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How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now (2004)

by Meg Rosoff

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3,0471921,860 (3.82)185
Recently added byklack128, stelleappese, private library, olschool, davidgn, pokeyminch, Arkwen452
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Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
I had high hopes for How I Live Now. I’ve only heard about good things about it, but I personally didn’t like the book. More than anything I HATE the way it’s written. This writing style drives me insane. I wanted to throw the book against a wall and leave it to rot. Besides that, there are tons of better YA books about surviving while being young and in love. How I Live Now did nothing out of the ordinary that left an impression— except for maybe the incest relationship which I found awkward and weird. It was almost like the author added it for shock value. I mean come on, a book about kids needing to survive WWIII and the best you can come up with is an incest relationship? There’s SO much more that could’ve been going on within the pages of this book and we’re left with shit. It didn’t even make sense half the time.
I really wanted to like this book, but I just can't make myself do it. ( )
  Serenity_Tigerlily | Jul 14, 2015 |
I almost put this down, the writing is so strange in the beginning. But I'm really glad I didn't. I've never read anything else like this. It's so simple and beautiful... I loved it. Completely.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People. ( )
1 vote hotforcool | May 31, 2015 |
This was a strange book about Daisy, a young troubled teen sent to live in England with her cousins during an ongoing war. While she’s there the war slowly escalates, cutting her off from her home in New York — though Daisy and her cousins, parading freely through the fields in their innocence don’t notice it much since it doesn’t affect them directly. It’s not until war charges into their lives with the introduction of soldiers, fighting, and danger and causing them to be separated that the family begins to realize the impact of war on themselves and the people around them.

There’s a slight mystical quality to Daisy’s cousins, a natural charisma and a sort of telepathic ability. Edmund seems to be able to read people’s minds and the rest of them seem to be able to read and speak to animals. It adds an odd kind of surreal quality, especially to the airy joy of the first several chapters.

The most disturbing thing to me is the romantic relationship between Daisy and Edmund, because, you know, COUSINS.

I suppose I can understand how this got so popular. Daisy’s narration and voice is very real, sounding exactly like a bratty teenager. The story is fairly simple with a few interesting complexities slipping in. While I enjoyed the story, overall it felt a little off to me and I didn’t connect to it much. ( )
  andreablythe | Apr 29, 2015 |
How I Live Now is the story of Daisy, a fifteen-year-old New Yorker who is sent away by her father and evil stepmother to live with her aunt and cousins in the English countryside. Of course, the twist is that the war is embroiled in a series of terrorist attacks that finally culminate in the occupation of Britain while Daisy's aunt is away, leaving the five children alone when the war comes to them.

While the back of the book promised Daisy to be "witty" and "subversive", mostly she's a fifteen year old who is old enough to understand what war is but not old enough to understand how it affects her. There is nothing wrong with this, and the author does do an admirable job of capturing a fifteen-year-old's thoughts regarding the matter; she doesn't care, but not because she's sociopathic, but because she's fifteen. Her commentary, however, which is fairly grating to read - apparently quotation marks, like food, is scarce in this terrorist war, because you won't find any in the text. There are plenty of run-on sentences, however, and the Random Capitalization of Things, which can be used to humorous effect, but here just becomes Tediously Overused.

If the book had stuck with the idea of a group of kids in the middle of an occupied Britain, it would have been fine. Instead, it loses focus - it turns out that at least three of her cousins are telepathic or have semi-mystical abilities of talking to animals, which is never fully explained. Additionally, Daisy seems completely blase about this development. If the world were more fantastic, this would be acceptable, but as it seems to be a modern day, realistic take on England, it just seems confusing, like mixing genres. The only explanation the reader is given is that it allows for a Required Tragic Ending and apparently the idea of a war wasn't enough, so the author felt compelled to throw in this odd subplot.

And then there's the romance, that word being used in the loosest sense of the word possible. Daisy falls in love with her fourteen-year-old cousin. I'll allow that to sink in for a moment, and give an additional moment for those reading the review to wash your hands to rid yourself of the squicky feeling.

This is presumably meant to be some epic wartime romance, including the reunion at the end, but just comes across as unnecessary. It could have been literally anyone else - other than Edmond's completely unexplained telepathic powers, he is rather boring - and worked, but for some reason, it had to be her cousin.

Mostly, it felt like there was a great idea hidden somewhere in a mess of a novel. The run-on sentences, lack of quotation marks, Random Capitalization were enough to give me a headache, but forgivable, but basing a premise on realism and then throwing in these characters who are borderline telepathic just felt like another book got lost and wandered onto the page. Add that to the unnecessarily squicky underage cousin romance, and it lost me completely. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
The narrator certainly has an interesting voice. The problem with interesting voices is that they usually annoy at least a few readers, and I found the quirky capitalisation sounded ironic, which after a while sounded relentlessly sarcastic and therefore didn't work for me overall.

I guess also I am not a big fan of this category/genre of YA stories with a romantic subplot in which war breaks out. I didn't have the faintest idea what this book was about before I opened it -- only that the author has also written a later book called There Is No Dog, which appeals to atheist me, and although I haven't got to that book yet I still might. Maybe I was ruined by having to teach Tomorrow When The War Began (and muster up fake enthusiasm for it) when I never really was a fan of YA even when I was a YA myself. ( )
  LynleyS | Jan 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
Fifteen-year-old Daisy, an anorexic, acerbic New Yorker, falls instantly in love with her English cousins' farm and with her English cousin Edmond. Idyllic love story abruptly becomes horrific survival tale when an unnamed enemy power invades the country. A captivating and deeply satisfying first novel. Review 9/04.

"How I Live Now." The Horn Book Magazine Jan.-Feb. 2005: 16.
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My name is Elizabeth but no one's ever called me that.
You can imagine it was the social event of the day, everyone competing for the worst piece of news.
All in all I felt a little guilty about the fact that while us kids had been living the Life of Riley, a whole bunch of other people had been scurrying around like lunatics trying to keep the Social Fabric from Unraveling and my personal belief was that there were too many problems to think about and not enough people to sort them out.
Staying alive was what we did to pass the time.
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An American girl is sent to stay with her English cousins for the summer. Their lives are torn apart when World War III breaks out and their aunt disappears.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553376055, Paperback)

Possibly one of the most talked about books of the year, Meg Rosoff's novel for young adults is the winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2004. Heralded by some as the next best adult crossover novel since Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, who himself has given the book a thunderously good quote, this author's debut is undoubtedly stylish, readable and fascinating.

Rosoff's story begins in modern day London, slightly in the future, and as its heroine has a 15-year-old Manhattanite called Daisy. She's picked up at the airport by Edmond, her English cousin, a boy in whose life she is destined to become intricately entwined. Daisy stays at her Aunt Penn's country farmhouse for the summer with Edmond and her other cousins. They spend some idyllic weeks together--often alone with Aunt Penn away travelling in Norway. Daisy's cousins seem to have an almost telepathic bond, and Daisy is mesmerized by Edmond and soon falls in love with him.

But their world changes forever when an unnamed aggressor invades England and begins a years-long occupation. Daisy and Edmond are separated when soldiers take over their home, and Daisy and Piper, her younger cousin, must travel to another place to work. Their experiences of occupation are never kind and Daisy's pain, living without Edmond, is tangible.

Rosoff's writing style is both brilliant and frustrating. Her descriptions are wonderful, as is her ability to portray the emotions of her characters. However, her long sentences and total lack of punctuation for dialogue can be exhausting. Her narrative is deeply engaging and yet a bit unbelievable. The end of the book is dramatic, but too sudden. The book has a raw, unfinished feel about it, yet that somehow adds to the experience of reading it. (Age 14 and over) --John McLay

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:11 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land. "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.… (more)

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