Bleak And Reviting Conclusion in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s This World We Live In

This World We Live In picks up where Life As We Knew It left off.  Characters, Alex and Julie from The Dead And The Gone are also main characters in this 3rd book.  It is just as bleak and terrifying as the first book.  I loved it!  Miranda’s family is still on the brink of starvation, even though they recently began receiving government food.  Miranda’s father returns with his wife, and new baby boy.  He brings a group of survivors with him, including Alex and Julie.  I’ll admit, I did not read the 2nd book, The Dead And The Gone, so there were moments I missed out on when they referred to Alex’s troubled past.  The new arrivals bring a new set of problems, such as how to make the food stretch, although they are happy for extra help and human contact.  Alex and Miranda form a bond, kind of feeling like the last boy and girl in the world. They go scavenging in the abandoned houses together.  Alex has the idea to go out into the country and search those homes.  Inside one, they find a gruesome scene where a man died and his dog ate most of him.  But he was protecting a treasure trove of canned food and a van with gas left in the tank.  This gives them hope.  But in the weeks ahead, Alex must make some tough decisions about his sister’s future.  More natural disasters hit, causing the group to reevaluate what is safe.  Brilliant!  I really wish there would be more books.  I really want to know what happens next.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

How has Miranda grown and changed since Life As We Knew It?

Discuss Miranda and Alex’s looting.

Miranda feels like the last girl and on earth and Alex is the last boy.  Should they be together?

Alex talks about things that are worse than death.  How do you feel about the plan he has for his sister, Julie?  Discuss what Miranda ultimately had to do.

Talk about Miranda’s relationship with her dad.  Should she have gone with him the first time?

What would you do?  Would you want to leave and see what else is out there or stay where you think is safe?

What do you think will happen next?  What do you think the safe cities will be like?

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