Format: Audio-book – Library
Calling these two books a modern Diary of Anne Frank gives them too much credit, but there are certainly parallels. They’re written journal-entry style by a teen girl who’s cramped in a small space with her family in a time where death lurks around every corner. They’re also both brutally honest about the mood swings and irrational tendencies of a teenager in a difficult situation. There’s a LOT of YA in which our protagonists go through extreme trauma and just plod through because they’re Strong(TM). One of my favorite things about The Hunger Games is how much a mess Katniss is by the third book. Girl is a disaster and it’s beautiful writing. It’s accurate.
Well that’s what we get in Miranda, who is whining before the apocalypse even happens. You gotta know you’re in for a treat when your protagonist can’t handle being a regular upper middle class teen. I actually like this; I’d rather read about a real teen than a fake one. Miranda’s an actual teenager. I’m a cheerful, mellow, person and I can remember feeling resentful and angry as a teen. So, Pfeffer gets some realism points there.
She loses TEN BILLION realism points when she lets all the astronomers in the world miss how big this thing was that hit the moon and bonked it closer to Earth. We are SO much better at science than that. We’re capable of incredibly complex and precise calculations, such as this fact: the moon moves 3.78 centimeters further away from the Earth every year, in a continuing spiral. I learned that just now from googling “what if the moon was closer?”
Now, I am technically a scientist (Thank you, my Master of Science in Human Development) so I did some scientific exploration just now (aka, I googled it), and found out that she’s right-ISH about what would happen if the moon were closer to the Earth. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would be caused– literally– by Earth tides. If it was closer, the moon’s gravity would literally mess with the earth part of Earth, not just the tides. Of course, this would also mean that instead of the moon getting further away every year, it would get closer. Then, it would reach a certain point and break up. This point is called the Roche Limit or the Roche Radius. Basically the moon would become a ring around Earth, and it would be mind-bogglingly deadly.
See how much we just learned, my friends?
Sorry, that was a bit of a science tangent, but it’s a lot of what I was thinking about as worse and worse things kept happening. We get to hang out with Miranda and her family and watch the slow, inexorable tumble of society. I like this bit, too. There’s a lot of dystopian books that just drop you in the middle of the craziness a few years after The Event, but Pfeffer’s imagining on how everything falls down is fascinating. In particular, what happens to her two closest friends is horrifying.
This is a four book series, but I just read the two that are “narrated” by Miranda. I found it easy to go from book one to book three, but I might go back and read books 2 and 4 later. The family relationships feel real, the premise is interesting, and little is sugar-coated. They’re both quick, entertaining reads, that won’t leave you amazed, but likely won’t disappoint, either.
Subjective Hearts: 4/5
Objective Hearts: 3/5
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