Review: This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Title: This World We Live In (Last Survivors #3)
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publication date: April 1, 2010

Set a year after Life as We Knew It, This World We Live in is the third book in the Last Survivors series. It ties the first two books together with the introduction of Alex and Julie to Miranda and her family. Unfortunately, this book is not nearly as good as the first two books. Maybe it’s because there’s a pattern of miraculous events (Food is rapidly running out? A huge stash of food is found just in time!) that I noticed in the first two but was willing to overlook at the time because I was having such a good time reading those books. But in This World We Live In, it just grates. There are also all these extra characters running asking me to care about them and (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!) the cat dies. It is clearly telegraphed well before it happens and with the events at the end of the book, I can see why it had to happen, but I still don’t have to be happy about it.

This World We Live in also tries to pack a series worth of romance into one book, with poor results. Matt is suddenly married (!!!), Miranda decides she’s in love with Alex in, like, five seconds, and even Jon and Julie have a little thing going. I know they’re teenagers and these are the only members of the opposite sex they’ve seen in a long time, but come on. It’s all just a little too much. I was disappointed in Matt, who was so great in the first book and now acts like Syl is his long-time girlfriend who OF COURSE would be welcomed into the family, not some girl using a fake name that he picked up on a fishing trip. So shady. And there’s Miranda, who’s ready to forget about her entire family for this guy she’s just met which doesn’t say much for her character.

“But don’t count too much on Alex. He’s a great boy, Miranda, a wonderful boy, but that’s what he is, a boy. A boy who’s been given so much responsibility, he thinks he must be a man.”

That about sums him up. He’s not great boyfriend material. I can see their future now. He’s going to get some wild idea and run off, leaving Miranda alone and with a mess to clean up. Alex has always been pretty controlling and I can kind of get that with his sisters back in New York, where he was trying to shield them from the realities of life and keep them alive, but there are real adults around now. He doesn’t always have to be The Man and make all the decisions for Julie anymore. Especially since Julie is growing up an has opinions, too.

I don’t want to be too hard on Alex, though, because I did like him in The Dead & The Gone. This isn’t an easy situation for anyone. I mean, it’s hard enough when my internet goes out for a few hours. I can’t imagine having to adjust to an entirely new world and worrying about starving or freezing to death.

Even though it’s left open enough that there are more story possibilities, This World We Live In feels like the final book of the series. The ending wraps things up, with Miranda putting away — but taking care not to burn — her diaries. But there’s a fourth book! I suspect it will feel like a tacked on cash grab for the publisher, but I plan to read it anyway. Have to find out what happens, you know.

3 stars