Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Report: How I Live Now

How I Live Now

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will try to say as little about this book as possible, because I get speechless about things that affect me this much. I love it and I don't want to spoil it with my stupid words! I will say that it's breathtakingly beautiful; that I read it cover to cover; and that I sobbed during the last 10 pages. Maybe you don't like sobbing over a well told tale, but I do, so I consider this an achievement on the author's part.

I ordered this for my library by chance when I saw it on a Novelist read-a-like list for The Hunger Games. I read the description and reviews and thought, "we should own this!" It won the Printz award in 2006, which in the world of YA librarians is a big deal. P.S. apparently the movie adaptation is in post production. And it looks achingly lovely. Bonus, and fingers crossed.

The deal: Upper West Side teen Daisy is packed-off to relatives in the English countryside by her Dad's new-ish trophy wife. Through the cracks in her narrative armor, we learn that: her mother died in childbirth; she's no stranger to trouble; and she gains a sort of peace or power from not eating. She's NYC-Tough with an attitude to match, which makes her cousins' idyllic life-style completely foreign and overwhelming to her. It's as if she's walked into a fairy tale, and she gives herself over to it almost completely.

When alarming yet vague news of "the war" comes, Daisy and her cousins at first have the luxury of ignoring it. Through circumstance, they are left on their own with no adult supervision, and their fairy tale days reaches a dizzying height. But they can't stay that way.

If I found any flaw in How I Live Now, it was the style of Daisy's narration being a bit much, with her lack of quotations and trains of thought. But when I got near the end of the book I realized why, and I realized it was perfect. So, scratch that.

This is a slim little volume that packs a wallop of emotions and sensations. Rosoff gives us a terrifying present that could very easily be our own, and a narrator that could very easily be the teen you. Highly recommended, a personal classic, though not for the faint of heart. Loved. --Kelley, (Your) Teen Librarian

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