"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 shes 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, its a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisys 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.
Daisy's voice is totally authentic and the story gripped and just wouldn't let go. More than any recent book, How I Live Now brought home how easily a country could be brought to its knees by a small invading force. As Daisy explains, 'when I heard how it happened I was pretty impressed by the cleverness of the guys who planned it, who as far as I understood basically waited for most of the British Army to be lured into crises on the other side of the world and then waltzed in and cut off all the transportation and communication sand stuff so basically they were defending Britain against its own returning armed forces rather than attacking.'
Most poignant of all is a long postscript written by Daisy six years after the war, I have reread these particular chapters a number of times already and will likely return to them again.
Rosoff’s narrative poise makes this a book for all ages.....A daring, wise, and sensitive look at the complexities of being young in a world teetering on chaos, Rosoff’s poignant exploration of perseverance in the face of the unknown is a timely lesson for us all.
Starred review. Daisy’s unapologetic narration is a shockingly funny, disturbingly poignant series of observations. . . . Readers will remain absorbed to the very end by this unforgettable and original story.
This is a very relatable contemporary story, told in honest, raw first-person and filled with humor, love, pathos, and carnage. War, as it will, changes these young people irrevocably, not necessarily for the worse. They and readers know that no one will ever be the same. (Fiction. 12+)
Booklist - Jennifer Mattson
Starred Review Gr. 8-11. Central to the potency of Rosoff's debut....is the ominous prognostication of what a third world war might look like, and the opportunity it provides for teens to imagine themselves, like Daisy, exhibiting courage and resilience in roles traditionally occupied by earlier generations.
Powells Bookstore Staff Pick
This book for young adults simply captivated me like so few novels for adults will. In a voice that could tell you how to change a light bulb yet still hold you transfixed, fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy recalls a summer in the British countryside with her cousins. War breaks out and the children must depend on each other to survive. Her tale is dark, beautiful, and wise. A breathtaking feat of storytelling.
Starred Review. This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. . . Readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser, and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity.
The Horn Book
Starred review. This first novel is intelligent, funny, serious, and sweet; a winning combination of acerbic commentary, innocence, and sober vision... Hilarious, lyrical, and compassionate, this is, literarily and emotionally, deeply satisfying.
Starred review. Kliatt reviews a lot of YA novels, and when we pick up a new book to read and a narrative voice is immediately compelling, it’s a fantastic treat. . . . Daisy is an unforgettable heroine.
The Sunday Telegraph, UK
Readers won't just read this book, they will let it possess them.
The Guardian, UK
There are some pretty good children's novels out there, but it is only occasionally that one comes along with a voice so stridently pure and direct and funny that you simply can't question it¯you tumble willingly into its thrall.
[T]he best children's novel for adults since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
The Observer, UK
Rarely does a writer come up with a first novel so assured, so powerful and engaging that you can be pretty sure that you will want to read everything this author is capable of writing.
Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice. After five pages I knew that she could persuade me to believe almost anything.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by VampireSlayerLady Well... I have very mixed feelings about this book. I bought it two years ago in English (that´s not my first language),but I never read it. Then I totally forgot about it and a few weeks ago I found it in one corner of my bookshelf. I read the first page... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sanne Mwah I read the book How I live now for school. I'm from the Netherlands and it's really hard for me to understand the story line. Also there are some questions about in which war the story is about. I think it's in a unnamed war against an unnamed... Read More
Rated of 5
by gaelin incest cousin loving Bad writing style.
Rated of 5
by Natalia My impressions Really, I am not an admirer of contemporary authors. I prefer classic. Having taken this book at the library only for a pleasant look, I was greatly surprised to find out that it was so good! The sense of humour of Mrs.Rosoff is excellent, the plot... Read More
Rated of 5
by savannah Intensely Raw This raw book has intense qualities that are hard to handle emotionally, great for ones who wish for a nail biting, tear starter, and intense love, this book is a bittersweet book that make you want more.
Rated of 5
by Victoria Awesome This book is an amazing piece of work! I couldn't put the book down. Daisy is a smart and amazing girl. I loved it. I read it about 15 times.