2008: #56 – How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)

13963422 Book #56 was How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  The back of the book reads:

“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.

This YA story of children left to fend for themselves after the outbreak of a war has a distinct post-apocalyptic feel to it. I think this is mostly due to the rural countryside setting, lack of adults, and the “faceless” enemy. You never find out what really happens here other than The Occupation, but that’s secondary to the story of Daisy and her cousins and their struggle to survive.

Daisy is the narrator here, and the writing style is true to the uncertain voice of a teenager — the slightly rambling, run-on sentences and narrow worldview are spot on. I liked Daisy, even though she starts out pretty selfish and more than slightly screwed-up. By the end of the story she is a completely different person, but the world is also a completely different place.

I think this story had the potential to be too much — too horrific, too gory, too heroic, too sad, too uncomfortable, too unbelievable. Instead, it was just right.

Page count: 194 | Word count: 40,739

2007: Basket Case (Carl Hiaasen)
2006: Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
2005: Hard Eight (Janet Evanovich)

4 thoughts on “2008: #56 – How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)

  • Pingback: Summer Reading Thing 2008 | Confessions of a Bibliophile

  • June 27, 2008 at 6:58 am

    I enjoyed How I Live Now, though I was slow to get into it. I liked Daisy, but Piper was my favorite character. I agree that the book ran the risk of being too… a lot of things… but I also thought it was just right.

  • June 29, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I didn’t find the post for the reading challenge, so I’ll post here.

    Welcome to the 100+ Reading Challenge! 😀 I have posted your link on the right sidebar of the blog. Another thing I am doing something, at least I think it is. I’d like to start posting the participating members favorite book for each month on the blog. Jan – May are already up. If you send me your favorite book and author of the book for those months, I’ll post it in the photo slider.

    You are also welcome to chat with us on the Yahoo Groups. The link can be found at http://100-book-challenge.blogspot.com/

    Best of luck and above all, have fun!

  • July 2, 2008 at 10:15 am

    That sounds like a good book. I’m putting it on my list. I love your blog. It’s gorgeous.


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