Miranda is a 15-year-old concerned with the usual things a sophomore in high school thinks about like classes, grades, her friends and boys. She barely even notices when people start talking about a meteor on a direct path to hit the moon. After the meteor hits, however, sending the moon off its axis, her world starts to rapidly change. With the tides out of control and weather patterns distorted, basic services start to shut down and only thanks to some fortunate circumstances and fast preparations by her mother, do Miranda and her family stand a chance.
Told through Miranda’s diary entries, she shares her struggle of coping with an unfamiliar life and the her newly arranged priorities in this quiet story that contrasts drastically with what must be the harsher reality of the crumbling world outside her immediate family. The narrative is compelling, particularly as she struggles to gain independence in the increasingly smaller world of her family. The first in a trilogy, this “Moon Saga” will be tough to put down.
Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of the YA classic The Year without Michael, the Moon Trilogy and many other books for young people. Determined to become a writer since the first grade, her book Just Morgan was published during her last semester at New York University. She lives in The Town of Wallkill, New York.
Where are you from and what was it like growing up there?
I grew up on Long Island in a suburb of New York City. I liked it there. The high school I went to was academically very competitive, and I enjoyed being surrounded by smart people (even if their grades were better than mine).
There were a lot of very rich kids in my high school, but I don’t remember envying them. My parents both liked their jobs and they had a very happy marriage. I had a terrific big brother and a house with room for all of us, and while there were things I wanted that I didn’t get, for the most part I was okay with that.
I was, however, very impatient to be through with school and be a grownup.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer and how did you get started?
I wanted to be a writer from first grade on. My father was a constitutional lawyer, and his first book was published when I was in first grade. I remember looking at the title page and seeing the name Pfeffer and looking on the dedication page and seeing the name Susan, and thinking they both looked really good in print.
I had always been an imaginative kid. I gave personalities to letters and numbers. So in first grade I wrote my first “novel.” It was called Dookie The Cookie and it was four pages long. Dookie escapes from the cookie jar and ends up in the attic where he falls in love with Sally The Scissors. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end, action and characters.
I’ve probably learned a lot about writing since then, but it was definitely a good start.
What kind of research did you do to figure out what effects the moon moving off course would have on the earth?
I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that the moon controls the tides. And I have a basic understanding of gravity, or at least an awareness that gravity exists. So when I was looking for a disaster to use in Life As We Knew It, I was attracted to the idea of moving the moon a bit closer to earth and affecting its gravitational pull.
I don’t remember doing real hard core research. I did talk to my brother about various things that m