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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“So I’ll skate instead of volleyball,” I said. “Mom, I know my limitations. But I loved skating. I don’t understand why you don’t want me to.”

“If I thought the only reason was because you loved it, then we’d talk about it,” Mom said. “But skating lessons are very expensive and I can’t help thinking you only want them so you can gossip about Brandon Erlich on the message boards.”

“Mom, Brandon doesn’t even skate here anymore!” I cried. “He trains in California now.”

“But his parents still live here,” Mom said. “And you’d want to be coached by Mrs. Daley.”

“I don’t know if she’d even take me on,” I said. “It’s about the money, isn’t it? There’s money to send Jonny to baseball camp this summer, but not enough money for me to have skating lessons.”

Mom turned 15 shades of red and then we really went at it. Mom yelled at me about money and responsibilities and I yelled at her about favorites and not loving me like she loves Matt and Jonny (which I know isn’t true, but Mom wasn’t right about me not understanding about money and responsibilities) and we got so loud Jonny left his bedroom to see what was going on.

Mom came into my room about an hour later and we both apologized. Mom said she’d think about the skating lessons. She said she thought volleyball would be better on my college applications since I could join a college squad if I was good enough.

She didn’t say I’d never be good enough at swimming for a college squad, which was actually kind of nice of her. I’m never going to be good enough for anything the way things are going.

And I don’t much like either of my two best friends these days.

All that and a math test tomorrow I can’t even pretend I studied enough for.

I wish I was in college already. I don’t see how I can make it through the next two weeks, let alone two more years of high school.

May 13

Friday the 13th. Well, things weren’t that bad.

The math test wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Mom said if I wanted, I could take skating lessons in July. August I’ll be spending with Dad, anyway. Then if I want to continue, we’ll talk about it again.

Megan had lunch with her church friends (I don’t like any of them) and Sammi had lunch with this week’s boyfriend, so I ended up eating with some of the swim team, which was a lot more fun than listening to Megan and Sammi yell about God. Dan, who’ll be captain next year, told me I had a really good crawl stroke and that if I worked at it, he could see me anchoring relays as soon as next season.

And I like Peter (he told Jonny and me to call him that; said Dr. Elliott was his name at the office). Some of the guys Mom’s dated have tried too hard with us, but Peter seemed pretty casual. Not with Mom, though. He actually stammered when he was talking with her and he stumbled and nearly fell. But he laughed at himself and said he wasn’t nearly that careless when he was operating on someone.

He asked if any of us had heard about the asteroid and the moon. Mom remembered something about it, because it was big news when the astronomers first announced it was going to happen. Some asteroid is going to hit the moon, and Peter heard on the radio driving over that it’s going to be visible in the night sky next week. I asked Mom if we could dig out Matt’s telescope and she said we should ask him, but she was sure it’d be okay.

Jonny and I didn’t even argue over the computer after Mom left. There was something I wanted to watch on TV from 8 to 9 and there was something he wanted to watch from 9 to 10, so that worked out really well. The fan board is still fighting over whether Brandon’ll need two quads to win the Olympics or whether he could win with just one.

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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