Life as We Knew It

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Miranda Evans Character Analysis

The sixteen-year-old narrator of the novel, which is told in the format of her diary entries. Prior to the asteroid’s impact with the moon, Miranda was concerned with grades, friendships, boys, and ice skating, but in the fallout of the asteroid’s strike, her life becomes centered on her own survival and helping her immediate family, which consists of her mother (Laura), and brothers, (Matt and Jonny). Sprinkled throughout the bleak entries of Miranda’s journal are glimpses of how her age and perspective inform the way she interprets and reacts to the increasing threats in her life. While she realizes the inherent danger of her day-to-day life, she also reminisces about typical teenage priorities like school, dating, college, and prom. Miranda mourns the life that she lost, while simultaneously doing her best to record and endure life as she now knows it.

Miranda Evans Quotes in Life as We Knew It

The Life as We Knew It quotes below are all either spoken by Miranda Evans or refer to Miranda Evans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
 Survival and Death  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Life as We Knew It published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

They said asteroids hit the moon pretty often, which is how the moon gets its craters, but this one is going to be the biggest asteroid ever to hit it and on a clear night you should be able to see the impact when it happens... They made it sound pretty dramatic, but I still don’t think it’s worth three homework assignments.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Moon
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda is detailing how newscasters discuss the impending asteroid collision with the surface of the moon. It’s been getting a lot of news coverage and has generated a lot of school assignments from her teachers. Miranda, who is finishing up her sophomore year in high school, is both pleased by anything that brings excitement and novelty to her life, but also highly skeptical that this asteroid is going to live up to the hype.

This quote is heavy on the foreshadowing, because while all of the predictions about the asteroid’s size and impact turn out to be true, no one had any idea of the result of the collision. What she’s calling ‘dramatic’ turns out to be not laughable in the face of the real reaction caused by the asteroid. And the homework assignments that Miranda bemoans will soon be rendered unnecessary and laughable, because the priorities of society as a whole will shift away from education and toward survival.

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Chapter 2 Quotes

Sometimes when Mom is getting ready to write a book she says she doesn’t know where to start, that the ending is so clear to her that the beginning doesn’t seem important anymore. I feel that way now only I don’t know what the ending is, not even what the ending is tonight.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda is writing in her diary after the asteroid’s collision with the moon, and even though the collision has happened and the day is over, she’s struggling with how to gather her thoughts and put them in context. Her comparison to the way in which Laura writes novels is apt, because Miranda is recognizing that the details she thought were important and relevant that morning have been rendered obsolete by the events of the night. Despite this, Miranda recounts her entire day in her journal, even the parts that no longer seem important. She does this to create context for the events of the night and also as a delay tactic, since she’s not quite ready to process what has just happened. The fact that Miranda doesn’t know what will happen next has left her shaken, and even the act of writing about it doesn’t bring the comfort she craves.

Chapter 3 Quotes

Somehow I’d forgotten there were other countries, that we shared the moon with other countries.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Moon
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

In the aftermath of the moon’s collision, Miranda struggles to make sense of everything that has gone on—the loss of electricity, the massive loss of lives along both coasts of America. She’s heard the reports on the news and heard directly from her brother Matt and her father. These facts, however, don’t feel real yet, because other than the moon’s strange appearance and the inconsistent electricity, they haven’t impacted her personal life. Even less important to her is the idea that other countries’ survival is affected. Miranda had always hoped to travel abroad, but had never gotten the chance. The idea that these countries, which were already less concrete in her mind, were as impacted by the asteroid strike as the United States feels surreal to Miranda. This line reads as self-absorbed, but it’s also because she’s so overwhelmed by what’s going on in her immediate vicinity that Miranda hasn’t had a chance to process or reflect on what’s happening outside her sphere.

Chapter 4 Quotes

I know it’s dumb of me, but I keep thinking that once Matt gets home, everything will be okay. Like he’ll push the moon back into place.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans
Related Symbols: The Moon
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda has documented her hero worship of her older brother, Matt. When he calls from college to let her know that he’ll be done taking finals and home soon, Miranda’s relief is palpable. She recognizes that Matt doesn’t actually possess any super powers or supplies that will make it easier for her family to survive the aftermath of the moon’s collision with the asteroid, but she also knows that his presence is calming for her. Her faith in his ability to make things better is both a compliment and a curse for Matt—especially since their parents are divorced. While he might not be capable of pushing the moon back into place, many jobs that should have been completed by his father, Hal, will now fall on Matt’s shoulders. Not the least of these is reassuring his younger siblings that things will be okay.

One thing Matt did say to me was that no matter what the future is, we’re living through a very special time in history. He says that history makes us who we are, but we can make history also, and that anyone can be a hero, if they just choose to be.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda records Matt’s pep talk in her diary, but she’s feeling skeptical as well as insecure about her own ability to be heroic. While Miranda idealizes Matt, she feels like her own cravings for ice cream and swim team and normalcy disqualify her from the category of hero. Miranda does recognize that Matt is her hero, but she also fails to realize that being heroic and being human are not mutually exclusive, and that Matt, like her, probably craves an escape from the burdens that have been thrust on him since his return from college. Like Miranda, there are surely things about life before the moon collision that Matt misses as well.

Chapter 5 Quotes

“There are lots of different ways to be hungry, you know. Some people are hungry for food and others are hungry for God’s love.” She gave me a look then, pure Megan, to let me know which camp I fell into.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Megan Wayne (speaker)
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

Megan and Miranda have very different ways of reacting to the moon’s collision with the asteroid. While Miranda finds comfort in being with the people she loves, Megan becomes even more involved with her church. Both of these are exaggerations of their pre-moon priorities: Miranda has always been family oriented, and Megan’s participation with church youth group activities had already tested their friendship.

Here, however, is a time where Megan’s judgment is turned against Miranda. Prior to this, it was their friend Sammi and her dating life that had been the usual target of Megan’s religious scorn. In this dialogue, however, Megan is lashing out against Miranda’s concern that she isn’t eating enough. Miranda believes it’s foolish for Megan to be sharing her sandwich at lunch when food is so scarce. Megan, however, views this as an opportunity to demonstrate her Christ-like generosity. Their different perspectives escalate into a disagreement, one that will plague their relationship until Megan dies—having starved to death while still insisting it is God’s will she do so.

“I’m the one not caring. I’m the one pretending the earth isn’t shattering all around me because I don’t want it to be... I don’t want anything more to be afraid of. I didn’t start this diary for it to be a record of death.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda has seemingly reached her tolerance threshold for disaster and bad news. Rather than compulsively seek out information like they all had in the days after the quake, Miranda has now begun to try and insulate herself from new information. She berates herself for this action, and for the numbness she’s begun to feel—comparing her reactions to those of her family and other people around her, and judging herself as lacking because she isn’t exhibiting the same types of compassion she attributes to everyone else.

While Miranda criticizes herself for “not caring,” she fails to recognize just how human her reactions are. Her responses to the incremental traumas of the past few weeks have actually resulted in a normal self-preservation response. The fact that the very next day she gets so excited about the idea of a blanket drive to help those in New York and New Jersey proves just how inaccurate her self-reflection is—she isn’t devoid of compassion, she actually cares a great deal, and it was simply the lack of an outlet for those feelings that led her to shut down emotionally.

Chapter 6 Quotes

Watching sitcoms was like eating toast. Two months ago, it was so much a part of my life I didn’t even notice it. But now it feels like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and the Wizard of Oz all rolled into one.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

As power outages continue and their supplies dwindle, Miranda’s perspective changes. Things that she had once taken for granted are now the focus of her appreciation. In this scene, Laura has made bread with some forgotten yeast. Since the electricity cooperated and stayed on for an extended period of time, the family celebrates by toasting a piece of bread to share and watching not news and the lists of the dead like they typically do, but sitcoms. A shared piece of toast and reruns would not have brought Miranda joy before the asteroid’s collision, but now her perspective has shifted and she’s able to feel almost euphoric about these simple pleasures. Her comparison between sitcoms and toast and Santa and the other characters is significant. Like the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, a world in which toast and TV can be taken for granted feels like a childlike fantasy—both innocent and unrealistic.

“You think we’re going to die,” I said.
Any sadness immediately evaporated and rage took its place. “Don’t you ever say that to me again!” she yelled. “None of us is going to die. I will not allow that to happen.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda and her mother, Laura, argue frequently throughout the novel, but this particular fight is brutal. Laura is furious that Miranda left a food distribution line in order to chase down her boyfriend, Dan. Laura’s fear that food could’ve run out while Miranda was away is palpable, and causes Miranda to realize just how dire their situation has become.

When Miranda accuses Laura of thinking they’re going to die, Laura’s reaction is more telling than Miranda’s statement. While Laura is vowing that she won’t “allow” her children to die, this is something she has very little control over. Laura has very little control over anything these days, which is why she’s becoming increasingly fixated on knowing her children’s whereabouts at all times. It’s also why she’s become so focused on the contents of their pantry and being the only one who is in charge of those supplies. These actions give her a semblance of control—they enable her to believe that if she makes the right choices and keeps her children close, she can ensure their safety throughout all of the moon collision’s aftermath.

“I know Mom doesn’t want us to die,” I said. I thought really hard about what I wanted to say so it would come out right. “But I think maybe she doesn’t want us to live, either. We should just hide in our rooms and not feel anything and if we get rescued, great, but if we don’t, well, maybe we’ll live a little longer. If you can call it living. I know Mom tells you things she doesn’t tell me, but am I wrong? Because I really feel that way more and more. I’d like to be wrong, because it scares me if Mom feels that way. But I don’t think I am.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans, Laura Evans
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda is talking with her older brother, Matt, and discussing the aftermath of her argument with Laura. Miranda has begun to process and understand why Laura has been so controlling lately—why she panics if Matt stays out too long chopping wood or if Miranda goes to Miller’s Pond without telling her. But while Miranda understands her mother’s motives, she doesn’t truly understand the feelings behind them.

Instead, Miranda is processing her mother’s actions through her own vantage point. Miranda has recognized that their future is dubious, but rather than subscribe to Laura’s abundance of caution approach, Miranda is advocating living her life to the fullest. While Laura is prioritizing keeping them all alive for as long as possible, Miranda’s position is that they need to enjoy the life they do have. The disparity between their positions is alarming to Miranda, as she struggles to let go of her sixteen-year-old girl perspective and understand the larger powers at work on her life.

Chapter 7 Quotes

Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe something good will happen that we can’t imagine just now. But we have to prepare for the worst. You and I and Matt and Jonny have to prepare for the worst. We have to assume frosts in August. We have to assume no power and no food coming and no gas for the car and no oil for the furnace. Up till now we’ve been playacting survival, but from now on we have to take it seriously.

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans, Matt Evans, Jonny Evans
Related Symbols: The Ash Cloud
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

When Miranda wakes up to a strange gray sky, Laura and Matt explain that volcanoes have been erupting all around the world. The resulting ash cloud from these eruptions has begun to block the sun and will change not only the temperature, but also impact the ability to grow any crops. While Laura has been in survival mode since the day after the asteroid’s collision with the moon, now she informs Miranda that they’ll need to take things to the next level.

Miranda panics at this pronouncement, particularly Laura’s categorization of what’s happened so far as “playacting survival,” because it hasn’t seemed like a game to Miranda and she thought she had been taking it seriously. Once she gets past the sting of that comment, she realizes the truth—things have been bad so far, but they’re only going to get worse.

Chapter 8 Quotes

I know Dan thinks I’m lucky that I’ve been “untouched” by everything that’s happened. And I know I’m self-pitying to think otherwise. But sometimes I wonder if the big cannonball horror of knowing someone you love has died is all that much worse than the everyday attrition of life.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Dan
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the novel Miranda is constantly creating comparisons to determine if’s she good enough, brave enough, strong enough, moral enough. Here, she has just said goodbye to the boy she’s been seeing throughout the summer, and she wonders if she’s suffered “enough.” Dan is leaving town—leaving his parents behind as he goes to find somewhere where conditions are better. His sister’s name had shown up on the lists of the dead, and his mother is in the hospital. He’s not sure if she’ll make it. His comment about Miranda being “lucky” not to have known anyone who has died yet sits uncomfortably with Miranda, and for once she isn’t devaluing her own experiences and worth. In this case she is acknowledging the pain of having lost a loved one, but also respecting the constant emotions of spending each day of hardships with the people you love—and the accumulative fear of waiting and worrying that something will happen to them.

“Life may not continue the way we know it today, but it will continue. Life endures. I’ll always believe that.”

Related Characters: Peter Elliot (speaker), Miranda Evans, Jonny Evans
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

In the middle of a dinner party with their family, including Mrs. Nesbitt, Hal, Lisa, and Peter, Jonny asks the table what will happen when the food runs out. Not, if, but when. This question instantly changes the mood, with Lisa leaving the table and Hal going after her, but the others take Jonny’s question seriously and offer him realistic answers that boil down to I don’t know.

Peter, who Miranda has come to associate with pessimism and bad news, since he always comes with stories and warnings about the latest illness and threats to their health, is actually the one who offers the most optimistic answer—that life will endure. Within his answer he acknowledges that it may never return to the “normal” of before the moon’s collision with the asteroid, but that life will go on.

Chapter 10 Quotes

I write stuff down in here and I don’t read it. Things are bad enough without having to remind myself of just how bad things are.
But I just read what I wrote a couple of days ago. All about how wonderful school is and all that crap. Tests. Whoo-whoo. Report cards. Whoo-whoo. The future. Biggest whoo-whoo of them all.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda has repeatedly stated that her journal is an ongoing record, not something she re-reads, or has any desire to re-read. But in this entry Miranda does look back to what she had written a few days before—when she had been cautiously optimistic about school and looking forward to the purpose it would give to her days. She had stated that no one talks about the future for fear of jinxing it—and that fear had turned out to be prescient, because she’s just returned from a meeting where it was announced the schools won’t be opening as usual this year.

Miranda records a dramatic change in her perspective, one that occurred over the course of just a few days. Having dared to hope, she’s opened herself up to the possibility of disappointment, a possibility that has manifested. All those times where people reassured her that things would be back to normal ‘by fall’ have proved to be false. And school as she knew it is unlikely to occur again.

But without hearing what’s going on in the real world, it’s easy to think there is no more real world anymore, that Howell, PA, is the only place left on earth.
What if there is no more New York or Washington or LA? I can’t even imagine a London or Paris or Moscow anymore.
How will we know? I don’t even know what time it is anymore.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

The radio stations are no longer broadcasting. Miranda’s family still has batteries, but there is nothing to listen to and Matt points out that the stations must have run out of fuel for their generators. Without any source of news from the outside world, it’s hard for Miranda to remember that it still exists at all. Her perspective within this entry vacillates from the local to global, then back to local.

It’s hard for her to picture life beyond the boundaries of her town, and as the narrative progresses and the Evans family is snowbound, those boundaries will shrink to just her property. Since she can’t even count on receiving news from her father, Sammi, Dan, or anyone else who is traveling within her country, it’s impossible for her to imagine life internationally. At times this means Miranda can dream that other locations are untouched by these disasters, but more often it manifests as her forgetting they even exist. The concerns at home are too pressing and immediate for her to have time for worrying about foreign countries full of people she’s never met.

The final beat of this entry, about Miranda no longer knowing the time, feels disconnected with the rest of the complaints, until viewed in the larger picture of her disorientation. Without the sunlight to orient her to day and night and with her watch having stopped, Miranda can’t tell the difference in time of day—a fundamental that she’s depended on and taken for granted, in the same way she’s always taken for granted that a larger world exists. Neither of those is certain anymore.

Chapter 13 Quotes

But for that one moment I felt so weak, so helpless. I felt nothing but fear and despair and the most awful need to be anyplace else. I told myself it was hunger, but I knew that was a lie.
As long as Mom was all right, I could fool myself into thinking we’d all be all right. But even though I knew Mom could have fallen anytime and sprained her ankle anytime, this felt as though it was the beginning of the end.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

Laura has sprained her ankle and Peter has directed her to keep all weight off of it while it heals. In the grand scheme of things nothing dire has happened—Laura will recover and Jonny, Matt, and Miranda are capable of taking care of the chores by themselves, but this event shakes Miranda to her core. Part of this is that when Miranda biked to the hospital to seek help from Peter, she was denied entrance by armed guards who got twisted pleasure from her despair and discomfort. If it weren’t for Matt’s arrival and his acquaintance with one of the guards, they would not have been allowed to contact Peter at all, and Miranda didn’t think she had the strength to bike back home. This terrifies Miranda, as it’s a complete shake-up of the world she’s grown up in—one in which you can depend on hospitals for help and people don’t enjoy others’ pain.

But the bigger issue that Miranda’s reacting to is how this accident reveals the family’s fragility. It makes her aware that anything could go wrong at any moment, and while they’ve been surviving day-to-day, next time something goes wrong it could be much, much worse. It is the unknown and the potential that Miranda’s reacting to, instead of the actual events of the day.

Chapter 14 Quotes

I know it shouldn’t bother me but it does. I can see Mom’s upset, too, even though she’s acting like she isn’t. I guess it’s because things have been kind of level for awhile, and now they’re worse again. Not big bad worse...but worse anyway.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

The natural gas has run out in the Evanses’ home. This won’t be a catastrophic event for them the way it will be for many of the people in their community, because they still have a woodstove that they can use for heat and cooking. But despite having been warned that this day is coming, its arrival catches Miranda and Laura off guard. In their fragile state of survival, any change is significant, and a change that makes their life more difficult is very upsetting. Miranda keeps waiting for things to get better, yet the months and seasons keep passing without improvement—in fact, conditions have deteriorated, and with every indication that they’ll only continue to get worse.

Chapter 15 Quotes

I’ve never really thought about what it would be like to be an old woman. Of course nowadays I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to be any kind of woman.
But I hope when I get closer to death, however old I might be, that I can face it with courage and good sense the way Mrs. Nesbitt does. I hope that’s a lesson I’ve truly learned.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Mrs. Nesbitt
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:

Once Laura is confined to their home due to her sprained ankle, the task of visiting their neighbor, Mrs. Nesbitt, becomes another of Miranda’s chores. Since Mrs. Nesbitt has been like a member of Miranda’s family, when she starts to matter-of-factly discuss her death and the things she’d like done after she’s passed, Miranda is understandably shaken.

She quickly comes to realize, however, how Mrs. Nesbitt’s plans are an act of love and a blessing. Mrs. Nesbitt doesn’t want the others to worry after she’s gone. She doesn’t want her body to be a burden, and she wants to make sure her belongings and supplies go where they’ll be of the most use. Unlike Miranda’s friend Megan, who not only embraced death, but actively sought it, Mrs. Nesbitt has no desire to rush her demise. She simply knows that it’s inevitable and accepts that fact with calm certainty.

Miranda does internalize these lessons, and when things become grim and her own survival seems unlikely, she faces it with stoicism and courage.

I’d dream of Paris, of London, of Tokyo. I wanted to go to South America, to Africa. I always assumed I could someday.
But my world keeps getting smaller and smaller. No school. No Pond. No town. No bedroom. Now I don’t even have the view out the windows.
I feel myself shriveling along with my world, getting smaller and harder.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans
Related Symbols: Miller’s Pond
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:

Matt has arranged to get plywood from the black market gang in town. Miranda resents this fact because he didn’t consult her—but more so because he uses this plywood to cover the windows of their house to help insulate it against the bitter cold.

Miranda had already been chafing against the claustrophobia of spending almost all of her time inside her house with just her family for company, and this further narrowing of her world feels catastrophic. While she rarely thinks of the world outside her family and her town, this feels like yet another piece of evidence that she’ll never get to achieve the future she’d always planned on. International travel is impossible in a world where she doesn’t know if other cities even exist anymore—facts that feel less pertinent than the fact that her own bedroom is now too cold for her to live in and her world has shrunk again.

“But as long as we don’t know what the future is going to bring us, we owe it to ourselves to keep living. Things could get better. Somewhere people are working on solutions to all this. They have to be. It’s what people do. And our solution is to stay alive one day at a time. Everyone dies in increments, Miranda. Every day we’re one day closer to death. But there’s no reason to rush into it. I intend to stay alive as long as I possibly can and I expect the same from you.”

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

Laura delivers this pep talk in response to Miranda’s reaction to the pronouncement that the whole family will be moving to the sunroom to preserve what little is left of the heating oil. Miranda, who rather stoically endures the hardships of starvation and other difficulties, cannot handle this loss of privacy. She’s already been feeling overwhelmed by her lack of personal space, and this move to share a room with three other people removes even the illusion of it. In her emotional outburst, she doesn’t see the point in attempting to survive because everything about living feels insurmountable.

Laura’s speech is counterpoint to this; she provides optimism in a global sense, which contrasts directly with Miranda’s feelings about her world shrinking. Laura posits that somewhere people are working on a solution—that somewhere there is hope and progress being made and all they need to do is endure until it happens.

Chapter 17 Quotes

“If we all die, you’ll leave,” I said. “Because you’ll be strong enough to. And maybe someplace in America or Mexico or somewhere things are better and you’ll manage to get there. And then Mom’s life and Matt’s and mine won’t have been a waste.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans, Jonny Evans, Laura Evans
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda is trying to comfort Jonny about what will happen if they all don’t survive. She’s trying to make sense of why everyone in their family insists Jonny eat the most, even though they’re all starving. Much in the way Matt treats her with respect when she asks questions she suspects are ridiculous, Miranda is trying to answer Jonny’s questions with the dignity and seriousness they deserve.

Once Miranda had resented the same plan she now repeats to her brother—she’d been jealous that Jonny was given more food and that her mom had pinned all her hopes on him. Now, however, she embraces it. It’s not that Miranda wants to or expects to die, but she is grateful that if she does, the choices and hunger they’ve faced will give Jonny a chance to leave and survive. She’s started to view him as a part of her legacy. Her sacrifice being the price of his survival is a price that she’s willing to pay.

Every day when I got to sleep I think what a jerk I was to have felt sorry for myself the day before. My Wednesdays are worse than my Tuesdays, my Tuesdays way worse than my Tuesday of a week before. Which means every tomorrow is going to be worse than every today. Why feel sorry for myself today when tomorrow’s bound to be worse?

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda’s diary entries are a reflection of her constantly shifting experiences and perspective. While she’s frequently moved to recount some small joy or simple moment that happened throughout the day, the general shift in tone is toward a greater bleakness. Despite the quiet moments of laughter and love with her family, the situation has not improved. Each day there is less food in their pantry, and each week seems to bring new threats or fears—injuries, illnesses, the danger of the roof collapsing or being snowed in during an emergency. Miranda’s journal entry here is neither a celebration nor a complaint: it’s resignation. She doesn’t see the point in complaining about the hardships of her days, because she realizes how quickly her perspective is changing—and what had seemed insurmountable a week ago will likely feel like a triviality compared to whatever challenge she has to face next.

Chapter 18 Quotes

We hugged each other and said we should see more of each other, but I doubt that we will. We don’t want anyone else to know how much food we have or firewood. And they don’t want us to know, either.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:

When Miranda and her family join their neighbors in caroling on Christmas Eve, it is the first time they have gathered since the impromptu block party to watch the asteroid collision. And the circumstances are incredibly different—that night started festive and turned to panic, and this night their spirits started bleak and were cheered by the knowledge that they aren’t alone. And though Miranda has repeatedly expressed how tired she is of spending time with just her brothers and mother, and as much as she enjoys seeing that they are not the only people still alive in the neighborhood, Miranda is quick to clarify that she doesn’t foresee them socializing again any time soon. There’s too much at stake, and too much they’re keeping hidden—mainly what they have for supplies and their chances of survival. Miranda appreciates these neighbors in abstract—as in, she’s grateful they’re not the last people alive, but she doesn’t want to get to know them personally. For her right now, her family is enough, and much like Laura had told her when Miranda started seeing Dan over the summer, Miranda now realizes that forming relationships with other people would only endanger her family’s survival.

Do people ever realize how precious life is? I know I never did before. There was always time. There was always a future.
Maybe because I don’t know anymore if there is a future, I’m grateful for the good things that have happened to me this year.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 287
Explanation and Analysis:

It seems almost ridiculous for Miranda to spend her New Year’s Eve expressing gratitude for the previous year. Since the asteroid’s collision in May, her life has only gotten increasingly painful and more difficult. But despite this—in fact, because of this, Miranda has come to appreciate aspects of life that she’d taken for granted before the disaster. Miranda no longer takes anything for granted, not even her life or the idea that she’ll have a future. Instead she’s taken to using her diary not only to chronicle her hardships and complaints, but also the simple joys she experiences with her family—sharing stories, playing poker and Scrabble, things that make their cat purr, joking about the horrible haircuts they’ve given each other to help stay clean, ice skating, etc. Her change in perspective reflects the fact that she knows they may not survive, so she wants to make the most of the time she does have with the people she loves.

Chapter 19 Quotes

I don’t even know why I’m writing this down, except that I feel fine and maybe tomorrow I’ll be dead. And if that happens, and someone should find my journal, I want them to know what happened.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda has woken up to discover that the rest of her family has fallen ill with the flu that has decimated the local population. She doesn’t know if they’ll survive, but the two surviving nurses at the hospital tell her it’s very unlikely. Miranda is exhausted from caring for Jonny, Laura, and Matt all day. She’s terrified that they will die and she’ll be left alone, but also scared that if she falls ill, there will be no one left to take care of them. Despite the fact that she’s stretched herself to her limits, physically and emotionally, Miranda still takes the time to record her thoughts about the day before going to sleep. This is an indication of how uncertain she feels about the future. Though she feels fine right now, she knows there’s no guarantee that she’ll wake up in the morning. In case that happens, she wants there to be a record—for some hypothetical future reader—of how hard she tried to save her family and what has happened to them.

Chapter 21 Quotes

I’d left a record. People would know I had lived. That counted for a lot.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point Miranda has resigned herself to the fact that she won’t survive. And much like she admired Mrs. Nesbitt’s courage and dignity in the way she faced her death in Chapter 15, Miranda is now trying to come to terms with her own mortality. One of the ways she justifies this to herself is by reflecting on her journal. Unlike Mrs. Nesbitt, who had burned all of her journals and letters before death, Miranda finds comfort in the idea that her words could outlive her. As she walks to what she believes will be her death, she is grateful for the journal’s existence—and the fact that it proves her own existence. She’s struggled so hard to survive since the moon incident and overcome so much, and the idea that people could read about her life and she wouldn’t be forgotten, wouldn’t be just another name on the list of the dead, is something that brings her comfort.

But today, when I am 17 and warm and well fed, I’m keeping this journal for myself so that I can always remember life as we knew it, life as we know it, for a time when I am no longer in the sunroom.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 337
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the novel Miranda has questioned the purpose behind her journal. She has objected to it being a record of the dead, thought of it as a record she’s kept to be read by the survivors, something to keep away from nosy little brothers, and documents that proved her existence. As the book ends, however, Miranda spends its concluding lines redefining what the journal means. She no longer pictures it as an artifact for someone else—Miranda has now embraced her journal as something she’s keeping for herself. This is the ultimate act of hope, because it requires Miranda to change her perspective on her own mortality, a complete shift from earlier in the same chapter when she was convinced that she would die. Now Miranda is determined to live, determined to celebrate the moments of her life, and determined to reach a future where she no longer lives within the confines of the sunroom and can look back and reflect on how far she’s come.

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Miranda Evans Character Timeline in Life as We Knew It

The timeline below shows where the character Miranda Evans appears in Life as We Knew It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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May 7. Sixteen-year-old high school sophomore Miranda Evans records in her journal that her dad, Hal, has called to tell her that... (full context)
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Miranda then talks to Lisa, her new stepmom, and congratulates her. Miranda tries to dislike Lisa,... (full context)
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Later on, after the phone call is over, Laura comes home and Miranda tells her about the baby. Laura says that’s “nice,” and Miranda thinks about how her... (full context)
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May 8. On Mother’s Day Miranda volunteers to cook dinner for her mother (Laura) and their neighbor Mrs. Nesbitt. Miranda’s friend... (full context)
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May 11-12. Miranda recounts several events from her days focusing on grades, a vet visit for her cat,... (full context)
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That night while they’re doing the dishes, Laura tells Miranda that she has a date the next night with Dr. Peter Elliot. Miranda has a... (full context)
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May 13. Miranda describes her summer plans—Laura has granted her permission for skating lessons, and she’ll spend the... (full context)
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May 15-16. Excitement about the moon builds... at least among the teachers at Miranda’s school, who all assign projects based on the moon. Miranda predicts that she’ll be sick... (full context)
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May 17. Miranda and Laura fight about mistakes on Miranda’s math test and her tendency to be careless... (full context)
Chapter 2
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May 18. In the aftermath of the asteroid’s impact with the moon, Miranda struggles to organize her thoughts to write in her journal. She compares this to the... (full context)
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In her journal, Miranda jumps backward in her timeline to describe the day from the beginning—including a glimpse of... (full context)
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Miranda, Laura, and Jonny have dinner together and plan to make a “party” of watching the... (full context)
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After the asteroid hits the moon, the mood quickly changes. Miranda says that the impact was shocking, and felt like an attack on “Our Moon.” The... (full context)
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Laura attempts to reassure Miranda and Jonny that the news reports could be exaggerated, and that they are inland and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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May 19. Miranda wakes up to a phone call from Hal, who has been trying all night to... (full context)
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The news that the schools are open that day feeds into Miranda’s confused emotions. On one hand, Hal is encouraging her to “get on with our lives... (full context)
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Attendance is down at school. Miranda notes that Megan and her church friends are all absent. Ms. Hammish attempts to teach... (full context)
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Laura arrives unexpectedly at school to pick up Miranda. Jonny and Mrs. Nesbitt are already waiting in the car, and Laura hands them each... (full context)
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...charge of getting water and supplies for Horton. Mrs. Nesbitt is to get paper goods. Miranda is tasked with canned soups, vegetables, and fruits, as well as vitamins and other first... (full context)
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Once they arrive at the store, Miranda is shocked to see that the parking lot is chaos—people are fighting over parking spaces... (full context)
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...batteries. The clerk at one store makes a comment about electricity coming back soon, and Miranda jokingly responds that her mom is panicking and this will make her feel better. Despite... (full context)
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...bought along with all the batteries, matches, and soap at the convenience store. She thanks Miranda and Jonny for their help, saying she couldn’t have done this without them, and then... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...20. The electricity finally turns back on around 4 a.m. Their schools are closed, so Miranda and Jonny stay home with Laura, and their family cat, Horton, who has been acting... (full context)
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...failures to work around, and that he’ll be back home the following Wednesday. Jonny and Miranda each spend a half hour on the Internet. Miranda uses her time to look for... (full context)
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Miranda, Jonny, and Laura spend most of the day putting away their supplies. With the electricity... (full context)
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...say that all offshore oil wells and tankers have been destroyed. Laura tells Jonny and Miranda that this may mean shortages for gas and oil heat. Miranda finds this ridiculous, since... (full context)
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...Jonny is upset that the governor didn’t indicate whether the state sports teams were safe. Miranda wishes Matt were home and thinks things will be better when he arrives. (full context)
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...at home and since their fridge and freezer are emptied due to unreliable electricity, Jonny, Miranda, and Laura attempt to go to McDonalds. They discover that the price of gas has... (full context)
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...buys days-old cake, cookies, and bread. They eat this with their pizza, but Laura cautions Miranda and Jonny not to expect fresh food “until things get back to normal,” and says... (full context)
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...report that the floods have continued and people continue to drown. Laura reassures Jonny and Miranda that they are inland and safe. (full context)
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They receive an email from Matt that he’ll be home on Wednesday. Miranda can’t wait, but also recognizes that she’s got unrealistic expectations that things will go back... (full context)
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May 24. Laura takes Jonny and Miranda to look for open stores. Miranda has noticed that Laura looks with pride at her... (full context)
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Laura ends up taking Jonny and Miranda to a dingy, rundown store where she buys them clothing that Miranda thinks is unfashionable... (full context)
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May 25. Miranda begins her journal entry by stating that Matt should’ve been home by now and she,... (full context)
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There had been many students and teachers absent at the school that day, including Sammi. Miranda realizes that she hasn’t called Sammi or Megan over the long weekend, because everyone is... (full context)
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At lunch Megan tells Miranda about how she’s been living in the church for the past week. Her eyes are... (full context)
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After walking away from Megan, Miranda joins her swim teammates. They’re discussing the pool being closed because without electricity it can’t... (full context)
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May 28. Miranda is relieved that Matt is home. Even though their situation isn’t changed, things seem better... (full context)
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Attendance is up in school on Thursday. Matt works on Miranda and Jonny’s bikes so they’ll have a way to get to school once the buses... (full context)
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Matt tells Miranda that this is a unique time in history when heroes will be made from the... (full context)
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...her second cousins. She’s relieved to find that Mrs. Nesbitt’s family isn’t on the list—and Miranda is relieved that Brandon Erlich doesn’t appear on it. Jonny finds that many baseball players... (full context)
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...of their own names on the lists of the dead, but they don’t appear anywhere. Miranda ends her entry with “And that’s how we know we’re alive this Memorial Day.” (full context)
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...31. It rains on the first day that there’s no bus service, so Matt drives Miranda and Jonny to school while Laura stays home to work on her book. The schools... (full context)
Chapter 5
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June 2. At school Miranda learns that finals have been cancelled. They’ll be learning their final grades the next day... (full context)
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...It’s common knowledge that the schools are closing early because they’ve run out of food. Miranda knows she shouldn’t complain, since due to her mother’s pantry stockpiles she’s eating better than... (full context)
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June 4. Miranda is pleased with all of her grades except for math—when she brings this up to... (full context)
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Miranda asks Matt not to treat her like a kid and explain what he and Laura... (full context)
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Matt reassures Miranda that if things go back to normal then colleges will understand why she had a... (full context)
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...backpack. After supper they sing and Mrs. Nesbitt tells stories about when Laura was little. Miranda says it almost feels like happiness. (full context)
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...school Megan again gives away the second half of her sandwich, this time to Sammi. Miranda is concerned, but when she questions Megan, Megan responds, “God sustains me. Food doesn’t.” They... (full context)
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June 7. Miranda dreams of her friend Becky who has passed away. In the dream, Becky is standing... (full context)
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...attempt lessons. School’s value comes from the rumors and news that spread among the students—today Miranda hears about a secret Dairy Queen that’s still operating, that electricity is gone forever, that... (full context)
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June 8. Miranda has started to feel numb. She doesn’t want to know about what’s happening in other... (full context)
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June 9. On the second to last day of school Miranda is given a flyer about a donation drive for people in New Jersey and New... (full context)
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Miranda seeks out Matt to ask about heating oil. She learns that they haven’t been able... (full context)
Chapter 6
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June 11. Miranda hears from her father—apparently Hal has been trying to call them several times a day... (full context)
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...cases of West Nile virus and is hearing rumors of Malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Miranda hears all of this, but still insists in her journal that nothing is going to... (full context)
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...morning, when it only lasts a few minutes. Now that the sun is finally out, Miranda puts on her swimsuit and sneaks out of the house to go swim at Miller’s... (full context)
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When Miranda walks in the house, Laura is furious that Miranda had left without telling her. As... (full context)
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They end their argument with the agreement that Miranda must tell Laura if she’s going somewhere, and Laura asking if Miranda wants lunch. Miranda... (full context)
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June 16-17. Miranda meets Dan at Miller’s Pond, where they kiss and swim. Laura picks up the family... (full context)
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...day to wish him a happy Father’s Day, but they are unable to get through. Miranda wonders if Lisa’s baby is replacing her and her siblings, and then feels silly since... (full context)
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June 21. The heat has been unrelenting and electricity scarce, so Miranda spends as much time as possible at Miller’s Pond with Dan and other members of... (full context)
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Miranda has a nightmare that starts as a dream date with Dan and ends with Becky... (full context)
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June 22. Miranda has a good day. Laura figures out a way to make modified pancakes out of... (full context)
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June 24. Miranda prefaces her entry by stating that she and Laura are in a massive fight, then... (full context)
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After swimming at Miller’s Pond, Miranda and Dan accompany Laura and Mrs. Nesbitt into town. While Laura is getting gas—a complicated... (full context)
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As Miranda walks with Mrs. Nesbitt and their bags of food to meet her mom at the... (full context)
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Miranda accuses her mom of thinking they’re all going to die and Laura rages that Miranda... (full context)
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June 25. Miranda skips breakfast and stays in her bedroom the next morning. Matt stops by her room... (full context)
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Miranda invites Jonny to come with her to Miller’s Pond and he excitedly agrees. Seeing him... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...the temperature being near 100, Matt decides it’s time to start chopping firewood and sends Miranda to gather kindling. When she’s done that and other chores, he encourages her to visit... (full context)
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At Megan’s house, Mrs. Wayne looks ecstatic to see Miranda and sends her up to Megan’s room—asking her to talk some sense into her daughter.... (full context)
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Megan brings up their friend Becky, whom Miranda has been dreaming of frequently. Megan says that she was so angry at God after... (full context)
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July 3. With Jonny off at camp, Laura suggests that she, Matt, and Miranda cut back to two meals a day. Even Matt is shocked, but he quickly agrees.... (full context)
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July 4-6. Miranda experiments with which meal to skip—breakfast leaves her too hungry to swim, but she feels... (full context)
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...when he returns. While they’re arguing the electricity comes back on for forty glorious minutes. Miranda ends her entry by debating which is better: no electricity, or unreliable electricity? Life as... (full context)
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July 9. Something feels different when Miranda wakes up. It feels slightly cooler than the hundred degree temps they’ve been having, and... (full context)
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When Miranda asks how long this could last, she’s terrified to hear that it’s a global problem... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...are getting shorter, and the temperatures are much cooler than the previous weeks’ heat waves. Miranda is adjusting to fasting. She says that as the day goes on, she stops being... (full context)
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July 14. Miranda accidentally lets Horton outside at night. Normally he is only allowed out during the day—but... (full context)
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July 15-17. Despite Miranda, Matt, Laura, and Mrs. Nesbitt’s search efforts, Horton is still missing. Matt warns Miranda that... (full context)
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July 18-19. Miranda collapses in the woods while gathering kindling and searching for Horton. When she returns home,... (full context)
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July 20. Miranda realizes it’s the anniversary of the first time men walked on the moon. It’s a... (full context)
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July 21. Miranda is gathering kindling and imagining how perfect things could be where Hal lives, when Sammi... (full context)
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July 22. Miranda is excited and relieved to reveal that Horton has come home. They wake up to... (full context)
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July 25-27. Miranda continues to dream about Becky being a gatekeeper for food and she continues to fanaticize... (full context)
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...that while he and Lisa are visiting, they will all eat three meals a day. Miranda is excited about the idea of more food, but wonders if Laura is really doing... (full context)
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...There is much mutual scrutiny as everyone tries to deduce how everyone else has suffered. Miranda decides that her dad is only slightly thinner, but much grayer and more wrinkled. She... (full context)
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...gives Lisa all the baby items she’d bought in the store in May. Back then, Miranda had thought that Lisa would reject the cheap clothing, but instead she bursts into tears... (full context)
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...antique furniture out of the dining room, protect the floor, and store it in there. Miranda goes to collect kindling and despite being allowed three meals a day, accidentally skips brunch... (full context)
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August 1. The Evanses have a dinner party and invite Mrs. Nesbitt and Peter. Miranda delivers the invitations by bike while Hal, Jonny, and Matt work on chopping wood. Miranda... (full context)
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On her way out of the hospital, Miranda runs into Dan. He’s there visiting his mom, who has West Nile virus. Dan tells... (full context)
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...hopeful. Mrs. Nesbitt states that she won’t survive it, but Jonny is young and strong. Miranda asks if things could get worse, and Peter says that even then life will go... (full context)
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...Hal works with Matt all day to get more firewood, but after dinner he asks Miranda to talk. Hal tells her how proud he is of her, how right the decision... (full context)
Chapter 9
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August 6. Miranda wakes up missing Sammi and Dan, whom she knows she won’t see again. She fears... (full context)
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August 7-9. The Evanses are all in short tempers after Hal’s departure. Matt snaps at Miranda for going into his room without permission—revealing that he’s exhausted, hungry, and furious at Hal... (full context)
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Despite the replenished food in the pantry, Laura has started skipping meals again, which scares Miranda, who sees it as an indication of them not having enough for whatever is ahead.... (full context)
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August 11. There is a light frost overnight. Jonny tells Miranda he wants to move south and has heard rumors from his friend Aaron, whose dad... (full context)
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August 14. Jonny announces he doesn’t need any presents for his upcoming birthday. Miranda is annoyed that she doesn’t have a way of making a noble gesture like that,... (full context)
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August 15. Miranda asks Laura if things have gotten better with floods and quakes and volcanoes. Instead of... (full context)
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Miranda bikes to Megan’s house. She is horrified when she sees how thin Megan has become,... (full context)
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Laura is waiting in the kitchen when Miranda returns and the two of them embrace and both begin crying and apologizing. Miranda reflects... (full context)
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...and Jonny gives a speech about the importance of sticking together, which makes Laura and Miranda cry. Miranda reflects back on her last birthday and the fights she had with Laura... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...a notice in the post office about a big meeting regarding the coming school year. Miranda is looking forward to school, both because it will give her life a purpose and... (full context)
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August 26-27. Now that she knows what school will entail, Miranda angrily reflects back on how hopeful her previous entry was. She’s just come from the... (full context)
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Once home, Miranda realizes they use gas for their stove and water heater. Laura reassures her they can... (full context)
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...between homeschooling or attending either of the open schools, Laura says she’ll support whatever decision Miranda and Jonny make. (full context)
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August 28. Miranda’s watch has stopped. She realizes this isn’t a big deal since she doesn’t have a... (full context)
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August 29. Miranda has a scary encounter on her way into town to visit the library. While biking... (full context)
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Since Miranda already knows from Peter that the fire station has been closed, she doesn’t try there,... (full context)
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August 30. Laura asks Jonny and Miranda for their decisions about school. Jonny has chosen to be homeschooled, but—to Laura’s exasperation—the question... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...divided into groups by age: K-5th grade, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th. The high school group, including Miranda, has thirty-one people, but she isn’t friends with any of them. They wait in child-sized... (full context)
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The students in the room slowly begin to give up and leave, but Miranda is enjoying just spending time with kids her own age—even if the talk is about... (full context)
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As Miranda is leaving the office, she notices boxes of school supplies. Seeing piles of notepads and... (full context)
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September 1-5. Miranda writes three short entries, each of which gives an excuse for why she’s not going... (full context)
Chapter 12
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September 6. Miranda wakes up on a 23-degree day and lazes around in bed all morning, pretending to... (full context)
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In the pantry, Miranda spots the bag of chocolate chips she’d impulsively thrown in her cart during the shopping... (full context)
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September 7-14. Miranda continues to focus on food. First Jonny asks her why she’s not allowed to eat,... (full context)
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...Lisa is showing. Matt translates some of the nuance of the letter for Jonny and Miranda—Hal is looking for the right person to bribe to let them pass through Kansas on... (full context)
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September 17. Miranda returns from collecting kindling to find Laura crying in the kitchen because she’s thinking of... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...Laura trips and sprains her ankle. Since Matt and Jonny are at Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Miranda has to go by herself to the hospital to find Peter. But the guards won’t... (full context)
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Miranda and her brothers talk about how they’ll divide up the extra work while Laura is... (full context)
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September 19. Miranda keeps her mom company in the sunroom, and Laura thanks her for the way she... (full context)
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September 20. Miranda goes to visit Mrs. Nesbitt—who has repeatedly turned down offers to move in with the... (full context)
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September 23. Peter stops by to check Laura’s ankle, which is slowly healing. Miranda tells Matt how much older Peter looks now, and Matt responds that all of his... (full context)
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September 26-29. On a trip to the library, Miranda sees Michelle Schmidt—the girl that had supposedly been abducted. It makes Miranda wonder how many... (full context)
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...for her because she wants to record old family stories of a time before electricity. Miranda is amused by the thought that their current life harkens back to that time—and states... (full context)
Chapter 14
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October 2. Miranda turns on the stove and it’s no longer working—their gas has run out. Now the... (full context)
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...supplies and fuel he’s had so far: a fact that stuns his siblings and make Miranda feel naïve. Matt tells them they just have to wait for things to get better—Miranda... (full context)
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October 6. Miranda is having a hard time remembering what rain and sunlight are like. With the mail... (full context)
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...off the upstairs and move all the mattresses down into the kitchen and living room. Miranda mourns the loss of her bedroom, but doesn’t feel like she has a place to... (full context)
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October 14-15. Matt tells Miranda that Megan and Mrs. Wayne’s names appear on the ‘dead list’ posted in town. Miranda... (full context)
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Miranda bikes over to the Waynes’ house, but finds that it’s been looted. She sits in... (full context)
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October 18-21. Miranda dreams of Megan and hell. She wakes up in the kitchen beside Laura and misses... (full context)
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October 24. The temperature reaches 29 degrees and Miranda decides to go skating on Miller’s Pond. She arrives to see that world-famous figure skater... (full context)
Chapter 15
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October 26. Laura has sprained her ankle again, preventing Miranda from going back to the Miller’s Pond. Miranda can’t decide if she truly saw and... (full context)
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October 28. Peter stops by and confirms that Laura’s ankle is re-sprained. Miranda reflects on the first time Laura sprained it and how it wasn’t such a big... (full context)
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October 29. During a visit to Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Mrs. Nesbitt tells Miranda that it’s better that Laura can’t come visit so that she’s not the one to... (full context)
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...he uses to cover the windows of the sunroom and the kitchen for extra insulation. Miranda is furious because he didn’t ask, and this blocks out what little natural light was... (full context)
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...heating oil to protect the pipes, so Matt decides they’re all moving into the sunroom. Miranda protests, but is overruled. They’ll live, eat, sleep, and cook in the sunroom, only venturing... (full context)
Chapter 16
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November 7. Miranda finds Mrs. Nesbitt dead when she goes to visit her. Miranda kisses her cheek, then... (full context)
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Matt, Jonny, and Miranda make a plan on how to transport the supplies from Mrs. Nesbitt’s house to their... (full context)
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While Jonny and Matt bring Mrs. Nesbitt’s body to the hospital, Laura and Miranda reminisce about Mrs. Nesbitt and the special items she had bequeathed to each of them.... (full context)
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November 8-10. Miranda finds Laura crying in the pantry over Mrs. Nesbitt. Peter also stops by to comfort... (full context)
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November 11-15. Miranda thinks it’s funny that the Post Office is closed for Veteran’s day, but is less... (full context)
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...new information, it still feels hopeful to know that mail is at least being delivered. Miranda debates whether she should miss the people who are alive more than those who are... (full context)
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...Thanksgiving, which had been the day before when they hadn’t been feeling thankful, but now Miranda is almost delirious with the joy of having had real food. (full context)
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November 30-December 1. Miranda avoids schoolwork by going for a walk to Mrs. Nesbitt’s—where, despite it having been ransacked,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...at the post office. As the day passes and snow accumulates, Laura forbids Jonny and Miranda from going to look for him, saying “I can’t risk losing two of you!” Finally,... (full context)
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...and Jonny carefully clear the snow off the roof of the sunroom while Laura and Miranda melt snow to wash laundry on the woodstove. (full context)
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December 5-7. After being snowed in for a week, Miranda is getting antsy. Matt attempts to use the skis to get into town, but isn’t... (full context)
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...lunch. He says if they’re only eating one meal, he should too, but everyone protests. Miranda thinks that maybe Matt would be the best choice if only one of them were... (full context)
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December 16-21. Jonny asks Miranda if she’s still keeping a journal, and why. She doesn’t have an answer for why—but... (full context)
Chapter 18
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December 24. On Christmas Eve the Evanses hang ornaments on their clothesline and Miranda is excited to give her family the presents she has hidden away. They hear singing,... (full context)
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December 25. Despite all the hardships, Miranda records that this is “the best Christmas ever.” They feast on broth, pasta, canned clams,... (full context)
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...sing-alongs. They hang up the paintings Mrs. Nesbitt left them and some of Matt’s sketches. Miranda reflects on the year that’s ending with gratitude. While she doesn’t know if there’s a... (full context)
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January 1. Matt’s New Year’s resolution is for him, Miranda, and Jonny to become proficient on the cross country skis. They try and all tire... (full context)
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January 3-7. Miranda, Jonny, and Matt practice on the skis. This skill feels even more important after their... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...delirium too. Matt says he’ll go get help, but then realizes he can barely stand. Miranda vows to go get Peter, and she skis to the hospital. But once she gets... (full context)
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The nurses tell Miranda that there’s nothing that they or she can do to help. She can try to... (full context)
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January 11-12. Miranda nurses her mother and brothers with very little change. Matt seems the least sick and... (full context)
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January 13-14. Miranda wakes up and realizes the sunroom is full of smoke and everyone is choking. With... (full context)
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...Laura’s fever breaks and by the end of the day she’s coherent enough to order Miranda to eat, something Miranda has been too distracted to do for days. Laura wants Peter... (full context)
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January 17-26. Miranda continues to struggle with everyone’s chores. At times she resents this. Laura and Jonny are... (full context)
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January 27. Laura tells Miranda how proud she is of the way Miranda took care of them all while they... (full context)
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...he worries that he won’t ever be strong again, and that he’ll be a burden. Miranda reminds him that he hurt himself saving Laura and Jonny, and that he’s her hero... (full context)
Chapter 20
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February 9-18. Miranda and Jonny continue to practice on the skis. Matt works on rebuilding his strength. Laura... (full context)
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...Jonny has cut down to one meal a day like the rest of his family. Miranda thinks he peeked in the pantry and saw how little food remains. Laura has practically... (full context)
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February 25-March 3. Miranda chronicles how much electricity they have each day. It varies from none at all to... (full context)
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March 4-6. Everyone is getting weaker due to lack of food. Miranda looks in the pantry and wishes she hadn’t. Laura asks her to skip eating a... (full context)
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March 7-16. Miranda resents all the blank pages in her diary that she won’t get to fill. Laura... (full context)
Chapter 21
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March 17. Miranda announces that she’s going into town. She knows that she doesn’t have the strength to... (full context)
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The yellow flyer reads “City Hall Open Fridays 2-4pm.” Miranda makes her way there and is surprised to find it open. Inside Mayor Ford and... (full context)
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Miranda insists on carrying a bag of food herself, and when they arrive Mr. Danworth promises... (full context)
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March 20. It is Miranda’s seventeenth birthday, and Mr. Danworth shows up with more supplies, promising to return the following... (full context)