I actually meant to do this last month, but alas, laziness -_-'
And spoilers ahead.
So I want to give you all a story: On October 1, 2006, Susan Beth Pfeffer published the book, Life as We Knew It. This amazing story, set in journal format in the perspective of sixteen-year-old Miranda as she sees life as she knew it (crappy pun's crappy) turned upside down when the biggest astroid ever recorded to hit the Moon makes such an impact it knocks it off its axis and closer to the Earth. Natural disasters increase ten fold- rapid tsunamis instantly wipe out coastal cities and volcanoes spew out enough volcanic ash to permanently pollute the air and block out a good layer of the sun. Through the journal, we see Miranda's family's-consisting of her mother, her brother Jon, and her older brother Matt- struggle to survive in a world gone mad as food increasingly becomes scarce and community steadily crumbles. Miranda deals with friends dying and the constant worry of the fates of her father and stepmother, Lisa, who is pregnant at the time.
When I read this book I loved it, and I was pleased to find out that Ms. Pfeffer not only written a sequel, but a third book as well: "The Dead and the Gone" and "This World We Lived In."
The former focuses around the perspective of Alex, who strives to take care of his two sisters, Bianca and Julie, while trying to cling the vain hope that their parents survived the natural disasters occurring and trying to get into contact with his brother, Carlos.
In the third book, Alex and Miranda's fates intertwine as they finally meet up with Miranda's father and Lisa, who happen to have stumbled upon Alex and Julie once they leave the past behind in New York.
I haven't thought of anything about this series since I last read the third book, which was all the way back in seventh grade. Upon luck, one day at Barnes and Noble exposed to me the revelation that Ms. Pfeffer had actually written a fourth book: Shade of the Moon. I was interested, and though I hardly remember anything about the previous books, I was curious to see how this one would play out. Taking in the perspective of Miranda's brother Jon, four years after the moon disaster, I really wanted to know what had happened to Miranda and Alex and what lay in store for Jon.
What I got was a slap in the face and a deep feeling of cheating and waste of fifteen dollars.
I don't know where Pfeffer's skills as a writer that she displayed in the previous three books went, but they surely weren't present this time as this is officially the WORST book I have ever read.. I couldn't even FINISH it. "But HG, how do you know you hate if it you haven't read it all the way?"
Because when I got to Chapter 3 and was so fed up with the piss poor writing and all out idiotic dialogue that I quit I skimmed through the book to see what happens. And let me tell you, I was not only disgusted with the revelations that happen but overall pissed off that good money I could've been saving to buy another book got wasted on this piece of trash.
And yes, you read that right, I got to Chapter 3 and just couldn't take anymore. So, where to start on this piece of roadkill. Well:
1). The so-called "society" that Jon lives in with Lisa and his half-brother, Gabe, is so far fetched and a complete binary mess of corrupt morale. You know why all those dystopic novels like The Hunger Games and Uglies take place hundreds of years in the supposed future? Because evil government and caste systems take time. Not only that, but when government has completely backed out of the equation and the environment's so bad that you literally cannot grow anything naturally anymore, even there'd be enough common sense for people to realize that they have to stick together.
But apparently in Susan Pfeffer's world, all it takes is four years for human integrity to go out the window.
Apparently it only takes four years for people to become self righteous assholes and decide that them-vs-us is an applicable concept. Clavers (chemists, biologists, scientists) are the aristocrats for whatever reason (though they sure as hell don't do anything) and that the Grubs (labor workers like Alex and Miranda) are second class citizens and for whatever reason don't deserve anything better.
Give me a break. You're telling me that evil tyranny and complete twist of the social hierarchy does a complete one eighty in less than FIVE YEARS? Shut up. No it doesn't. Which leads me to my next point.....
2). You can't stand the characters. You'd think someone like Jon who sees the living conditions Grubs like his mom, brother, and sister go through would have a way better moral compass and realize that things could and need to be better. I don't remember much of his character from the first book, but many said that Jon was rather bratty. Which is understandable considering that when the moon disaster does occur, Jon is stated to be only 13. So of course he would be childish when he's a child himself.
But that was then.
In this book, Jon is a complete entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, whining, disgusting piece of shit. This fucking dirtbag is so fucking selfish and stuck up that I just wanted to reach into the book and slap him silly. Instead of seeing that they way the clavers live is wrong (including but not limited to raping, arson, and stealing) Jon is somehow automatically led to believe that the way the Grubs are living (breathing the filthy air, working every day all week for 20 or so hours a day, living in unsanitary and filthy conditions) and says that "they get more than they deserve."
Are you fucking kidding me? Katniss Everdeen could see through the bullshit of watching murder on pay per view for the enjoyment of a classist capital after it had been going on for hundreds or thousands of years, but this motherfucker is so dense that he can't even think about the suffering his family has gone through after two fucking years of luxury? Jon doesn't hesitate to call people like his motherfucking FAMILY, the ones that sacrificed portions of food for him so he could survive, a derogatory term and uses bullshit excuses like "Things could be better for grubs, but they could also be better for clavers" even though while Alex and Miranda (who's PREGNANT, by the way) have consistent coughing from breathing in the dirty air and work backbreaking hours all day every day while living in a heatless apartment while this spoiled brat gets to study, breathe in filtered clean air, and play fucking soccer. When you read deeper into the book, he only gets worse when you find out what this fucking pig attempted to do to Julie a while back. But of course, it's never Jons' fault. His thinking is that hey, Julie liked him, so she of course had to have wanted it. And she wouldn't have been afraid to do it but she was afraid of Alex. It's never poor poor Jons' fault, and never before have I read on a character that was so awful and such a pathetic excuse for a human being. What's worse is that Pfeffer paints this picture to try and make it seem like Jon is someone to sympathize with. Bullshit, fuck this guy, and fuck this author for trying to justify such inhumane behavior.
Goddamn, did I want to like Sarah, but there's only so much asspulling you can take.
If you didn't suspect this by now, Sarah is basically the girl Jon ends up falling in love with and basically helps him with his family.
Let me tell you, this is no fucking romance.
To put it into perspective: Jon meets Sarah on a Friday. He talks to her during an earthquake drill. Monday, he talks to her on a bus. Jon's friends tell him not to hang out with Sarah because her father took the job of his friend Zach's father who apparently was wrongfully accused of doing something when he was treating Grub women. Tuesday, he kisses her and tells her, "I've liked you more than any girl I've known since I've been here."
Yep. He's known this girl for less than a week and has talked to her for three days and apparently that's enough to fall in love.
Like what the actual fuck, Pfeffer?
Sarah is no better because, oh my god, does this girl ever stay with her opinion? When she calls Jon out for using a term like Grub, he tells her it's no different then claver, and she agrees. She tells him it's wrong of him to have such a superiority complex, he tells her she doesn't know what it's like to be a Grub and somehow because Jon has Grub family members he automatically knows better and she shuts her mouth. She tells him it's not fair that the Grubs have to live such a way, and he tells her not to make assumptions since she's never lived that way. You see the pattern here?
3). The writing's terrible. I understand that with a book being written from third person perspective that you may not relate to a character as emotionally as you could with a character told from first person perspective. But in third person you can still connect with a character.
This didn't even feel like third person perspective. It just felt like I was being narrated a movie. And to make it worse, it's so BLAND. The moods of these characters do a complete one-eighty with absolutely no buildup. For example:
"I hate anniversary day," Sarah said. "I hate it so much."
"It's just one day," Jon said, "Then it's back to normal."
"There's no normal anymore," Sarah replied, "Normal got lost four years ago. It's never coming back."
"I know," Jon said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Sarah cried. "I know how lucky we are. How lucky I am. I just wish I could be luckier..."
What the hell? Honestly, when I first read the last line, I thought Sarah was being sarcastic. There's no hint she's upset. No inference. Nothing.
Well, I would put more, but when I'm especially angry I have a hard time finding the words and I'd rather not focus on this piece of shit any longer.
So all in all, a complete disappointment. 0/10. I refuse to waste any more time on this series.