26 June 2014

How I Live Now

Author: Meg Rosoff
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Action/Adventure, Dystopia/Sci-Fi, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House Children's/Wendy Lamb Books
Release Date: 30 November 2004
Summary:“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.

Review: I actually heard about this book after seeing a trailer for the film.  The film didn't get a wide release, so I picked up the book from the library and read it.  This book was unlike anything I had ever read before, and I'm still on the fence of whether that is a good or bad thing. 
Okay, upfront things to know:  There is no actual dialogue in this book.  It is written in the same vein as Stolen by Lucy Christopher (with the exception that I really enjoyed that book).  Second: there is cousin lovin, and it's not innocent.
The weird thing; it didn't need to be there.  It would have been so easy to make Edmond a boy from the village or a next door neighbor instead of a cousin - as a matter of fact, doing this would have probably made this story more poignant for me, because although everything is glossed over (this is YA after all) it was still creeping me out throughout the book. 
That aside, I really enjoyed the overall story.  Placing this bohemian family under a microscope on the outbreak of war was fascinating to watch.  Getting to see Daisy grow and change and evolve within this family and throughout the war was also wonderful.  I loved Piper's character, she was probably my favorite part of the novel, who knew I could get so attached to a fictional nine year old.  I loved the world Rosoff created, that she wasn't afraid to show us the truly gritty side of things, because this novel is dark and twisted and scary and real.  If it hadn't been for the incest, I would definitely have given this a four or five, but as it stands I'm throwing it up as something between a three and a four.
The film version is currently available to watch on Netflix (as of 6/25/2014).  I have yet to watch it, but here is the trailer:

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