Sunday, December 07, 2008

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

Despite the fact that I just changed my 'currently reading' today, I actually finished this book a few days ago. I have owned it for a while and I kept picking it up with the intention of reading it, but that would never end up working out. Once I got going with it, though, I found that I really liked it! I am so picky with young adult fiction, when you really think about it. I continue to read it, but I never know what I am going to think about it from one moment to the next.

All I know is that my resolution for 2009 is to try and finish books. When I was organizing my bookshelves the other day I found so many books with bookmarks in them. Some of them I even remember enjoying, but for whatever reason, I got distracted and read another book. I really have to be the easiest distracted person in the world, judging by the bookmarks. I always have the best intentions of returning to the pages, but something else comes along and soon I forget I ever had the intentions. So, I am currently reading Eva Moves the Furniture right now, and while I like it, I don't love it. I keep wanting to put it aside for another day, but I know if I do that I probably will never get back to it! The last thing I need is more unfinished books. If there is not more movement soon, I am going to run out of living space!

So, now that I have totally gone off-topic, it is probably time for me to talk about the book that is the entire intention of this review. When I was reading this book, I knew it took place in a modern world, but I kept forgetting and thinking I was reading about World War I or another major conflict. Then, cellphones or internet would be mentioned and I would remind myself that the book is about a fictional war that hasn't happened yet (and hopefully never will). In this book, Daisy is the main character and it is she that tells the events of the story. For her, it is written after the fact and tells of her life when she is caught up in a battle with an unknown enemy.

Daisy is a fifteen-year-old girl who has not been having the best of life in the last few years. Her mother died back when she was little, so it was just her and her father for the vast majority of her life. Then, her father decides to remarry and the woman that he marries is the stereotypical evil step-mother. When she gets pregnant, it seems there are too many people in the household and that Daisy has too many problems, so she is sent to England to live with her mothers' sister. She is a trouble young woman who has been battling an eating disorder, but now she finds herself living in a place where just finding enough to eat is a luxury. Suddenly, she finds that she has an appetite just when the other people in the novel are learning what it is to virutally starve.

In essence, this novel explores what it is like for Daisy and her four cousins to survive while the country is at war and her aunt is away. With these four people, three boys and a girl, Daisy starts to figure out who she is as a person. Especially when it comes to her cousin, Edmund. Without necessarily trying, they help Daisy gain footing and find the strength to get through everything that comes next. These people battle some of the hardships that children leaving during the First and Second World Wars had to endure. Rosoff gives readers a chance to imagine what it would be like if the world went to war again. A very scary scenerio.

I quite enjoyed this book. It was well thought out and imaginative. I recommend it.


  1. Great review and great book talk. I know what you mean about letting a book go even though it is good and then forgetting all about it. I am trying hard not to do that, but at the moment I am reading two books and I like them both but don't love them and am tempted all the time to find another one. But will not do that. Must finish other books first ;o)

    While I do not have any kids myself, I am constantly (specially around the holidays) looking for young adult books for some of those young kids (girls) that I give gifts for Christmas and b.days. It used to be so easy for me to find cute kiddiebooks for them, but now they are young ladies (at least they think they are) and demand other sorts of books. A lot of Danish writers do young adult, and a lot of YA in English is translated, but I never know what is good and what is bad. This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for reviewing it.

  2. Yeah, I keep eyeing other books, too, but I am determined to finish this book. I am getting close! I hate to not finish this book because it is good, just not great... But, if I put it aside I will never get around to it again.

    This was a good book. I hardly know anyone in real life that reads, so I have no need to buy for other people anymore. It's sad. This book was good, though, so I am sure at least one of your young adults will enjoy it.

  3. This book's currently sitting on my nightstand and I really look forward to getting to it. Thanks for the review, Kailana.

  4. It was good, Nymeth. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

  5. Kailana -

    Sounds like another addition to my mile long wish list. Thanks for the excellent review.


  6. Yeah, isn't that always the way! I look at books on mine and there are many I can't remember what inspired me to add them or I can't even remember what they are about!

  7. I thought this book was so strange and dream-like. I could easily understand how Daisy was so drawn into the family, because as the reader, I was drawn in, too.

  8. Charley: I know exactly what you mean! I think I will have to read more from her in the future.


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