Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review - This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer (3.5/5 stars)

This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3)Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Survival/Post-Apocalyptic
Size: 256 pages

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: April 1, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0547248042
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd in Last Survivors Trilogy
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the third and final book in the Last Survivors series by Pfeffer.  It wraps things up nicely, but was my least favorite book of the bunch.

This book goes back to Miranda's perspective and is presented as day to day journal entries by her.  It has been almost a year since that fateful day when the moon was shoved closer to Earth. Miranda and her family are still surviving.  Things get more complicated though when Miranda's father returns with his new wife and their baby, along with two other kids.  One of the kids is Alex Morales, whose story we read in the second book.  As they struggle to survive, the reader learns that no matter what happens life will continue to limp forward.

This book was a lot less about survival and more about how the characters in the house interacted with each other.  For me that just wasn't as interesting as the previous books have been.  All of the characters are worn and tired and there is very little that is about hope in this book. 

Even Alex and Miranda falling in love, so to speak, was a bit depressing.  There was a lot about this that really bothered me. They didn't really seem to like each other all that much, or even have much in common.  They were just both there and both around the same age so they were a couple.  They quickly went from "I can't stand you" to "I am desperately in love with you" and it didn't make much sense.  I guess if you are living from day to day you learn to not be picky about who you are attached to.

A large part of this book revolves around Miranda's family being torn apart and moving on with their lives.  Miranda's eldest brother finds a wife, who loves him because he doesn't beat her up like her previous guys have.  Miranda's younger brother finds a good friend in Alex's younger sister Julie.  Miranda's mom is kind of the one left floundering, which is ironic considering she is the reason they survived so long in the first place.  No of the characters are all that admirable, they are just survivors and are at times selfish and hard to deal with.

Much of the survival is similar to what you saw in the first book, the only difference being that with spring around the corner they can be outside more.  The book ends fairly open ended as you might expect a book like this too.  There are occasional glimpses of hope throughout, but they are rare.  Basically if you expect that the characters will be miserable and continue to limp through life, well then that's what happens in this book.   They occasionally take solace in each other, but things never really look like they are going to get much better for our families.

Overall an okay read.  I enjoyed that it went back to the journal format.  The characters are very human, which makes them unlikable at times but realistic.  Pfeffer doesn't throw any allusions of hope at the reader; she shows that humans are willing to move on and accept what they have to to survive.  Even the love between Miranda and Alex is shadowed by this sentiment; Miranda often calls Alex "last boy on earth" and mentions that it's better than no boy at all.  I probably won't be reading future works by Pfeffer; while I enjoyed some of the events leading to the apocalypse and reading about how the characters survived things in general, this was just too depressing of a read for me.

This book goes to the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge

This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) 

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