Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

25 Feb

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books – Random House Canada
Released: April 11, 2006
Genre: YA dystopia
Part of a book blogger’s Christmas swap.

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.

From Random House Canada website.

I love YA dystopia, be it post-apocalyptic, post-war, a zombie invasion or perceived utopia. I know there are all kinds of technical terms for the sub-genres of dystopia, but I really don’t give a fig about them.  I just know that even if there’s a hit of dystopia, I’m usually hooked.

I really, really enjoyed How I Live Now. For the most part. Without giving anything away, there was one aspect of the story that kinda made my skin crawl. I coulnd’t get past it and it stopped me from absolutely, positively falling head over heels in love with this book.


Okay, here’s the relationship that made me feel a bit icky: Daisy falls madly in love – and lust – with one of her cousins. First cousins. Her relationship with Edmond was just something that I couldn’t get past. I dunno, maybe the point of it was to make the reader uncomfortable. But it just wigged me out and I couldn’t get behind it AT ALL.


One of the things I did, however, love about How I Live Now is that there is absolutely no historical reference point. Sometimes it felt like it took part around the time of WWII, but the author would throw in a modern reference that had me wondering. I think that the story takes place “now” or “some time in the near future”, but it’s hard to tell. This only added to the feel of the book. I loved that even though this was obviously taking place in contemporary times, things were done just different enough then they are in our world that the reader is lead to believe that it might be a different time.

There are also touches of things magical in this book, and I think I would have enjoyed it more if they had either been left out or explored a bit deeper. Each of her cousins seems to have some sort of sixth sense, but I just felt that it didn’t gel really well with the rest of the book.

I really enjoyed the writing and Daisy’s voice. She was sarcastic most of the time, but also sensitive. She was thrust into this situation that only gets worse and instead of simply giving up, she fought back while taking care of her cousins the best that she can.


One Response to “Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff”

  1. Colleen February 25, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    This book totally wigged me out with the same issue and I couldn’t get over it to enjoy the book. I haven’t been able to read anything else by this author.

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