Life As We Knew It: Book Review

I should call this a book venting. Before anyone freaks out on me. I’m not trying to be mean, I read the entire book and enjoyed it. Only it was just one of those books where in the end I wish it had been scientifically accurate. The ways people reacted to the events were true to form. The science, however, was shaky at best.

Let me share some notes I highlighted while reading. I’m going to reveal basic plot points, so if you want to be spoiler free just go read it yourself. It’s on Amazon Kindle Unlimited now- Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Very early on at the 4% mark, I started telling my family about this book.
“I don’t know what kind of book this is yet, but the moon is about to get hit by an asteroid and everyone on Earth is excited and happy about it,” I said.

That doesn’t seem right. I’m no astrophysicist but it seems to me that the reaction should be closer to the one in the movies Armageddon or Deep Impact.

But, hey, a benefit of the doubt, this could be a dystopian world. Maybe it is not actually our Earth, and there is no need to panic cause we have a Space Force or something.

Nope. There was every need to panic, and all the astronomers in this fictional universe should be ashamed. I mean, no one caught on? Not even a dorky guy with a lot of papers full of evidence? How about a high school teacher whom everyone thought was nuts? He could have driven all the way to DC to meet up with barely disguised fictional President Bush and shouted the alarm.

Anyhow, totally sucked in, and by the time they were all outside at their viewing parties I was chomping at the bit for some chunks of the moon to head our way.

We didn’t get chunks, but we got a much larger closer moon. Which as you may know is not great for the tides. The planet goes berserk. There are tsunamis, volcanoes, storms, and the inevitable flu epidemic and by the time the story is over I was hoping for werewolves. There was also malaria? In Pennsylvania? Hmmm. They get storms and eventually ash from volcanoes far away which is plausible.

The entire thing is in diary form and everydayness is one of the things I liked about it. The world doesn’t end with a bang it goes out with a whimper. Starving to death takes a long time when you’ve got some food. The family dynamics seemed true to real life and the ending although well timed is also in the realm of possibility.

The author seems pretty anti-organized religion and I didn’t like that the only religious figure in the book was a nutcase. I’m guessing that statistically there would be plenty of normal people praying about this situation.

This book will make you want to stock up on canned goods the same way that Dry made me want to bury a water tank in the yard.

I stayed up very late finishing it in hopes of something finally happening or some kind of a twist ending and I’m going to need to stew a bit more before I decide if I’m reading books 2 and 3!!

Spliced

This story probably isn’t meant to be an allegory to the current state of attitudes towards minorities, but once you start reading it, you can’t help but notice the parallels to modern society. The topic at hand draws inspiration from various sources – from the discrimination against people of the LGBT community (in particular against transgender people), against people of color, immigrants and also from draconian legislation passed in regards to human rights. I moved this review up on my schedule so that I could help (in my smallish way) to build some buzz for this title. First a definition:

Chimera (ki-mir-a) n. A person who pays back-alley geneticists to splice animal genes into their own illegally. 

The MC Jimi was a bit aggravating at the start of the book, with her ‘disgust’ about the ‘terrible mistake’ the chimeras are making. She simply doesn’t understand her friend Del and worries about all the implications of becoming a Chimera especially after they witness a police officer becoming overly violent while he is apprehending some chimeras.

I’m not sure if I would call Spliced science fiction or dystopia? It is a world in which human gene editing has become possible and human-animal chimeras exists.  In this dystopia, climate change has taken its toll, and only cities have power- the suburbs (zurbs) are kind of no man’s land where people live off the grid. Spliced imagines a world where a local legislation robs the chimeras of their rights as humans, and how quickly the hate-groups can utilize the neutrality of people who stay silent on the issue to harm the disenfranchised. I think this is a great book for parents and teens to read and discuss.

Bonus the author has a website where you can upload a photo and get Spliced!

Spliced By Jon McGoran September 29, 2017

Orphan Island

World Cat Link

This story is so full of the best kind of imagery. It takes hold of you on page one and doesn’t let go until the end. It’s the kind of book that I had to let stay in my mind for awhile before starting a new book. On an island, in the middle of the ocean, nine orphans live together. The island’s beginnings are a mystery, but the island protects the children, providing all they need. Each year, a small boat arrives to take the oldest child (the Elder) away and to bring the newest, youngest child ashore. The next oldest child then becomes the new Elder and is in charge of the new arrival, their Care. This is how it’s always been and how it always will be. I was worried that this would somehow fall into the Lord of the Flies somehow and spent the first few chapters dreading when things would go south. (Spoiler: It doesn’t. Whew.) What it does do is give you a warm, cozy feeling all while recognizing that growing up is full of uncertainties whether you live on an island or not. I highly recommend this book for middle graders.

I read a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Orphan Island

written by Laurel Snyder  Published: May 30th, 2017 by Walden Pond Press