Published November 30th 2004 by Wendy Lamb Books
194 Pages |
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.
I had no knowledge of what this one was about before picking it up. My version has the movie cover, and since it has one of my favourite actresses in it I figured it must be good. And it was.
There is touchy subject matter in How I Live Now however. The story introduces us to Daisy, who is shipped off to live with her cousins after her father remarried. At this stage the world is in a state of pause, nobody knows whether another war will actually break out and even more worrying nobody knows what they would be fighting over if it does. As time passes and Daisy begins to feel at home in Britain, she develops a physical relationship with her cousin Edmond. Despite the knowingly wrongness of this it ends up being the worst of her problems as she becomes separated and thrust into the middle of the war. With desperation and a fight to survive she must find a way back to safety and her true love.
So obviously if you are still reading up to this part you would have noticed the whole ‘cousin’ dilemma. They are in fact first cousins, and to top it all off Daisy is fifteen and Edmond is fourteen when they start sleeping together. At least Daisy knew it was wrong but I still had to float over those parts, despite her being drawn to him and his psychic powers. It was weird, but really interesting all the same because being inside of Daisy’s head was rather fantastic. She had such a strong voice, and the book is written as more of a recount of what happened to her whilst in Britain. I must point out however that all the other cousins knew what was going on and didn’t seem at all tiffed by it. This is modern day Britain people, not the time where incest was ok.
When Piper and Daisy are taken away their struggle to get back was heartbreaking. Just what they went through made for a really devastatingly great read. You saw Daisy’s growth as she overcome her personal troubles and that of the war. Even at the very end with the garden was beautifully haunting and you could see the effects such a war has on people in love. That was another great thing about this book, that Rosoff describes the tactics of war in a way that makes it seem like you are actually there. Her writing was rather magnificent and I can’t even begin to describe how addicting it was to read.
At the end of the day this is a story of survival, but of course this type of book won’t appeal to all audiences given the nature of a certain relationship. But honestly don’t let that deter you, for this book goes beyond that focal point and really makes you think about the tragedies of war. Written through the eyes of a fifteen year old, and reading the reactions of different characters makes for a compelling novel. The fact that we still don’t know why the world was in a state of war just shows the power of blind faith during such a time.