Summary and book reviews of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now

by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2005, 208 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

'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'.

"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.

1

My name is Elizabeth but no one’s ever called me that. My father took one look at me when I was born and must have thought I had the face of someone dignified and sad like an old-fashioned queen or a dead person, but what I turned out like is plain, not much there to notice. Even my life so far has been plain. More Daisy than Elizabeth from the word go.

But the summer I went to England to stay with my cousins everything changed. Part of that was because of the war, which supposedly changed lots of things, but I can’t remember much about life before the war anyway so it doesn’t count in my book, which this is.

Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.

And so here’s what happened.


2

I’m coming off this plane, and I’ll tell you why that is later, and landing at London airport and I’m looking around for a middle-aged kind of woman who I’ve seen in pictures who’s my Aunt Penn. The photographs are out of date, but she...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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.  

Media Reviews

People Magazine

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.

The Bulletin

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.

Kirkus Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Kliatt

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.

Time Out

[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.

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.

Author Blurb 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.

Reader Reviews

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.

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.

Del

How i live now..
This book is an amazing book...Meg Rosoff is an amazing author and reading this book made me feel totally engrossed into the story. The characters are amazing and I loved every minute of his book... I would like to say well done to Meg Rosoff and ...   Read More

Annabel

How I live now
One of the best books i've ever read in my life. Couldn't put it down all week. Made me cry in some parts coz it was so good. brilliant ending.

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