It's been almost a year since an asteroid crashed into the Earth's moon, sending it just a bit closer to Earth and causing violent disruptions resulting in flooding, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Miranda Evans and her family have faced the year of deprivation in their home in Pennsylvania by accepting once weekly food deliveries from what's left of the government and pillaging the abandoned homes nearby. Life goes on, though sometimes it seems hopeless when so many are dying and there is no relief from the constant hunger and lack of electricity. Still, it's the life Miranda, her mother and two brothers have come to know, which is security in itself; then things change yet again when Miranda's brother Matt returns from a fishing trip with a wife and Miranda's father shows up with not only his wife and child, but three more people. How will they cope? How can they share? Will there ever be a return to a sense of normalcy?
This World We Live In is the third and final book in Susan Beth Pfeffer's trilogy about a catastrophe that changes everything. The book pretty much picks up not long after book one (book two being a companion story of Alex and his sister Julie, both of whom are in book three) and many of the same desperate situations still face the Evans family. Though things will never be the same, Miranda does begin to experience her first taste of love when she gets to know Alex, and her concerns are not so different than a normal teen's on many levels. The addition of the new characters to the Evans mix gives life to the idea of going to one of the secret "safe towns" and Miranda and her family have to determine what sort of world they will make out of the ashes of the one long gone.
This book is well told and utterly believable; I could see events transpiring precisely as Ms.Pfeffer depicts, and Miranda's musings are typical of anyone facing serious crisis in family and survival. In fact, I was loving this novel right up until the final three or four chapters when it seemed that the author just didn't know how to get her characters out of the bind they'd found themselves in. The ending just didn't seem to make a lot of sense to me and I just could not buy that characters who had struggled so long would make such life altering decisions when there were other options available. Still, this is a fascinating look at what would likely happen if such a natural disaster took place, and Ms. Pfeffer does give her characters complex emotions amid devastating circumstances. Recommended...with reservations about the final ending.
One last observation that really has nothing to do with the novel but bugs me just the same (and probably shows how shallow I am): Every time I look at the cover of this novel, I see a giant breast, not a moon. It was also the first thing my husband pointed out about the book when he saw me reading it. Am I alone in this observation? If so, that's okay, but I just felt the need to say someone needed to think about the cover art. Just sayin'.