May 20, 2013

Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now

“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.

Paperback, 194 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Wendy Lamb Books

A Long Story Short:

If you're bored by the regular YA book, if you don't want to read another novel where you know the ending before you even started reading, How I Live Now is for you.
This book is different from anything I've ever read. In addition to that it is (pretty) fast-paced, fluently written, short, but to the point. 
If, however, you don't like too weird stories that slowly but steadily move away from reality, you might want to skip this one.

RATING: 2/3 Smarties

Review for You:

I've had this book for about a year before I finally started reading it. It took me so long, I guess, because I didn't know what to expect and I hate starting a road without knowing where it leads.
The weird, non-chalant synopsis is one of the things that make this book really, really special, though.
Frankly, I still don't know if I actually liked the book. It was weird from beginning to end and I hate weird books. It had a thousand different topics thrown in, Sci-Fi, eating disorders, anarchy and war being only the most obvious ones. 
I hate supernatural characters in seemingly - contemporary books and I hate contemporary novels that turn into Sci-Fi. Both of those things did happen in How  I Live Now and still - I read it in one sitting.
It's true, at only 200 pages, that wasn't as much effort as it might sound like. Also, Rosoff's writing style is very fluent, the chapters short. I realised after the first 100 pages that I was halfway through already and that now, actually, reading the other half would not take longer than two hours anymore.
Besides, Rosoff has that way of making you curious. I wanted to know what would happen to know what would happen to Daisy, Piper and the rest during their summer - and especially after the summer.
I feared for the characters and felt their emotions and at some point I lived more in the story than in my real world - which is always the sign for a really good book!
Usually, it would have bothered me a lot that Rosoff turned the normal contemporary world I got used to and that I expected into some weird Sci-fi/Paranormal place. The fact that she made that work in a way is really impressive.
Possibly, it's her ability to analyse people, humanity in general. What happened to Daisy's world might be unrealistic, but the way everyone reacted to it, the way society slowly turned into something different...that could happen to our world, as well.
Finally, I have to say it was hard writing a review for this book. It is unlike everything I've evere read and at a different time in my life, I'm sure I would have hated it. As of right now, I suggest it if you've been reading YA for a while and crave something truly unique. Because unique it is, this story.

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