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How I Live Now Paperback – 6 Sep 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141035005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141035000
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,221,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

"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." - "People" Magazine
"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." - "Publishers Weekly," Starred
"That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice. After five pages, I knew she could persuade me to believe anything." --Mark Haddon, author of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
"
"Readers will remain absorbed to the very end by this unforgettable and original story."--"The Bulletin, "Starred
"A winning combination of acerbic commentary, innocence, and sober vision. . . . Hilarious, lyrical, and compassionate."--"The Horn Book, "Starred
"A fantastic treat . . . Daisy is an unforgettable heroine."--"Kliatt, "Starred
"Powerful and engaging . . . a likely future classic."--"The Observer "(U.K.)
"A crunchily perfect knock-out of a debut novel."--"The Guardian "(U.K.)

"From the Hardcover edition."

" 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." - "People" Magazine
" 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." - "Publishers Weekly," Starred
" That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice. After five pages, I knew she could persuade me to believe anything." -- Mark Haddon, author of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
"
" Readers will remain absorbed to the very end by this unforgettable and original story." -- "The Bulletin, "Starred
" A winning combination of acerbic commentary, innocence, and sober vision. . . . Hilarious, lyrical, and compassionate." -- "The Horn Book, "Starred
" A fantastic treat . . . Daisy is an unforgettable heroine." -- "Kliatt, "Starred
" Powerful and engaging . . . a likely future classic." -- "The Observer "(U.K.)
" A crunchily perfect knock-out of a debut novel." -- "The Guardian "(U.K.)

"From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By booksy TOP 500 REVIEWER 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
I was a little reluctant to start reading How I Live Now as I was convinced that at 18 years old, I had already passed the prime age for reading a novel such as this. I had listened to friends ranting and raving about this novel since I was around the age of eleven so I expected to find a really good novel, but one that perhaps I wouldn't be able to entirely relate to as I was too old. Fortunately, I was completely wrong and I greatly enjoyed the book.

How I Live Now is written from the first person perspective of Daisy, an American teenager forced to move to England by her new stepmother as there's a new baby on the way and the move is deemed what's 'best' for her. Thrust into an unknown world where she is surrounded by animals, nature and family as opposed to the cold city blocks of Manhattan, Daisy begins her new life in England. Whilst things seem to be going great for Daisy at first, war is brewing across the nation and her life gets turned upside down once again by its devastating effects.

Although this book is classified under 'teenage' fiction, I would highly recommend this to people of all ages. It is a touching story and the feistiness of Daisy, our protagonist, makes it easy to forget that she is only fifteen years old when these events take place. Daisy writes in a stream of consciousness style and there isn't a single line of reported speech in the entire book which takes a bit of getting used to. It's a little hard at first to figure out who's saying what and some sentences are so long that I feel like I'm running out of breath just reading them, but this is all part of the style. The writing is so naturalistic that I really feel like I'm in Daisy's head and her narrative is definitely what I would say the shining feature of this book is.
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