Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life As We Knew It


The first time I read Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer was last fall--late October, early November--it was not "winter" yet, but it was after the first frost. I remember curling up in bed and getting colder, and colder, and hungrier and hungrier. I read it at night. In one sitting. And of course, I dreamed about being cold, hungry, and afraid. And all throughout the next day, I kept thinking about their frantic grocery store trip. Of course, if you HAVEN'T read Life As We Knew It you haven't the foggiest idea of what I'm talking about. You can read my first review here.

Imagine waking up one day to find that everything had changed practically over night. All over the world massive destruction due to one natural disaster after another. And what if there was no way to turn back the clock. To wake up knowing that each day will be worse than the one before. No electricity. No phone service. No gas or oil. Limited food supplies. What is there left to hope for? How would you live your last days?

Meet Miranda your personal guide through this terrifying adventure.
The second time I "read" it, I listened to it on audio book. The narrator is Emily Bauer and I just have to say she did an incredible job giving Miranda a voice. From the beginning chapters where Miranda is your typical teen--a bit shallow, a bit whiny, a bit superficial--to the earth-shattering, life-changing depths that Miranda takes on as her character changes day by day, hour by hour. I thought the text was haunting to read, but it is even more haunting to listen to the story unfold. Emily Bauer was believable as 'Miranda' from beginning to end. That isn't always the case with audiobooks. Typically, I don't bother with audiobooks. For one thing, I read very fast. Audio just slows me down. (Not that I'm following along with a book, like those kiddie records waiting for the bell to ding.) But I am so glad that I made an exception for Life As We Knew It. It was beautifully, beautifully done. It was slower, but in some ways that made it even better. The words were able to sink in fully. The situations, the circumstances, the characters seemed to resonate more with time. Since it took about a week--maybe a week and a half--to listen to the seven discs (or is six???), I found myself lost in the story...thinking about the characters all the time. It was more emotional, more intense. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this was my second time to read it. The first time I was too concerned about finding out what happened, too caught up in the plot to really savor each and every page fully.

Anyway, I can't recommend this one highly enough!!! And there will be a companion novel to Life As We Knew It. So we can get even more perspectives on this terrifying catastrophe.

Hint: If you want to read this one yourself, you should definitely check out her blog. Especially the post that says "Another One Dusts the Byte"

http://susanbethpfeffer.blogspot.com/

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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