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How I Live Now (Michael L. Printz Award Book (Awards)) Hardcover – Aug 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385746776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385746779
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,564,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Possibly one of the most talked about books of the year, Meg Rosoff’s novel for young adults is the winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2004. Heralded by some as the next best adult crossover novel since Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, who himself has given the book a thunderously good quote, this author’s debut is undoubtedly stylish, readable and fascinating.

Rosoff’s story begins in modern day London, slightly in the future, and as its heroine has a 15-year-old Manhattanite called Daisy. She’s picked up at the airport by Edmond, her English cousin, a boy in whose life she is destined to become intricately entwined. Daisy is staying for the summer in her Aunt Penn’s country farmhouse with Edmond and her other cousins. They spend some idyllic weeks together--often alone with Aunt Penn away travelling in Norway. Daisy’s cousins seem to have an almost telepathic bond, and Daisy is mesmerised by Edmond and soon falls in love with him.

But their world changes forever when an unnamed aggressor invades England and begins a years-long occupation. Daisy is parted from Edmond when soldiers take over their home, and Daisy and Piper, her younger cousin, must travel to another place to work. Their experiences of occupation are never kind and always hard. Daisy’s pain, living without Edmond, is tangible.

Rosoff’s writing style is both brilliant and frustrating. Her descriptions and ability to portray the emotions of her characters are wonderful. Her long sentences and total lack of speech marks for dialogue is, however, exhausting. Her narrative is deeply engaging and yet a bit unbelievable. The end of the book is dramatic, but too sudden. The book has a raw, unfinished feel about it, yet that somehow adds to the experience of reading it. It’s flawed but unmissable. (Age 14 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Daring, wise, and sensitive (People magazine)

Powerful and engaging ...a likely future classic (The Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By booksy on 18 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll start out by saying that I'm not normally a fan of authors messing with punctuation - dropping speech marks etc, so I was a bit wary about reading this and I was prepared to be highly irritated by it. However, this never happened. As soon as I started reading, I was drawn into Daisy's story and I could instantly see why the speech marks were dropped. In fact, it wouldn't have been so immediate and compelling had they been there. The only way I can describe it, is that reading How I Live Now was like being sat next to the narrator as they told you their story. The slightly breathless, tumbling narration was not the mark of a poor writer - far from it.

Meg Rosoff is clearly a hugely accomplished writer - her descriptions are vivid, engaging and compelling. The way the story built up - beginning with a magical English summer that took me back to my own childhood - was sublime. I don't think it matters here that we're not told much about Daisy's 'wicked stepmother', nor about the nuances of her eating disorder. It is enough that we engage with Daisy fully and wholeheartedly so that we are prepared to listen to what she wants to tell us (just as we would if we were listening to a friend). Daisy's had a past but it isn't that important - at least not once she becomes immersed in the world of her English cousins, embarks on her love affair with Edmond and is then, finally, plunged into the fallout from the war. No, the war isn't described in any detail. Again, this didn't matter - we knew as much as Daisy knew. We live through Daisy - she is our first and only source of information and, for that reason, I didn't find myself dissatisfied that I never knew exactly what the war was about.

Personally, I found this novel utterly beautiful and heart wrenching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samantha (The Secret Life of a Bookworm) on 9 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
To be honest, I actually only picked this up because I wanted to see the movie. I always try to read the book before I watch the movie, so that's what I did. I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book that much and I didn't. It wasn't a terrible book, I just didn't connect with the characters or the story.

Daisy has been sent to England to live with her Aunt and her cousins, but there is a war brewing. A few days after Daisy's aunt goes away on business, the first bombs hit London. Daisy and her cousins are all separated and they vow to find each other again.

The main thing that put me off reading this book was the cousin relationship. Daisy hits it off with her cousin Edmond, and it just made my skin crawl. I know you're allowed to marry your cousins, but that doesn't make it any less creepy. Their relationship definitely wasn't one that I enjoyed reading about.

For some reason, I just didn't connect with any of the characters in this book. It was like I was just watching all of these events unfold, but they had no emotional impact on me. I did like Daisy's character though. She was extremely determined to get back to her cousins (well, mainly Edmond) no matter the cost. She pushed through and suffered a lot just so that she could find them again, which I really admired that about her. But Daisy has her own personal issues going on as well and I did like seeing her overcome them.

I can't say I hated this book, but I didn't particularly enjoy it either. It didn't bore me, but there just wasn't anything special about it.

The ending was strange and weird, and I'm still slightly confused about what happened to Edmond. But I'm not too bothered about finding out.

Overall, this book was... OK. That's really the only way I can describe it. It wasn't good, but it wasn't terrible. It was just OK. I'm still going to watch the movie though, maybe it'll be better than the book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 7 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Meg Rosoff's novel for young adults won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2004. The novel is very much a crossover novel - for young adults and adults alike.

How I live now is the story of Daisy, a 15-year-old Manhattanite. She's a funny character and this comes across as we pick up her thoughts on her new stepmother and being flown out to England by her father because a new baby is on the way. She's by no means perfect...and that's what makes her so real. She feels insecure about the changes in her family back in the States, she barely eats and is given to being overly dramatic.

England turns out to be nothing like she expected, thanks to the eccentric lifestyle of her Aunt Penn, and her four cousins. From the moment they meet Daisy and her cousin Edmond forge a bond...one which becomes extremely complicated without any adult supervision. For a while the children live an idyllic life - weeks of carefree play, weeks of Daisy and Edmond becoming closer than first cousins should...especially first cousins who are both under the age of 16.

War breaks out and changes the world forever. Daisy is parted from Edmond as soldiers take over their home and the girls and boys are separated. Daisy ends up with her youngest cousin Piper. The journey we're taken on is that of the girls witnessing war atrocities, starving and struggling to hang onto hope. Not until the end do we get a glimpse of what Edmond's war experience was.
My only criticism was that the dramatic conclusion seemed a little too sudden, but given that I found the plot excellent and the writing beautiful I'd rate it 4.9999/5.0.
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