Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

One of the most raw and brutal young adult novels I have read to date, How I Live Now tells the story of Daisy, a fifteen-year-old American who, when the world is on the cusp of a war that no one quite understands, is packed off to live in England with her aunt and four cousins that she has never met by her spineless father and domineering step-mother. It soon becomes clear that her cousins have some very unusual talents. While Daisy is in England, war breaks out. Separated from the adults, Daisy soon falls in love with her cousin Edmund. Soon though, the pair are separated by circumstances beyond their control--and Daisy will learn a brutal lesson in what it means to love someone.

I am not going to lie. This book is not pleasant reading. Most of the adults in this book are either arseholes or kind but extremely negligent. Nor does it shy away in depicting the brutal reality of war, and the fact that when put to the test, some will not rise and become heroes, while others will carry internal scars that will last a lifetime. The themes of incest are quietly underplayed--after all the characters are young and living in dangerous times. All of that said, there is something compelling about this book, something that will keep readers turning pages and searching to see just how Daisy lives now.

Recommended, though not for the easily offended or faint of heart.


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