How I Live Now By Meg Rosoff
New York Wendy Lamb 2004 194p.
TAG: Michael L. Printz Award 2007, Realistic Fiction
What a great first novel by Meg Rosoff, full of romance, adventure and war. This story is told in first person by Daisy, a fifteen year old girl living with dad and step-mother in New York City. Daisy is not getting along with stepmom or dad for that matter and has become anorexic. They all feel a break is in order so Daisy flies off to London to be with her Aunt Penn’s family. Daisy’s mom died in childbirth so this will be the first time for Daisy to make a connection with her mom’s family. Aunt Penn’s has to be away on business leaving Daisy with her three sons Osbert 16, Isaac and Edmond 14 and daughter Piper who is 9. Daisy is struggling with knowing her mom better through Aunt Penn, her eating disorder and falling for her first cousin Edmond. To compound her life World War breaks out and the kids are on their own. Life is good for a while until foods starts to be rationed, gas supply runs out and soldiers want to take over their home for headquarters. The kids split up; the boys stay behind while the girls are “rehoused” to a town about 20 miles away. Now the name of the game is survival. Finding food was an everyday chore from sunrise to sunset. The war wages on and Daisy decides the only way to survive is to take Piper and make their way back to their house on foot. Fighting for life now kicks in and her anorexia on the back burner as it takes a couple of weeks to find the house. Meg Rosoff gives great voice to Daisy as she struggles through many teenage issues. The love story, although incestuous is genuine and touching. The setting is present day and the author makes the war very believable. This war has parallels to World War II and the holocaust. Teens will love all the twists and turns in this great novel. This book is very similar to Tomorrow, When the War Begun by Australian author John Marsden–teens alone when war breaks out which is also has a present day setting. The cover of How I Live Now just has a picture of a farm house but the back cover has some interesting illustrations of Daisy and Edmond which may be more interesting to teens. Cover art is by Istvan Banyai.
Quality 5Q Popularity 4Q Grades: MJS Lexile: 1620