was presented differently from book 2. But I thought ALL the characters seemed rather flat and two-dimensional in Miranda's retelling of events. The biggest problem was that Miranda's decisions and actions seemed totally out of character from the loyal, family-minded, determined teenager of the first book. I won't spoil the story, but her response to Julie's accident was so far from believable that it has ruined the series for me. It was also a very, very bleak novel - although I was impressed that the first two books were an unflinching examination of the aftermath of a natural disaster (and what it took to survive), they showed postive, brave characters and ended with the feeling that the there was still some hope. I wish I'd stopped reading the series after book 2!
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A year has passed since a meteor collided with the moon, sending it closer to the earth, and forever changing the world. In LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, Miranda chronicles the events her family experiences as they struggle for survival during dramatic weather changes, loss of friends, and dangerous food shortages.

The companion novel, THE DEAD & THE GONE, follows the hardships of Alex and his sisters in New York City. The author paints a more gruesome side of life in this installment. One that stays with the reader long after the book is closed.

THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN brings the two stories together.

Once again, we see Miranda at home with her mother and two brothers as they continue to eke out a living. They find ways to deal with lack of food, poor air quality, cold temperatures, and no electricity. Even though they are doing okay now, Miranda knows it won't always be like this. The food deliveries might stop and then what would they do? Miranda's mother rejects any suggestion of leaving , but Miranda knows there will come a time when they'll have no choice.

Miranda's brothers leave for a fishing trip in an attempt to supplement the provisions they receive weekly from town. Matt and Jon bring back a lot more than fish. While fishing, they run into a band of travelers including Miranda's father, his new wife, Lisa, and their new baby, Gabriel. Also traveling with them is a man named Charlie and a brother and sister named Alex and Julie. As if that weren't enough, Matt meets a girl named Syl and claims her as his wife.

If supplies were dangerously low before, adding six more people to the mix made it downright frightening. Everyone struggled - with issues of privacy, issues of jealously, and issues of conscience.

THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN returns the reader to the first-person diary format of LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. Miranda documents her changing life as she talks about her growing family, her complicated feelings for Alex, and the grotesque discoveries that still seem to pop up even after a year. Their lives settle into a new routine until an unthinkable disaster rips through town. Miranda and her family are forced to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives if they want to survive in the world they live in now.

Susan Beth Pfeffer gives her readers what they've wanted. Personally, I'm very glad she went back to the first-person diary format. Even though there were times Miranda seemed at bit too whiny and I wanted to strangle Alex, I'm happy with the ending of the book.

If this series is new to you, please begin by reading LIFE AS WE KNEW IT followed by THE DEAD & THE GONE. You won't be able to understand the full impact of what these characters are going through in THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN without knowing a little about their backgrounds.

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2012
This book made me angry. Not in the 'isn't life unfair' way it should have but because after coming up with a brilliant idea and totally snaring me into this world Susan Pfeffer clearly couldn't be bothered with it any more. This very short book is a disappointing end to the trilogy and leaves more questions than answers.

Firstly, the characters and world never progress. By the end they're still helpless, at the mercy of the elements and hoping for canned food handouts. Now, I know this is an unusual and cruel world but at some point the surviving humans have to move on and plan for a brighter future surely? This just doesn't happen.

Secondly it's like it was skim written. There's absolutely no depth at all. And you thought you knew insta-love? You've seen nothing until you see Alex and Miranda's relationship. Seriously. Everything is just rushed. The ending left me convinced there'd be an eventual fourth book in the series, but after investigating I found an article on Susan Pfeffer's blog stating there wouldn't be. So now I'm also mad I won't ever get to see how this world will end up.

This series started off so well. I was blown away by the first book in the series. By the third book I was questioning whether it had actually been as good as I remembered after all. I had high hopes and felt bitterly let down, more so that I feel the series will be forever unfinished. I think I could've quite happily left after book two and would still recommend those books, but if you never get round to the third, then in all honesty you won't have missed much.
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on 7 January 2012
Going in to this book, I always felt that the first two in the series deserved more recognition than they have received. So it was with a degree of anticipation that I started to read the conclusion of the trilogy, where Miranda and Alex meet each other. The book itself is told from the perspective of Miranda as she writes in her diary, the same as the first book.

The main question here was always going to be whether or not Pfeffer could maintain the immersion and atmosphere of the first two books in a plot line that starts after the initial fallout has come and gone. In many ways writing about a natural disaster provides a lot of material inherently as people react to the catastrophic event as it happens. Pfeffer was never going to be able to rely on that here, and in many ways had to come up with a more original story with little help from the source material.

Unfortunately, and I can only be blunt about this, she falls well short in this regard. In many ways it is difficult for me to be so damning about a book when I very much enjoyed the previous books, because I genuinely do like the setting and tone of the series as a whole. But whilst This World We Live In may provide a clear indication of the bleakness of the life that the characters face, there just wasn't enough in the book to keep the reader immersed. The sense of tension which was so strong in the previous books was always entirely absent in the third book.

Ultimately the book descends into a largely uneventful narrative of day to day life. The introduction of other characters into the life that Miranda lives with her mother and two brothers adds little spice to proceedings. The love story, which is openly declared on the back page of the book, ends up as an unconvincing affair that invokes little emotion in the reader. The book does contain some excitement, but this comes towards the end and ultimately cannot make up for the rather bland 80% of the book that came before it. Even then, the 'shocking' event of the book is predictable and actually doesn't really shock at all.

And that, perhaps, is why this book is so disappointing overall. Ultimately the 'shocking' event in this book falls a bit flat, and this is in stark contrast to the events in the other two books, particularly the second. When compared to what Pfeffer put together in the first two books, this one just reads like she has run out of ideas. There was so much potential here, but unfortunately it has largely gone to waste. Fans of the first two books will inevitably read this, but sadly I expect most will come away disappointed.
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on 17 January 2012
Oh Susan Beth Pfeffer what do we have here but the final installment that sadly does not come close to the excellence that was the first 2 books in this series.

Life as We Knew it was a work of fictional genius, I loved the realistic true to life portrayal of a world in crisis, a world falling apart and the experiences of Miranda and her family as they fought to survive what was seemingly un-survivorable. But they did it, they made it throught the tough challenges, the issolation, the starvation. They clung together and found a way to keep going both physically and mentally.

The Dead and Gone retold the same events through the eyes of Alex and his sistsers in New York city. The events were the same but the effects and the things Alex had to do keep them alive were different. I actually preferred this to the first book but only just. It was so much darker and the true implications were fully explored no matter how grim it was. I loved it.

So as you can imagine I was very much looking forward to reading the FINAL installment, where the characters from the first 2 books come together for what I thought would be an exciting climax to this saga. But no, it just wan't to be. I didn't hate it, but I feel oh so very disappointed by the story I have just been told. I was concerend seeing the size of the book, it is a good 3rd shorter than the first two and I thought it would be difficult to fit everything into it without rushing it, and I was right. As I got nearer then end and could see there were not many pages left I knew this story was not going to be wrapped up to my satisfaction. My second gripe, Miranda's "relationship" with Alex. I didn't buy it. In the first book I totally got the relationships between the characters, they were real. In book 2 I totally believed Alex's feelings for his sisters and the family he had lost, it was so real. But this, it was forced and rushed and totally unblievable, it happened in just a few pages and when written about just didn't ring true. The same I can say for the relationship between Matt and yl although it was marginally more believable. I liked the friendship between Jon and Julie, that worked so much better than the other 2 love stories. I felt the author put the relationship between lex and iranda because she felt that was expected of her, seeing as she was bringing both characters into the same book. It wasn't needed, their friendship could have been built on their mutual experiences of loss and survival and their determination to find a better, safer life and keep surviving. I think that would have worked better. This book could have gone so much deeper had it been longer, but the length is not it's only issue, it was just not as well written and I'm not sure why? The deaths and the emotions those led to just didn't ring true and didn't pack the punch they did in the first 2, especially as The ean and Gone had me gasping and reeling, this one I almost felt nothing, except disappointment.

I didn't like the ending, I felt like I had been short changed. I dont think what happened had to happen, I certainly feel for Alex. It's now like everything he's done has been for nothing and he may aswell have topped himself after the moon first moved, he didn't deserve that.

And as for the shocking act at the end of the book. I was only shocked that the author expects us to believe that Miranda would ever have done that so easily. Her "struggle" with her decision was laughable and unless she had had a personality transplant it is NOT what she would have done in a million years. I agree with another reviewer that the first 2 books although grim had hopw at the end. You were left with a sense that things were improving or moving forward for the characters. The ending of this left it very open yes, but it seemed like all hope had gone and they were all just going through the motions, that no one believed that things would get better. The whole book has just left me feeling frustrated.

I think this book should be read if you have read the first 2, but have low expectations, it really isn't nearly as good and it's a real shame this installment has let the series down. I do hope the author will give us one more installment, the mother was a writer so perhaps she could be telling the story a few years in the future of what has since happened to them all and to the world? to actually tie up the story, not all final like, but with a more soild sense that the characters have finished their story, and perhaps with a little hope for the future, pretty please?
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on 11 May 2013
Well whaddaya know? Alex and his sister left New York and ended up with Miranda's father and his new wife and baby and another cheerful fellow named Charlie! They all turn up at Miranda's and despite the unease of all the extra mouths to feed they pitch in and keep their grumbling to themselves (mostly). They sign up for the food packages in town and things seem to be looking up apart from Alex insisting on leaving with his sister to take her to a convent where she'll be safe, something apparently only Alex wants, everyone tries to talk sense into him to no avail. At the start of the book Miranda and her brothers had started looking in other people's houses for food and items of use and this continues as Alex and Miranda get to know each other, she dislikes him at first obviously but this soon changes in a flash and suddenly they're in love. Eh? When Alex and his sister leave, Miranda and her dad take them and they find the convent Alex hopes to leave his sister with closed up and so return to the rest of the group. The usual catastrophies happen, there's loss of life, which was quite sad (as it should be) and the remaining survivors decide it's time to move on. Despite my hesitation at it being narrated by Miranda journal-style (she annoyed a bit in the first book) this one turns into a pretty good book, probably the best one I think. Although in this book I'll grant the most annoying character award to Miranda's older brother Matt. He was lovely in the the first book but is now a plonker.
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on 20 May 2013
I gave this book 5 star because I was moved by the characters and how they coped with the situation while I was reading it but even after finishing it and several books later I think about some of the events and how the character dealt with them or talked about them and that to me is always a test for a book if you mull over what they did and what they meant and then wonder what you would do in the same situation. The mom wonders what happened to the young man and his 7 month pregnant wife who they helped early on....and so do I. I thought the main character was a very believable teenager. I have 2 nieces demonstrating the same range of emotions though thankfully not in the same circumstances...thank goodness.
I saw that some reviewers felt the continuation of law and order in this book by the people was unreal but I think the book already does a good job of showing the relationships between the characters and that anarchy would have added a whole different level. And let's face it - even in those books which have all the gangs and hideous violence there's nearly always a nod to someone or some group that didn't behave like that and survived.
I would..sorry have recommended this book to friends and family looking for a great read.
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on 24 April 2011
I loved the first book and tolerated the 2nd, but this one was perfect. I loved the violent act that Miranda created - of course she would not stay innocent and sweet. In the end, I think she did what a lot of people faced with such desperation, would have done.

Great - although the cliffhanger ending was a little disappointing - surely, there could have been one more chapter? :)
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on 22 May 2011
It been a year since the meteor has hit the moon bring it closer to the Earth and with major change in the climate. For Miranda Evans and her family the year has been full of changes, but the changes are yet to come. When Miranda's father comes home he does not only bring his wife and new baby son, he brings three stangers. Among this Juile and Alex Morales. Miranda is drawn to Alex, but his main goa in life is to make sure that Julie is safe, no matter the cost to himself.
"This World We Live In" is the third and final book in Susan Beth Pfeffer series and I think that it was the weakest of them. Miranda and Alex seem to have very little connection with we other and the action seemed forced. I thought that the ending could have been better, it left me wanting to know what happen the characters in the years to come. Overall "This World We Live In" was a decent finish to the series but it could have been better
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on 23 September 2013
For a plot that held so much promise the author disappointed. While reading about food is great, most of this book is how much canned food and what kinds they ate at every meal.
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