Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. (Grades 6-8)
I am not lying when I say that Life as We Knew It is required reading in my department. Seriously, it's one of the first things we ask anyone new. "Have you read it?!" and if they haven't, we assure them that they must. Not only is Life as We Knew It a thrilling story of survival, it will stick with you for a long, long time.
I believe I originally picked up LAWKI because of its cover. I mean, take a look. That cover sells itself. You shouldn't need to know anything more.
But in case you do want to know something more...
LAWKI is told in diary format by Miranda. When the story begins, Miranda is just another anykid, going to school, coming home... and wondering why everyone is so freaked out by this moon thing that's happening. See, an asteroid is going to hit the moon. And everyone's talking about it. The science teachers are all atwitter and everyone's going to gather outside and watch the asteroid explode against the side of the moon or whatever it's going to do.
But when the asteroid hits, it hits with such force that it pushes the moon closer to the earth. And from there everything changes. Due to the moon's new position, the tides and weather is all out of whack. Tsunamis hit many major cities and eventually the world is thrust into a nuclear winter. There's no electricity, no gas for cars. The temperature drops and Miranda's city is covered in snow. There's no way of knowing if there is anyone else alive, so Miranda and her family must learn to survive on their own...
It's haunting and once you read it, you'll be checking the moon for days. Make sure you have a bag of chocolate chips stashed in the pantry and pick up Life as We Knew It. It's required reading of the best kind.
Need more convincing? Check out reviews at Three Good Rats and bookshelves of doom. Also note that the sequel is due out June 1. (Any ARCs floating around?? I (and my department) would love you forever...)