Monday, December 12, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 18

A book that disappointed you

It could be really easy to go on and on about this, but I'm going to try to keep it simple.

I read Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer in 2008.  It is a really great book, written as a journal of a 16 year old girl.  An asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to earth, and all sorts of crazy things happen like tsunamis and volcanos erupting and it's pretty apocalyptic.  So this girl has to basically survive inside of her own home with her family.

She has to go from a self-absorbed teen to someone who finds slivers of hope in a tragedy, and learns to quit taking her family for granted and instead be thankful that they're even alive.  It's honestly beautiful character progression, and as an added bonus this book will make you so paranoid that you will stock up on canned food and potable water.

This book is not the one that disappointed me.  There is a second book that's not technically a sequel, it's just the same events told from the perspective of a boy in NYC.  It's okay.

But there is a third book where the girl in book 1 and the boy in book 2 get together and their families try to survive together.  It is awful.  Because you desperately want to know what happens to Miranda after the closing scenes of book 1, and you are SO relieved when this "sequel" comes out because finally you get to know!

But... this is going to sound really critical and I'm sorry to Susan Beth Pfeffer.  It's like she got such a huge reaction from how good the first book was that she was like - I better make a sequel.  But she just threw it together.  All of the beautiful character progression and growth that Miranda and her family had gone through in the first book is gone, and in some ways they have regressed into selfish whining idiots.  The setting might be cool - what is the world like now? Are there people anymore? But we're given a disappointingly small amount of information on what is happening in the world and what we are given is lacking in detail.  "They drive to a house.  There are people there.  The people give them some food."  Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that a "romance" arises between Miranda and the boy from Book 2, a romance that will baffle anyone who reads the book.  Why are they interested in each other?  There is no reason.  What actually takes place in their relationship?  Nothing.  I think they kiss once.  I don't think there was a reason.  They just arbitrarily become a couple that don't really act all that into each other or interact much.  One review I read on Goodreads says, "for all we know they fell in love because they weren't related."

After how awesome the first book was, the let-down of this "sequel" was crushing.  I recommend Life As We Knew It to patrons all the time, but I tell them to not bother with either of the other books.

P.S. - I just looked ahead and there aren't really any more "negative" book discussions like this one.  I'm a little tired of complaining about stuff.  From here on we get to talk about cool stuff, yeah!

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