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64 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep, well-done read.
This is the story of Daisy, a fifteen year old who goes to England to live with her cousins in the not-too-distant future. It is not giving anything away to say that Daisy begins a love affair with her cousin Edmond, but all their lives are changed as a war breaks out and England becomes an occupied state. At first the kids are self-sufficient and untouched by the...
Published on May 21, 2005 by Tamela Mccann

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult narrative voice, depressing content, but vibrant characters. Suffers from lack of meaning. Moderately recommended
Some day in the near future, Daisy leaves Manhattan and moves in with her aunt and cousins in their farmhouse in the English countryside. Her cousins adopt her immediately, and Daisy falls in love with one, beginning the few idyllic weeks that pass before, while her aunt is away on business, war breaks out. With the country in chaos, Daisy and her cousins must fend for...
Published on September 10, 2007 by Juushika


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64 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep, well-done read., May 21, 2005
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
This is the story of Daisy, a fifteen year old who goes to England to live with her cousins in the not-too-distant future. It is not giving anything away to say that Daisy begins a love affair with her cousin Edmond, but all their lives are changed as a war breaks out and England becomes an occupied state. At first the kids are self-sufficient and untouched by the horrors, but as the story develops, shades of World War 2 begin to overcome them as they face separation, deprivation, and ultimate loss. Daisy speaks in a believable voice that takes you into her soul and makes you feel what she does. This one is highly recommended.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop thinking about this book, August 10, 2005
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
It's been at least two months since I read How I Live Now, and I still think about it almost daily. I'm definitely an adult - in fact, I have a master's degree in English - and this is one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read.

Briefly, the plot:

Daisy, our narrator, is not a very admirable character when the novel begins. Sent to rural England to live with her deceased mother's family, Daisy is at first shocked at the conditions of life with her aunt's large family.

Soon after Daisy arrives, her aunt must go on an emergency trip to help with peace negotiations, leaving her children and Daisy alone. Thus begins an idyllic summer - the group at the farm is aware a military force has taken over the country, but specifics are hard to come by, and life goes on as normal in their corner of the world, so by and large they ignore the crisis. With no telephone, no internet, no television or radio, the kids come to enjoy their isolation and Daisy begins a sexual relationship with her cousin Edmond.

The world won't stay away forever, though. Eventually military forces arrive and take the children to allegedly "safe" places, separating the boys and the girls.

Daisy's devastation at losing contact with Edmond fades quickly once she realizes that the war, if that is indeed what it is, has closed in around her and presents a real, personal threat.

Daisy and her young cousin Piper eventually make their way back home, and Daisy leaves the country to return to America through her father's subterfuge. But what she has seen has scarred her forever, and draws her back to the rural English farm.

We also see how quickly war turns children into adults. By novel's end, whiny, spoiled Daisy has become an adult who makes mature decisions. The vivid, live-life-out-loud Edmond has witnessed intense atrocities and drawn into himself like a shell-shocked vet from World War I. There's no time for fantasies and dreams anymore, there's only real life and the imperative to get on with it.

Where it shines:

Despite its twists and turns, the plot takes a back seat in How I Live Now. What struck me, and what has stayed with me, are the details of life during one of our new-fangled post-9/11 wars. Surely this is what that life would be like - No reliable means of contact with the outside world, no trustworthy sources of information, not even knowing who the "enemy" is. What do they believe in? Why are they doing, umm, whatever it is they're doing? Does it matter if the uniformed man walking along the road is one of "us" or one of "them"? Is it safe to let him see you, no matter which side he's on? Not being able to know these things didn't disturb the characters nearly as much as it disturbed me.

How I Live Now left me shaken; I keep trying to tell friends the story so I can illustrate a point with it: How do we know what we know? If we hear a radio address by George Bush, we take it for granted that it is George Bush himself delivering it, despite the fact that numerous stand-up comedians can sound just like him. Or maybe it is him, but someone is holding a gun to his head. If we see him on television speaking, again we take it for granted that it's really our president, when we ought to know by now that there are body doubles aplenty.

I'm not implying that the U.S. has been taken over by some outside element that is either impersonating President Bush or forcing him to act according to their dictates, but if they were, how would we know?

That's what I'm left with after reading How I Live Now.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A YA book I couldn't put it down, January 26, 2005
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
Told from the unforgettable point of view of a 15-year-old girl called Daisy, Meg Rosoff's HOW I LIVE NOW is a compelling debut novel that has much more meat on its bones than its narrator (who suffers from anorexia). Daisy is sent to England, war breaks out, and she and her cousins -- some of whom can read her mind -- are left without adult supervision. Daisy and her cousin Edmond fall in love, then are separated for the duration of the occupation, and they maintain a kind of pychic connection until something terrible happens to break it.

This is the kind of book you can't put down, one you wish would never end. Some people may quibble over Daisy's rambling thoughts. The sentences are long and the author and editor obviously didn't think punctuation essential. But Daisy's voice comes to you right as if she is talking and thinking, true and real and heartbreaking.

I highly recommend this book to both teens and adults.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimacy Between The Gunshots, July 11, 2005
By 
Jon Linden (Warren, N.J. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
Truly a tremendous creation, Rosoff's book describes an apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic view through the eyes of a very sensitive and mature 14 year old girl. The story basically entails a young girl who is sent over to England to be out of her parent's way. But shortly after she gets there and gets to know her cousins, a war breaks out.

The book relates the trials and travails of wartime life. But that is just the basic story. What makes the book particularly special is Rosoff's articulation. Her story is clear and concise. And the sensitivity that is packed into a very short period of time/life abounds within the book. Daisy, the protagonist falls in love with her first cousin. The manner in which this interaction is described is nothing short of precious.

The book uniquely weaves a story of intense love and excruciating war conditions that are virtually spellbinding on the reader. Using a truly excellent stylistic technique, Rosoff also adds realism to the story by never using any obscenity in the book, but by referencing directly incidents of profanity and pornography that certainly would accompany any army. But above all, it is the clarity of presentation that makes this book a classic contribution to the young adult literature of the 21st Century.

The book is recommended highly for mid to late teenagers. In addition, it is a book with a level of compassion and feeling that would stir any reader. Truly a great book, it is recommended for all readers over the age of 13.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian Utopia, March 30, 2007
This review is from: How I Live Now (Paperback)
This book is told in the smartmouthed voice of an American teenager named Daisy who is stranded in England with her cousins (three teen boys and a younger girl named Piper) when the Bad Thing happens. There is a bomb, there are more bombs, there is an occupation by unnamed foreigners, there is a resistance, but what there is, mostly, is a huge radio silence. Little tv, no cell phones, no internet, and finally, no electricity.

Daisy is bleak and funny. Daisy's cousins are homeschooled, self-sufficient and psychic, and they get on with the business of survival. There is love and sex, but nothing graphic, and Daisy wrestles with the morality of what she's doing, which I think is a refreshing aspect to bring to a YA book.

As a work of fiction, this book is beautifully characterized, with an odd, beautiful family at its center. Even in hard wartime conditions, the humanity of the characters remains. Soldiers kill out of fear, not hatred. Mothers grieve, fathers try to fix things, there are kind soldiers who treasure the innocence of children rather than brutalizing it. There are good dogs. None of it is as treacle as I make it sound. It's a difficult story and Daisy, the narrating character, is one tough, messed-up girl. But like Children of Men, this book offers recognizable humanity, and some hope.

I'm not sure how 12 year-old would respond to a story this bleak, but I love it, all my kids love it (17 and up) and I recommend it highly.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique literary voice, September 22, 2004
By 
G. Duncan (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
The most impressive quality of "How I Live Now" is the author's unique literary voice - a first-person narrative at once smart, witty, sardonic and perceptively true to the teenage mind (I know, I live with one). The most chilling aspect of the plot is the realization that, given the current fragile world situation, it COULD happen, and in a way just as author Rosoff describes it. This is a book that both teens and adults should find enormously entertaining and thought-provoking as they come to care deeply about Daisy and about the world that challenges her very existence.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, touching read., January 4, 2006
By 
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
How I Live Now was so great that I couldn't put it down! The main character goes to England to escape the turmoil of her life in NYC (divorce, NYC under seige). When war breaks out in Europe, the children are left alone and the author immediately paints a picture of their lives that is so real, I could picture this war. The strongest part of the story was that although it was fiction, I could see it actually happenning. In a world like today where differences are feared rather than celebrated by many, where hate is as common as humanity (if not more so), this book shows us that there are consequences. The book definitely goes into heavy material, that's why I think any adult would find it just as enjoyable and enlightening as a teenager. The setting was my favorite part of the story, but the characters had a real depth and truth to them as well. This book is one of my all new all-time favorites.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult narrative voice, depressing content, but vibrant characters. Suffers from lack of meaning. Moderately recommended, September 10, 2007
By 
Juushika (Oregon, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How I Live Now (Paperback)
Some day in the near future, Daisy leaves Manhattan and moves in with her aunt and cousins in their farmhouse in the English countryside. Her cousins adopt her immediately, and Daisy falls in love with one, beginning the few idyllic weeks that pass before, while her aunt is away on business, war breaks out. With the country in chaos, Daisy and her cousins must fend for themselves through increasingly dismal, difficult times. Told in an immature adolescent voice and focusing on, not the political issues, but the daily life of war from a teenager's point of view, How I Live Now deals with everything from eating disorders to love to the dystopic wasteland of the abandoned countryside. The voice is difficult to adjust to and to read, the subject matter is dark and almost hopeless, but Rosoff conceives her modern war in gritty detail and brings it to life through the vibrant young characters. A different, odd, but fast-paced read, and moderately recommended.

I come into this review without a strong opinion one way or the other on this book, and still confused as to why and how much I gained from reading it. The book is difficult to adjust to at first. Told in Daisy's voice, it is stripped of almost all punctuation, heavy on capitalized words, and thick with immature adolescent sarcasm. However, as the reader adjusts, the voice begins to contribute to rather than detract from the book by becoming one of the many factors that bring to life the vibrant young narrator and characters. Many of the book's features follow this contradictory path: they are odd, strange, or even off-putting, but are ultimately crucial to creating the book as it is. From the love between the cousins Daisy and Edmond to Daisy's eating disorder, to the deaths, days of starvation, and terror that populate the latter half of the book (expressed, often, in gritty and unforgiving detail), the book rides the line between hopelessly depressing and distinctly, vitally alive. It is an odd combination that makes for an even stranger read, but with Daisy's well-paced narration remains an engrossing book.

Unlike many post-apocalyptic or dystopic texts, however, How I Live Now does not offer a concrete warning or message for the reader to take away at the end of the book. This, too, plays a dual role: in some ways, the lack of a greater message makes the narration more engrossed in and authentic to itself; in all other ways, it limits the lasting impact of the book. With young narrators, without a political slant, without a thematic message or warning, the book falls somewhat flat at the end. Once the shell-shocked daze of reading it wears off, the text seems pointless, hopeless, and messageless--begging the question: Was this a worthwhile book?

Rosoff's world is realistic, her characters vibrant and human despite their telepathic traits, and the horrors of her war are unforgiving. The book is a compelling read, difficult to put down, constantly leading into the next struggle, difficulty, and sometimes triumph. But it is more unsettling that it is memorable or meaningful. I cannot say that I enjoyed reading it, but I do appreciate both the skill and the content of the work. I wish it had more to offer once the reading were done, but I am still glad to have read this book. Post-apocalyptic/dystopic fans may enjoy the concept and the setting; all readers will be drawn into Daisy's world. This is not a must-read, and it left me feeling unsettled, but I do nevertheless moderately recommend it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing debut novel, August 25, 2004
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
I work in a bookstore and received a galley of this a few months ago. Since then, three of my fellow co-workers (who don't really read a lot of kids books) have read it, and we all loved it!!!!! Although how i live now is going to be marketed as a teen novel, I think that most adults will like it too. This story of a near future (or could it be the present?) terrorist attack and subsequent war in England (and America) is so timely and realistic that you feel it could happen any day now. The pacing of the story is so perfect that you'll want to keep reading until the very end! You'll recognize some of the characters as friends you have/had, or perhaps as some teenagers you currently know. The angst voice of Daisy is wonderfully edgy and refreshing. I absolutely loved her, and I have to admit, I had a small crush on Edmond. Oh, and one more small note, I love the way Daisy's eating disorder was subtly worked into the plot and the way it was cured. Anyway, I loved this book and I hope you will too; I look forward to the next novel by first time author, Meg Rosoff.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How I Live Now, January 30, 2006
This review is from: How I Live Now (Hardcover)
This book is a set text on a Creative Writing course. I read it not knowing what to expect and thought it was an incredible piece of writing. The tone, style and narrative structure is brilliant. I became a 15 year old again, living through the angst and joy in Daisy's life. Her interaction with the reader and carefully careless turn of phrase sets this novel apart as something truly special. I didn't realise it was a book for children until I read the credits on the back. I would consider this a much more accomplished text than the 'Curious Incident' and more persuasively teenage in its narration. You should read this book
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How I Live Now
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Paperback - April 11, 2006)
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