How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff: Book Review

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff: Book Review

How I Live Now is a coming of age story set again a brutal invasion and war. Told in the voice of an angry, fifteen-year-old New Yorker, the story explores themes of isolation, family, love and survival. Daisy, the protagonist, is sent to live with relatives in England. Only a few short weeks later, England is invaded by an unnamed force and the ravages of war quickly begin to tear away at Daisy and her cousins. Forced to separate and leave their home, Daisy finds herself in charge of the much younger Piper.

Together, the two girls are witness to all the travesties of war. Helpless, the girls are starving, freezing and without much hope of surviving the English winter. They determine that their only hope is to return to the family home and hide until the war is over. They take to the countryside by night and sleep hidden during the day. Their long trek is nearly their undoing.

Meg Rosoff’s novel explores the impact of war on innocence. Rosoff bravely examines war through the eyes of children, a choice that amplifies both human cruelty and frailty. Though Daisy matures considerably during her ordeal, she maintains the gullibility and limited world view of a teenager.

How I Live Now is a story for any teenager who would appreciate a poetic and honest portrayal of war. Neither fantasy nor science fiction, this realistic tale would cause any critical thinker to consider the what-if of Daisy’s situation. Teens who are not entertained by vampires, realms or problem novels might find Rosoff’s novel a nice departure from typical young adult literature.

The novel is the winner of the Michael L. Printz award for the best books written for young adults.

Number of pages: 194

Published: 2006

Lexile: 1620

Interest Level: 12-16

 

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