"How I Live Now"
by Meg Rosoff
After being sent to live with her aunt and cousins in England, Daisy finds herself on a farm in a foreign country that is fighting a war. She feels an immediate connections with her cousins, especially Edmond who seems to have the ability to read her thoughts. Daisy's feelings for Edmond start to grow into something that she knows is inappropriate. One day her Aunt goes out of the country for work and ends up stranded when the war reaches a boiling point. Daisy and her cousins are left in solitude away from all the drama unfolding around the country. They start to act like their own little family and Daisy's relationship with Edmond becomes intimate. Right when Daisy thinks everything is perfect, their house is taken over by the army and the cousins are separated into two groups. Will their family ever reconnect? Will Daisy be able to find her way back to Edmond?
I was really surprised that this book won 3 awards, including the Printz Award. I thought the book was good, but I found it to be a little dry. The story sounded really interesting, but I just wasn't drawn into the story. I think the major problem for me was Rosoff's style of writing. Everything was told through Daisy's perspective, but there were no quotations for what individuals were actually saying. Everything was forced through the lens of Daisy, so I didn't really feel connected to any of the other characters. Everyone felt pretty flat to me because of this way of writing. I guess this would be a more reliable interpretation of how a teenager would tell a story and it would bring up questions as to the accuracy of Daisy's perceptions of other characters. Although, I'm not necessarily sure this was what Rosoff was trying to do. I guess I spent a lot of time focusing on Daisy and I wasn't sure how to feel about the rest of the characters. I also wasn't sure how I felt about Daisy and Edmond's relationship. Rosoff dealt with the topic in a professional manner but the relationship between the characters still irked me.
The only part of the book I really liked was the end. I thought it wrapped up in a way that was appropriate and made me feel refreshed after everything that was going on throughout the book. I feel like this is a book that would be good for discussing in a book club, but i am left unsatisfied. Even though the ending was good, I just wish I understood more clearly the choices the author made.
There are a lot of great reviews of this online; however, I really wish I had a teen perspective on the book. If anyone is interested in reading this book, please let me know. I'm trying to clear out my bookshelves, so I'm going to try to give away books that I really liked that aren't my absolute favorites. If anyone wants to read "How I Live Now", then please let me know. Either post here, or e-mail me. If a get multiple responses (more than 2 or 3) I may post a contest, but I don't think that is likely. If I don't throw a contest then it will just be first come first serve.