Synopses & Reviews
Set in the very near future, a wounded New York struggles with the aftermath of a power plant explosion that plunged the city into fourteen days of violence and darkness. Christened "Big Black" by the media, the presumed terrorist attack accomplished what 9/11 couldn't: killing the city's spirit and draining it of its life force. An enormous bug-like dome hastily constructed to keep toxic gases from escaping the site casts a gloomy pall over the city and serves as a bleak reminder of the tragedy. Deprived of all reason for optimism, New York's inhabitants slowly withdraw from human interaction and into the cold comfort of technology.
Seventeen-year-old Mal returns to the Brooklyn home of his foster parents one night to discover that his older brother, Tommy, has vanished after leaving a strange message on his phone. Mal launches a search for his brother that leads to a foreboding, seemingly unoccupied Manhattan skyscraper; once inside, he makes a careless mistake that reveals hidden cracks in the surface of the world he knows. Meanwhile, Laura, a high school senior is shaken from her quiet suburban life when her parents inexplicably abandon her and two agents from Homeland Security armed with a hypodermic needle show up at her home.
The two teenagers are thrown together with a cynical and bitter highschool teacher named Mike, and Jon Remak, a covert agent for a shadowy cooperative. The strangers share little in common, save for one terrifying fact: someone or something has wiped them from the memories of every single person the four have ever known. Only by working together can Mal and Laura hope to reclaim a past that was stolen from them--and start a future no one can take away.
"As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier, this companion novel returns to the premise of that previous book to show how New York City responds to the global disasters that ensue when an asteroid knocks the moon out of orbit. . . . Once again Pfeffer creates tension not only through her protagonist's day-to-day struggles but also through chilling moral dilemmas: whether to rob the dead, who to save during a food riot, how long to preserve the hope that his parents might return. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers."
--Publishers Weekly (starred), 5/19/08
"As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier, this companion novel returns to the premise of that previous book to show how New York City responds to the global disasters that ensue when an asteroid knocks the moon out of orbit. . . . Once again Pfeffer creates tension not only through her protagonists day-to-day struggles but also through chilling moral dilemmas: whether to rob the dead, who to save during a food riot, how long to preserve the hope that his parents might return. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers."
--Publishers Weekly (starred), 5/19/08
(Publishers Weekly, May 19 2008 )
Praise for Life as We Knew It:
"You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails."
--teenreads.com [star] "Absorbing from first page to last . . . Celebrates the fortitude and resourcefulness of human beings during critical times."--Publishers Weekly (starred)
* "As riveting as Life as We Knew It and even grittier. . . . The powerful images and wrenching tragedies will haunt readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Everything Pfeffer writes about seems wrenchingly plausible."—Booklist, starred review
"Incredibly engaging."—Kirkus Reviews
This intense psychological drama, showing the brightest and darkest sides of humanity, offers remarkable acts of courage and disturbing images of domestic violence. Willa's frankly portrayed grief, confusion, and uncertainties will have a strong impact on readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The sheer drama of the plot will draw readers, and they’ll stay for an insightful exploration of the way families go both right and wrong."--Bulletin
Praise for The Hallowed Ones
"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."
—Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy
"What an eerily believable, unique story! I can't stop thinking about it--or shivering."
—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books
"Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle's debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more."
"Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure."
"Katie's an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions's gallery of strong heroines."
Praise for The Outside
* "Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul."
—Kirkus, starred review
"At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller. Brava! Just superbly done!"
—Darynda Jones, New York Times Bestselling author of Third Grave Dead Ahead and The Darklight Series
"This dystopian mind bender is quite complex, and the steadily building plot takes several mysterious twists. The book begins in a very realistic manner, introducing the teen protagonists as well-developed and likeable characters while systematically adding layers and new characters to their story. As the book nears its conclusion, that sense of reality shifts considerably and sometimes throws the reader off kilter. The story is quick moving and full of action, both physical and intellectual. While reluctant or struggling readers may find this book difficult to follow, it is highly recommended for teen and adult readers who are willing to take on a challenging read for the payoff of a well-written, intricately plotted story."—VOYA
"This first novel is an ambitious, cautionary—and even paranoiac—story of the soul-destroying power of a consumer society run amok and the near-cosmic forces it unleashes. Its a fascinating premise, and though the page-turning action slows a bit in the second half to explore some of the more abstruse causes behind the mind-bending effects, that doesnt detract from the great many intriguing, original, and thought provoking ideas at play here.."—Booklist
"You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails."and#160; --teenreads.com on Life As We Knew It
"You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails." --teenreads.com on Life As We Knew It
Susan Beth Pfeffers Life as We Knew It
enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.
New York Citys spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. Theyve never met. Seemingly, they never will.
But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.
Willa is lucky. She has a happy familyMom, Jack, her stepsisters Brooke and Alyssa, and Willaall living together in peace and contentment. But a frantic phone call from her mother's best friend from her hometown of Pryor, Texas, shatters that calm and stability. Willa's birth father has murdered his second wife and two daughters and the police think he is on his way east to find Willa and her mother.
Questions abound as Willa realizes that her mother has held on to many secrets. As those secrets begin to spill out, Willa is compelled to seek the truth about the family she never knew existed. In dusty Pryor, away from the peaceful home life shed always known, Willa begins to find her roots and question the meaning of blood ties. Only by looking at all of the pieces that make up her life can Willa discover her strength and independenceand realize what family ties really mean.
Blood can both wound and heal . . .
Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother. Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear.
A riveting companion to Life As We Knew It
In this captivating thriller, Amish teen Katie secretly lets an injured stranger into her isolated community—but has she also let in the plague that is destroying the outside world?
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she cant leave him to die. She smuggles him into her familys barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.
A post-apocalyptic near-future adventure wherein power plant explosion plunges New York into darkness and violence, and two teens struggle to create their future in a world ravaged by ecological disaster and corporate greed.
About the Author
Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the New York Times bestseller Life As We Knew It, which was nominated for more than 20 state awards, The Dead & the Gone, and This World We Live In. Pfeffer's other books include the bestselling novel The Year Without Michael and the popular Portraits of Little Women series and Kid Power, which won the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and the Sequoyah Book Award.