This World We Live In
The Last Survivors
By Susan Beth Pfeffer
I got my wish! This World We Live In continues a few months after the end of Life as We Knew It. We’re back with the original narrator, Miranda, and her family. Which is all well and good until a new group of people is introduced, Alex and his sister in tow.
Neat right? The books converge! Characters interact! New problems!
I wish I could stay excited about it.
This World We Live In flopped pretty hard for me.
The story itself was pretty generic in comparison to The Dead and the Gone. We, once again, have the original, less compelling stakes from Life as We Knew It. All that’s really added is an additional group of people and convincing the local authority—pretty easy—to give them more food. Sure, nothing is certain, but with the ending of Life as We Knew It being all about hope, it’s hard to believe the food runs will stop.
So then what drives the story? A shaky will-he-won’t-he with Alex—I’ll come back to him—planning to take his sister away to live at a convent. Will he do it? Will he really send her away? But, oh no! He likes Miranda and doesn’t want to leave!
It’s hard to be totally spoiler-free in this one as nothing much changes throughout the book. Things happen; they can’t leave. Things are said; they can’t leave. Someone gets sick; they can’t leave. They finally leave; they can’t leave.
My biggest problem with This World We Live In are the couple of badly thought out romances Pfeffer inserted into the book. The first one, Miranda’s brother and a random stranger, is the least of my worries and side characters often do weird things to plod along a plot. But Miranda and Alex? Nope, that one came out of nowhere. The romance had no build whatsoever. Miranda thought Alex was attractive in her diary entries, but she doesn’t seem to focus on it too much. She’s a little dramatic—as usual—with talking about “the last boy on earth” and all that jazz, but nothing more. She was fully convinced Alex didn’t even like her. Then suddenly they’re madly in love and thinking about running away together. And I do mean suddenly.
Which brings me to Alex’s character. Yes, it’s been months since he and his sister got out of New York City and traveled to places unknown and destroyed. He somehow meets up with Miranda’s father and ends up in Pennsylvania with plans to take his sister to a convent and then join a monastery and spend his life in . . . self-loathing and begging forgiveness? I’m not too clear on that part or how it makes sense even after it’s explained in the book. Either way, prepare for Alex to have a shiny, new personality that’s pretty one-dimensional to fit Miranda’s.
My favorite character is the cat. Long live Horton.
So, that’s three books down. Just one left and I’m . . . hesitant. I’ll hope for the best, so be sure to check back for the series finale, The Shade of the Moon.