Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Last Survivors Trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer

If you haven't read this YA Post-Apocalyptic trilogy by Susan Beth  Pfeffer, you should.  The books are a few years old now, but there's nothing in them that makes them dated. 

The first book in the trilogy is Life As We Knew It (2006, Harcourt Children's).  It tells the story of teenager Miranda living with her single mother and two brothers in Pennsylvania.  A meteor hits the moon knockings it's orbit closer to earth.  This sets off a series of events that are catastrophic.  Tsunamis wipe out coastal cities, earthquakes shake the entire planet and volcanoes long dormant start to erupt.  All of this seismic activity brings about major climactic change.  Life As We Knew It chronicles Miranda's daily struggle to survive when everyone around her is dying.

The Dead and the Gone (2008, Harcourt Children's) is the second book in the trilogy.  Instead of continuing Miranda's story, it tells the story of Alex Morales, living in New York city with his two sisters.  His father was in Puerto Rico the day of the meteor strike and his mother was at work and never heard from again.  As the oldest Alex has to make tough decisions to take care of his two sisters.  Alex lived in an apartment building that his father was the manager of.  His unwillingness to break into other apartments annoyed me.  I understood that he was proud and didn't want to damage his father's building, but seriously, I would have been ripping open walls if the doors couldn't be broken down.  That aside, I liked this contrast of surviving in the city versus Miranda's suburban story.

The third book, This World We Live In (2010, Harcourt Children's) ties the two stories together.  In the first book Miranda's father stops by to tell his children that he is going to try to go out west with his new wife.  The third book has Miranda's father coming back with Alex and one of his sisters and another traveling companion that they met while on the road.  They met Alex when he had gone looking for other relatives for his sister to stay with while he looked for work.  Finding neither, Alex decided to stick with Miranda's dad while he traveled back to the Northeast.   While Miranda is happy to have her father back, it puts a strain on everyone because the food is scarce and the weather is getting worse.  This book was really emotional.  Pfeffer really put the screws to her characters in this one.

I've been calling this a trilogy, but I decided to do a little poking around about this series.  Turns out, there might be a book 4.  Shade of the Moon is tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2013.  I promise I'll be all over that when it comes out. 

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I agree that this is a terrific series and I keep recommending them to everyone. I loved the way that Pfeffer established two very different characters in the first two books and the seamlessly brought them together in the third book. Excellent series and great review.