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Book Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live NowTitle: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Series:  Standalone
Pages:  211
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: 30th November, 2004
Source: Library
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.


My Thoughts:
Back before I discovered YA and was finding it really difficult to find new books to read, I read What I Was, which is also by Meg Rosoff. I really didn't like it, so I was hesitant to pick up anything else by her. However, the film for How I Live Now was released last year and so, true to the pact I made to myself that I will always try to read the book before seeing the film, I went ahead and borrowed it from the library and on recommendation from a friend, read it over a few days.

It took me a little while to get into. I think there were two reasons for this - one being the writing style, and the other being the plot (or lack thereof for the first half of the book, basically). It is written in first person from Daisy's point of view, however there's a shortage of punctuation which took some getting used to. For example, whenever anyone says anything, there are no speech marks or breaks in the sentence to signify it, just a capital letter, and then whatever the character said. I'd give an example but I had to take the book back to the library so I'm not really sure that'll make sense unless you've read it... Anyway, it's just something to bear in mind if you're not a fan of incorrect grammar and all that ;)

The second thing, as mentioned, was the plot. Daisy is sent to England to visit her cousins, and then due to bombings she cannot get home, so is stranded in England with these cousins that she's never met (and maybe might be a little telepathic with? I don't really know to be honest - it was all a bit strange.) So all that really happens in the first half of the book is we get to know a bit about her cousins and a bit about Daisy, and then she ends up falling in love with Edmond, one of her cousins (which is a little odd too). It's not really incestuous, but it is a bit of an odd idea...

Anyway, about halfway through the book, the action starts and doesn't really stop until the end. All of a sudden there are brutal murders and evacuations and it's all very fast paced and rather exciting. Up until then I'd been reading quite slowly, but after that I literally finished in about an hour. I found myself rooting for Daisy and Piper (the cousin with whom she was evacuated) to make it back to their other cousins Isaac and Edmond, whereas before I didn't really care, and for everything to be okay, and in the end I really enjoyed it.

The very end of the book was a little confusing, but I think I've got it sussed now and because I thought that the rest of the book was a little strange, it was kind of fitting. Overall it's a good read and I would recommend if you're interested or would like to watch the film (and obviously therefore have to read the book first :P). I'm glad that I read it and am definitely more open to reading more of Meg Rosoff's books in the future. Now, I'm off to watch the film!

(I'll update this once I've seen the film, to let you know what I thought and how it compares.)

Thanks for reading!

Comments

  1. I agree with you that this book kind of had a 'strange' quality to it...like sometimes you weren't quite sure if it was meant to be tottally realistic or not...but either way I did like it. I really liked the film, although I preferred the book - things like the telepathy couldn't really tranlslate very well to the film, nevertheless it was a pretty good adaptation! :)

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