Sixteen-year-old Miranda and her family — mom, older brother Matt and younger brother Jonny — live a normal life in a small town in Pennsylvania. She deals with the everyday school stuff; with the tragedy of a friend’s death; with just the little normal, everyday things. In fact, when scientists say that a meteor is going to connect with the moon, Miranda figures it’s just another excuse for teachers to pile on the homework. It’s not supposed to be anything more than an interesting historical event; everyone is out watching the event, treating it as a block party.
However, the meteor is bigger than expected, or had more force than expected, and the moon slips out of orbit. Suddenly life as Miranda knew it was gone (along with all the islands, and many, many people). And that’s just the first couple of chapters.
The real power of this book is that Pfeffer completely has the reader convinced that this event is likely to happen. And asks the questions, over and over: Are you ready? Could you do this? How would you react in this situation? Questions that are uncomfortable, as is the increasing tension building through the first third of the book.
The rest is spent on Miranda and her family’s efforts to survive the changes caused in the Earth by a closer moon orbit. The intensity subsides, and the reader is left with a tale of human beings working, learning, adapting, and succeeding and failing in turns as the weather, and situation, become increasingly dire. It’s a very human book — it shows us at our best and worst, soaring and falling, giving and taking. It’s excellent on many levels: as a straightforward catastrophe story; as a coming-of-age story of a girl who has to shoulder things she never thought she would have to; but, ultimately, as a portrait of a family learning to work together in the face of a rapidly changing, and ever harsher, world. An excellent book.
Rated: Mild, for some mild language and intensity.