Name: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books, 2004
How I got it: My aunt sent it to me as a gift.
Why I read it: It got excellent reviews and it seemed really interesting!
Rating: 5 stars!
This being Valentine's week, I've decided to review one of my favourite love stories ever put on paper, 'How I Live Now' by Meg Rosoff! This is the wonderful, unusual tale of Daisy, a fifteen-year old girl from New York who is sent to live with her cousins in England for one summer.Daisy is a smart, cynical, street-wise and anorexic teenager who is not looking forward to moving from the centre of civilisation to a remote farm in England with her cousins. Home for her is New York City, a world entirely different from where she is going. She is pleasantly surprised, then, to find out her cousins Piper, Edmond, Issac and Osbert are wonderful and quirky, and that the summer will not be as bad as she'd anticipated. Her cousins are an odd bunch- there's telepathic Edmond, sweet and sensitive Piper, Edmond's twin Issac who communicates with animals but rarely with humans, and Osbert, smart-ass know it all. She becomes very close to all of them, and falls in love with Edmond. However, when war breaks out between England and the country occupying it their idyllic life on the farm is shattered and they are forced to separate, and the book becomes a story of survival at any cost.
This is a truly wonderful book. The love story between Daisy and her telepathic cousin Edmond is unexpected and incredibly moving. Both of them are very young, two teenagers in a great war that neither of them knows much about, or really care; the only thing that matters for them is each other. Their love affair is spontaneous, passionate and one of whose consequences will reverberate for them for the rest of their lives. Meg Rosoff creates some facinating and memorable characters. Daisy is very likeable- she's smart and sarcastic, with a great knack for understanding people. She's also quite vulnerable- she feels responsible for her mother's death, she despises her step-mother and she's never had a place where she could really call home until she goes to England. The other characters, especially Edmond and Piper, are very well developed and incredibly realistic. By the end of the book I felt as though I really knew these people!
One thing I loved about the book was how it went from an idyllic love story between two teenagers to a fast-paced fight for survival in a country torn apart by war. Daisy and her cousins don't know much about the war, or care- all they want is to be reunited with each other. However, they still experience all of the brutalities of it, and witness some truly horrendous events. The book is very well written- it's exciting, memorable and thoroughly original. It is written in an unusual style, marked by sentences that reach a paragraph long. This book is one of the most memorable, original books I've ever read with a poignant and unusual love story. It definitely gets a well-deserved 5 stars!