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This World We Live In
by SUSAN BETH PFEFFER
About the Guide This World We Live In is a novel most appropriate for readers in grades 7-12 or ages 12-18. This guide was created to be used for the classroom or smaller reading groups. There are a variety of questions, some addressing comprehension of the story and others prompting readers to draw conclusions, speculate, and have opportunities for “digging deeper” into the story. The questions can be adapted as writing prompts. The questions and many of the activities are aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The page numbers in the guide refer to the hardcover edition. About the Author Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of many books for teens, including the dead and the gone, the companion novel to Life As We Knew It, and the bestselling novel The Year Without Michael. Among her other books are the popular Portraits of Little Women series and the award-winning Kid Power. She lives in Middletown, New York. Pre-­Reading Activities Remind readers of recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and the tsunami that struck Indonesia.. Discuss with readers what they would do if catastrophe were to suddenly strike them. What knowledge, skills, and supplies should they have to help them survive? There are numerous web sites with information about asteroids and the moon. Give readers an opportunity to explore these, and then have them share with one another facts they have discovered. W 7.6 In emergency situations, some people adopt a “survival of the ttest” attitude, while others react with charity and compassion. Ask readers

About the Book In this companion to the novels Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone, nearly a year has passed since an asteroid collided with the moon. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it in her Pennsylvania town no longer exists. Miranda, her mother, and two brothers live a precarious day-to-day existence. Their struggle to survive is further complicated by the arrival of Miranda’s father, stepmother with a baby, and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for the future thwart their relationship. When a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

to discuss why people react so differently, and then follow up with a discussion of how each of them thinks he or she would react in an emergency. 

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This World We Live In
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Questions for Discussion These discussion questions align with Standards 1 and 2 of the Common Core Reading Standards for Literature K-12 (RL). Electricity, sunlight, and water are three things that Miranda’s family frequently has to go without. What are ways in which your life would change if you could not depend on them or if you have had to go without them for days or even weeks at a time? What does Miranda think about when she nds the shopping list in her Mom’s book? Why does Miranda hate Sundays? What do Miranda and Matt nd out when they go to City Hall? What does Miranda nd so dif cult to accept? Why does Miranda love breaking into houses? Why does Miranda nd so much pleasure in being alone? What do you think Miranda means when she describes her cat, Horton, as “the blue and green and yellow in our lives” (p.33)? What thoughts run through Miranda’s mind when she discovers the pile of dead bodies? How is everything “forever different” when John and Matt return home? How do Matt and Syl meet? How does Mom react to Matt’s announcement that he and Syl are married?

What do you think of Syl’s reasons for loving Matt? Why does Miranda wish that Matt had not told Syl about her diary? What does Miranda overhear Matt and her Mom arguing about? What does she nd out about her dad that she had never known? What does Alex mean when he talks about the “sin of pride”? Why does Miranda’s dad pretend to be Bob Nesbitt? What is it that bothers Miranda about her dad’s relationship with Alex and Julie? What goes through Miranda’s mind when she sees Mr. Danworth holding Gabriel? What do you think Gabriel represent to everyone? How do Alex and Miranda differ in their views of faith in God and the future? What is the importance of faith to the survivors in this world? Why does Matt resent Alex? Alex tells Miranda that there could be a time when life is worse than death for Julie. Can you imagine a situation in which being dead would be better than being alive? Why is Alex convinced that the only way to protect Julie is to get her to a convent? What do Jon and Miranda hate Syl for doing? Alex tells Miranda, “I want to be good but I don’t know how,” and Miranda replies, “None of us 

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know anymore” (p. 191). What do you think it means to be a good person in the world in which Alex and Miranda live? How different is it from what it means to be a good person in our world? Miranda’s mom tells her, “What you feel for Alex, it’s pity and desire, not love. Not the kind of love two people build a life on” (p. 206). Do you agree? Miranda says that maybe pity and desire is what love is now. Do you think it is possible for the world to change so much that it changes the way people think of love? Why do you think Miranda’s mother is unwilling to leave the house until the tornado forces her out? Do you think it was right for Miranda to give Julie the sleeping pills? How do you think keeping a diary the past year has helped Miranda? Why do you think Miranda decides to not write in a diary again and leave the diaries behind at the house? What does the decision reveal about how Miranda has changed? How does the idea of what constitutes a family change for each of the characters in the course of the story? Follow Up Activities Ask readers to compare and contrast the literary merits of this novel with its two predecessors. Consider such elements as characterization, con ict, mood, setting, and theme. RL 9.5[6] Ask readers to write an additional chapter in which they predict what happens to Miranda and her family when they leave to go in search of the “safe town.” W 3.6,[7],8 Direct readers to the National Geographic web site for information about natural disasters at http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/ earth/natural-disasters/. At this site readers can learn more about oods, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters that are ctionalized in the book. W 7.6

Guide Written by Edward T. Sullivan Edward T. Sullivan is a librarian and author who lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He has written many articles, books, and reviews about children’s and young adult literature. 

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