Excerpt from Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Life As We Knew It

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 352 pages
    May 2008, 360 pages

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Sammi told me she’s going to the prom with Bob Patterson. I know I shouldn’t be jealous but I am, not because I like Bob (actually I think he’s kind of creepy), but because nobody asked me. Sometimes I think no one ever will. I’ll spend the rest of my life sitting in front of my computer, posting messages about Brandon Erlich and his future in figure skating.

I told Megan about Sammi and how she always gets dates and she said, “Well, the reason is there’s always a man in Samantha,” and after I got over being shocked I laughed. But then Megan spoiled it by becoming that new preachy Megan and she went on about how sex before marriage is a sin and how you shouldn’t date just to go out with guys but because you were serious about making a lifetime commitment.

I’m 16 years old. Let me get my learner’s permit first. Then I’ll worry about lifetime commitments.

May 12

I went to bed in a bad mood and today everything just went worse.

At lunch today, Megan told Sammi she was going to go to hell if she didn’t repent soon and Sammi got real mad (I don’t blame her) and yelled at Megan that she was a very spiritual person and didn’t need any lessons from Megan about what God wanted because she knew God wanted her to be happy and if God hadn’t wanted people to have sex He’d have made everybody amoebas.

I thought that was pretty funny, but Megan didn’t and the two of them really went at it.

I can’t remember the last time the three of us had lunch together and enjoyed ourselves. When Becky was still healthy the four of us did everything together, and then after Becky got sick, we grew even closer. Megan or Sammi or I visited Becky at home or at the hospital almost every day, and called or e-mailed the others to say how Becky was doing. I don’t think I could have made it through Becky’s funeral without them. But ever since then Sammi and Megan both changed. Sammi started dating all kinds of guys and Megan got involved with her church. They’ve both changed so much over the past year and I seem to be staying who I always was.

Here I am going into my junior year of high school and these are supposed to be the best years of my life and I’m just stuck.

But the real reason why I’m in a bad mood is because I got into a big fight with Mom.

It started after supper. Jonny had gone into his room to finish his homework and Mom and I were loading the dishwasher, and Mom told me she and Dr. Elliott were going out for dinner tomorrow night.

There was this quick moment when I was jealous of Mom because even she has a social life, but it passed pretty fast. I like Dr. Elliott and Mom hasn’t been involved with anybody in a while. Besides, it’s always smart to ask favors of Mom when she’s in a good mood. So I did.

“Mom, can I take skating lessons?”

“Just for the summer?” she asked.

“And next year, too,” I said. “If I feel like continuing.”

“After your ankle healed, you said you didn’t want to skate again,” Mom said.

“The doctor said I shouldn’t even try jumping for three months,” I said. “And by then there wasn’t any point competing. So I stopped. But now I’d like to skate just for fun. I thought you like it that I do sports.”

“I do like it,” Mom said, but the way she slammed the dishwasher closed let me know she didn’t like it nearly as much as I thought she did. “But you have swimming and you were planning on trying out for the volleyball team in the fall. You can’t handle three sports. Two’s probably a stretch, especially if you want to work on the school paper.”

Excerpted from Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Copyright © 2006 by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Excerpted by permission of Harcourt Trade Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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