2 words that describe the book―Disaster Diary
3 setting where the book took place or characters I met
- Setting: a small town in Pennsylvania (probably during the time of the George W. Bush administration based on the snarky comments in the book)
- Miranda is your typical 16-year-old girl―dreaming of a date to the prom, obsessed with a local figure skater who has a shot at making the Olympics, resentful of the homework her teachers pile on, conflicted about her parent’s divorce and father’s remarriage, confused about the changes in two of her best friends in the past year. But suddenly, all these “petty” problems become unimportant when a cataclysmic event takes place that changes life for everyone on the planet.
- The moon has always been an ever-present fixture in the sky―something Miranda and everyone else takes for granted. So when scientists announce that the moon is going to be hit by a meteor, everyone is excited to see what happens. Treating it like a party, Miranda and her family gather outside to watch this historic event. But when the meteor hits, the results are catastrophic and severe. Suddenly, “life as we knew it” is gone as the moon―a new closer, ominous looming presence in the sky―makes its presence known in ways scientists never foresaw.
4 things I liked or disliked about the book
- The book is written in diary format so we experience the disaster from Miranda’s point of view exclusively. We experience the fall-out of the moon disaster as Miranda does―from scrambling for food at the grocery store to the slow shrinking of her daily world. This was both a strength and a weakness of the book, in my opinion. On the one hand, you get to see Miranda’s world change from her point of view. On the other hand, you don’t get the “big picture” of what the moon is doing to rest of the world, which I kind of wanted. However, this is a series of three books, and I understand that the next book provides a different view of events.
- I’m not sure whether something like this could really happen, but I think Pfeffer came up with some “neat” ideas of what the fallout might be if the moon got knocked out of its orbit. If you like dystopic disaster stories, this one is a doozy. I’m sure the scientist types might be rolling their eyes at some of the events in the book, but if you just go along with it, it is a freaky little ride.
- Pfeffer does a good job of getting inside Miranda’s head. I thought Miranda’s reactions and emotions seemed like those of a typical teenager. Despite the disaster, Miranda still manages to clash with her mom. She has moments of weakness and shame, and moments where she steps up to the plate. She feels anger for what is happening to her and resentful about the decisions her mother makes to protect her younger brother Jonny. It was refreshing to have a character who wasn’t a perfect person; Miranda is flawed and messy and very human. As such, I could relate to her. (Even if she does forget that she was asked to the prom! Thanks, Alyce, for pointing this out.)
- Miranda’s friend Megan was bothersome to me. We learn that Megan has found religion and gotten heavily involved with her church. I felt unsure what Pfeffer was trying to do with this character. At times, it seemed like an attack on religion or religious types. At other times, it seemed like Pfeffer was simply presenting another type of reaction to contrast Miranda’s viewpoint. The parts with Megan were a bit odd to me, and I’m not entirely sure what I thought of them.
5 stars or less for my rating:
I’m giving the book 3.5 stars. If you love Young Adult dystopian books, you’ll probably love this book (and series) to pieces. I totally see the attraction of the book, yet I didn’t fall in love with it or feel like I have to rush out and read the next book right away. Of course, I was someone who liked Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series but didn’t love it (which didn’t stop me from preordering Mockingjay). If reading about end-of-the-world type stuff from a realistic teenager’s point of view is your thing, this book would be a must read. I guess it isn’t necessarily my thing. I’ve been on a pretty good reading streak lately (at least three 5 star books in the past few months) and this book just didn’t get me as excited as the books I recently read by Michael Chabon, Jeffrey Eugenedies and Marcus Zusak. And as far as dystopia, I much preferred the personal dystopia that Joshua Ferris created in The Unnamed, which I also recently read.
The Whys and Wheres: I borrowed this book from the library after seeing it mentioned on so many blogs, most recently at At Home With Books. (Alyce reviewed all three books in the past month, and I guess she kind of hypnotized me into starting the series, which I probably will finish eventually).
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