Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now. Wendy Lamb Books. 2004. ISBN 0553376055
Reader’s Annotation: Fifteen year old Daisy is sent by her father from New York to her aunt in England. She finds herself caught up in a war and fighting for the survival of herself and her cousins.
Plot Summary: When Daisy’s father is expecting a new child with her evil step mother Daisy finds herself being shipped off to England to visit some unknown aunt and cousins. Her aunt has to go away for business soon after her arrival and then the bombs go off and England finds itself occupied by a foreign enemy. Daisy and her cousins must fight for survival as food becomes scarce, you don’t know who you can trust and they soon find themselves separated from each other.
I’ve been hearing so much about this book as a wonderful dystopian book but I don’t feel like it actually qualifies as a dystopian. It doesn’t feel set in the far future and there is no elaborate government that people are rebelling against. Instead it’s about a group of teens striving to survive the upheaval in their lives in the absence of adult guidance.
Once you move past the odd fact that Daisy’s aunt would run off and leave a house full of teenagers on their own this story is utterly fascinating. Rosoff does an amazing job painting a realistic picture of what an occupation would be like for a group of teens who must find a way survive a war without any parent to tell them what to do. Daisy was such a strong character as she has to fight not just for her own survival but also that of her 9 year old cousin.
There are some odd things thrown in like the apparently telepathic abilities of the cousins and Daisy’s connection with her cousin Edmund who she has fallen in love with. Also I mentioned above about how their aunt apparently sees no problem with leaving the country while her four children, the oldest being just 16, are left on their own.
Still my favorite part of the book was the “where are they now” aspect of the story. So often in a story you wonder what happens to the characters after they are rescued and in this book we actually find out.
About the author
Meg Rosoff was born in the United States but resides in London. How I Live Now won the Guardian Award, Michael L. Printz Award and the Branford Boase Award. She began writing after her youngest sister died of breast cancer and How I Live Now was published the same year Rosoff herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her latest book, There Is No Dog, was published earlier this year and How I Live Now is currently being filmed and is due to be released in the UK in 2013.
Book talking idea
How ready are your survival skills for a disaster and had to survive on your own?
Ages 14 and up.
I would have the library’s collection management policy on hand and explain that the library is not here to filter what patrons read. If questioned about this policy I would direct the patron to the ALA Bill of Rights. I would also have links of hand of the reviews by well known outlets such as ALA and refer to awards won.
Why did I include this book?
Like I mentioned above it was greatly touted as a great dystopian book. While I don’t feel it falls into the dystopian category it still is fascinating to watch how these young teens deal with this catastrophe.