Pfeffer, Susan Beth. 2010. (April 2010). This World We Live In. Harcourt. 256 pages.
I'm shivering, and I can't tell if it's because something strange is going on or because of the dream I had or just because I'm in the kitchen, away from the warmth of the woodstove. It's 1:15 AM, the electricity is on, and I'm writing in my diary for the first time in weeks.
This World We Live In is the sequel to both Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. How would I describe this oh-so-anticipated sequel? Intense and bleak. There's bleakity-bleak and bleakity-bleak. This is definitely as bleak as they come.
Miranda opens up her diary--after a month off give or take a week or two--by recounting some of her nightmares. And who could blame her really for having trouble sleeping? What with life as she knew it forever gone and so many unanswered questions and so many uncertainties burdening her. What hope does a month full (or year full) of tomorrows hold for her?
I haven't written in my diary in a month. I used to write all the time. I stopped because I felt like things were as good as they were ever going to get, that nothing was going to change again.
Only now it's raining.
And I'm writing again. (4)
Soon the rain isn't the only change in her life--in their lives. Matt and Jon have the brilliant idea to go off fishing, to see what they can catch now that the ice is beginning to melt as spring continues to thaw the ashy world. Matt returns with a wife, Syl--and a couple of garbage bags of fish to be salted and preserved. (Jon returns too.) Soon after, there's another knock at the door. Surprise! Dad and Lisa and company have arrived. Gabriel, a baby boy, brings joy to their lives again. But Dad's also brought three others: Julie and Alex (whom we met in the dead and the gone) and an older man, Charlie. These six teamed up traveling East and have become such good friends that they're family now. But though in some ways Miranda's world is expanding more than she ever thought possible, in some ways her world is just as bleak as before. More people to love means more people to worry about. More people struggling to survive with limited resources.
While the world Pfeffer has created here is dark and bleak--more the stuff of nightmares--I couldn't help but be drawn back into Miranda's story. It was one of those instances where you hated to read on yet couldn't help it. I had to keep reading until the very end. It was intense.
ARC provided by the publisher at request of the author. All quotes are subject to change.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews