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

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Hardcover, Aug 2004

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 (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,779,646 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.


A powerful and moving "kidult" novel. -- Heat magazine, July 2005

An absorbing read: tender and brusque. -- Guardian, July 23, 2005

As compelling as any childhood tale could be... great suspense writing. -- Telegraph, July 16, 2005

Both children and adults will enjoy Daisy's smart, ironic style. -- The Independent, July 8, 2005

Readers won't just read this book, they will let it possess them -- The Sunday Telegraph

The most talked about book of the year... this is a book for young adults and adult youngsters alike. -- Tatler

a magical and utterly faultless voice -- Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

a voice so stridently pure and direct and funny that you simply can't question it -- The Guardian

the best children's novel for adults since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time -- Time Out --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barmy_Bex on 6 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
Planning a trip to London Film and Comic Con became more exciting when I heard that Malorie Blackman would be hosting a discussion panel with some YA authors. Meg Rosoff was one of the ones on the list so I knew I had to try one of her books.
I heard a lot about this book and the fact it was being released as a film so I requested it. My colleagues at work told me I would love it but I didn't really know much about it.
From the synopsis I expected an average YA book, bit of a love story with difficulties, but I was really surprised by what I got.
This book is actually centered around another war, what would happen if World War 3 broke out? This storyline hit me unexpectedly but totally worked.
The story is told by Daisy who is 15, she explains what is happening in her life and brings a raw realism to the situations around her.
This book has a very unique voice and the narrative is in a very different style to anything I have read before. It's written very much like you would think, a rush of thoughts and situations, fairly fast and occasionally jumbled. I worried it would annoy me when I started but I soon fell in love with it and was racing through the book.
There are no speech marks in this book, or very few at least, again that puzzled me at first but soon you just go with the flow and it kind of adds to Daisy's charm. Everything just works, it all falls into place and Daisy's 'voice' really comes through.
I found it very hard to put this book down and was blown away by everything, it's actually quite a dark and gritty book, with some scenes that may shock a bit what with dead bodies and violence but a really gripping read. Maybe not suitable for younger than 12 due to some of the scenes, but I would recommend it to Teen readers.
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