Release Date: 2006
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Bought
“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.
I’ve had How I Live Now on my to read list for ages. I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and devoured it. I’m still blown away by it. There are so many elements and layers to the story. I don’t even know where to start. The first half of the book was really surprising to me. It was happy for the most part. There was a war going on and these kids didn’t seem to grasp that, but the more I thought about it the more that made sense. If I were 15, all alone with no parents I would probably feel pretty free and happy too. Especially if I were in Daisy’s situation. She had gotten used to not having a full time parent. All of them, except maybe Osbert, had that ‘It won’t happen here’ mentality. I think we can all relate to that.
How I Live Now is short, less than 200 pages, but it doesn’t take long to become completely captivated by it. Daisy’s unique and cynical voice captured me from page 1. The other characters–Issac, Piper, and of course Edmond–were so full of life and heart. It was impossible not to love everything about them. I’m not even going to touch on the relationship between Daisy and Edmond. I’ll just say that it felt like a natural progression for these characters. Whether it was from loneliness, just the fact that they could, or love, it still felt relevant to the story.
Now the second half of the book turns horrifying quickly. The war catches up with them. I won’t get into it too much, but it made the story come even more alive. Though there isn’t a ton of details about what’s happening there is just enough to scare you. This seems like what war would be in our day and age. We always think that war happens somewhere else, but this is happening everywhere. That completely freaks me out.
Overall I loved this book, as you can see. The ending was a little abrupt, but the rest of the story more than made up for it. Meg Rosoff takes elements like family, wartime, magical realism, and love and puts them together in a way that I never would have dreamed of. I can definitely see why it won awards. How I Live Now is incredible.