this world we live in by Susan Beth Pfeffer

this world we live in coverThis World We Live In is the third and final book in the Last Survivors trilogy. It continues the saga of Miranda Evans and Alex Morales, two teenagers living in a world where the moon has been knocked closer to Earth, drastically changing the climate and causing a plethora of natural disasters and general chaos. We met Miranda in book one, Life As We Knew It (reviewed here!). She lives in a house in Pennyslvania with her mother, older brother Matt and younger brother Johnny. They have survived a whole year since the moon disaster with barely any food and mostly Laura’s willpower keeping them alive. In book two, The Dead and The Gone (reviewed here!) we met Alex Morales, who lived in New York City with his two younger sisters. Alex keeps himself and his sisters alive by stealing things from dead bodies and trading them for food on the black market. At the end of book two, Alex and his youngest sister Julie were leaving the city and heading to a convent and monastery. In book three, everyone important we have met in the past two novels comes together to find new ways to survive.

Bad news: this book pretty much sucked. So many things happened that didn’t make any sense. By themselves, these things might not have been so bad. But I had suspended disbelief as far as possible by buying into the moon moving closer to Earth causing such extreme worldwide catastrophe. Here are some of the things that went terribly wrong: Miranda’s father shows up at Miranda’s house with his new wife and new baby and a bunch of others in tow, including a random guy named Charlie as well as Alex and his sister Julie. No reasonable explanation is ever given for how Alex and Julie meet up with Miranda’s father and the rest of his tiny group. How they made it back to Miranda’s house in the snow and terrible weather with no food or vehicles is never sufficiently explained either. I was really intrigued to hear how Miranda and Alex end up crossing paths after leading such wildly different lives, and the explanation Pfeffer gave us was no good at all. It was like she didn’t care how they ended up together, she just wanted them to meet.

Once Alex and Miranda do meet, the fall in love in record time. They go from hating each other and arguing to making out in what works out to be about five minutes. Last teenage boy on Earth or not, that’s still ridiculous. Equally ridiculous was Miranda’s brothers, Matt and Johnny, going to the river to fish and Matt coming back married. Granted, I did like Syl, Matt’s wife, but coming back married in less than a week? Yeah I just can’t buy that.

Another huge gripe I had with this book was it being told entirely from Miranda’s perspective. Granted, I didn’t love it when Alex was the story teller in book two, but at least his voice would have provided diversity. ALL Miranda did was complain. I mean, sure her life did suck, that was pretty clear. But I also felt that was implied, and didn’t need Miranda’s depression shoved down my throat every other second. I understood Pfeffer’s point in writing in that way, and I don’t feel like every book I read has to be happy. But even sad or dark books can still be fun to read. I couldn’t get emotionally invested in Miranda because I didn’t like her. I didn’t really care what happened to her.

SPOILER ALERT!! This isn’t a huge spoiler, but it is a spoiler all the same. If you don’t want anything spoiled, skip this paragraph. Then there was Charlie. Charlie is both not a member of Miranda’s family (extended or otherwise) and not someone who has been in the other two books. He showed up, Miranda’s father and his new wife talked about how wonderful he was, he had about 10 lines of dialogue, and then he was pointlessly killed off in an anti-climatic scene. I am pretty sure Pfeffer threw him into the story just so she could have the drama of killing him off later, but that doesn’t work if I am not emotionally invested in the character, which I definitely wasn’t. Totally pointless character.

My final complaint: the story didn’t really end. I certainly wasn’t expecting a happy ending, but I was expecting some sort of finished or concluded feeling. Maybe a plan, or glimmer of hope. Maybe Pfeffer wanted to leave it open in case she decides to write another book at some point? I don’t know. Whatever she was thinking, it wasn’t a good idea as far as I’m concerned. I just felt like this whole series started off so cool and had so much potential and just tanked. The one thing that can be said it that it was a quick read. I didn’t waste too much of my life on it. Back to the paranormal romance, I think.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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One response to “this world we live in by Susan Beth Pfeffer

  1. I happen to like what Susan did with the characters. First Miranda loses David and Brandon, but now, she has the chance to finally be happy with another living person beyond her family.

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