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How I Live Now

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  44,031 ratings  ·  4,944 reviews
"Every war has turning points and every person too."

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she's never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fai
Paperback, 194 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published August 24th 2004)
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Toby Casey it's meant to be a direct first person narrative "recitation" of the events...its kinda the books "thing"…moreit's meant to be a direct first person narrative "recitation" of the events...its kinda the books "thing"(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  44,031 ratings  ·  4,944 reviews

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Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, teen-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Kennedy
In all fairness, I had plenty of warning. I'd read Tatiana's review so I should have been well prepared.

Conventional wisdom states that when cousins get freaky, you're likely to end up with something like this:

No! No! Noooooooooooooooooo!

But nobody told Daisy and Edmond that. Nothing says true love like boinking your underage, nicotine addicted, telepathic first cousin while a war is going on.

This book was infinitely better when Daisy and Edmond weren't doing things against all the laws of God a
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have so fond memories of this book
Julio Genao
Oct 11, 2015 marked it as no
takes some balls for a white woman to claim that she's the only one who can write diversity properly.


she wears her privilege like a pimp wears his furs.

but the best part tho is the bit where she says that when anyone else writes diverse characters, it's an "agenda," which has no place in young adult literature, according to her.


no, for real.

that's literally what she said.


fuck your needs, people—this white lady's ragey pootling is all the diversity you or your kids will ever require.


s'cool th
L A i N E Y
Well, it's official - I am a total sucker for a stream-of-consciousness style narration.

The writing was very wistful and if it was any more flowing, I would certainly have slipped and face-planted half way through this!

You know how from time to time a book comes along that you're positive you won't forget about it anytime soon but can't really explain exactly WHY? That's how I feel about How I Live Now and these precious kids.

Charming surrounding, extraordinarily charming characters (ohmigod Pip
This summer I started doing more fitnessy activities not in an attempt to lose weight or clear my prematurely blocked arteries but in response to the plethora of Young Adult Dystopian Novels that led me to question whether I could a) win the Hunger Games b) jump from a moving train with my Dauntless buddies c) take out an alien with a swift kick to the face and then evade their hot spaceship pursuit. The answers to these questions are a) no b) no c) no.

Young Adult Dystopian Novels forced me to
Maggie Stiefvater
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I didn't like this weird little book until about halfway through. The narrator sounded too much like a teen (I know, I know) and I didn't know what was going on . . . but then I somehow got lost in the voice. Suddenly I was seeing things through the narrator's eyes and no one else's. This slim volume is like a textbook on how to write limited first person. Absolutely excellent.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. C
While the world wavers on the brink of war, struck by terrorist attacks and embargoes, Daisy's big concern is whether her stepmother is poisoning her food and how much she hates the unborn baby. Shipped off by her father to stay with cousins she's never met in England, she's not so far into herself that she doesn't notice something a bit odd about them.

Osbert, the eldest, seems fairly normal, being responsible for his siblings while their mother, Daisy's Aunt Penn, is away but really wanting to
Steph Sinclair
Oct 11, 2015 marked it as due-to-author
I encourage you all to read this beautiful piece by Kaye M.: https://medium.com/@gildedspine/this-...

For more info: http://bibliodaze.com/2015/10/the-unb...
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
The world has gone mad... What is there to add more?
While the book was a bit overly simplistic, there was something endearing about it.
The 4 stars is for the unorthodox punctuation.

Every war has turning points and every person too. (c)
If you haven't been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all. (c)
I noticed that once you realize someone's watching you it's pretty hard not to find
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i may just be giving this five stars out of surprise... i was dreading reading all these teen books - not all of them look bad or anything, but there are just so many and i am so far away from my teenage years... but this one is a hoot! (if a book about war and death and eating disorders and all horrible things can be said to be a hoot. for my purposes i say yes) i liked the character's voice; it was just the right combination of faux-sophistication and vulnerability. and all the survival stuff ...more
May 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
how i live now has been called a modern-day Jane Eyre – which I can dig, had Bronte’s novel been set during a terrorist occupation and featured incestuous teenage romance. (St John Rivers doesn't count.) Fleeing a disinterested father, a wicked stepmother, and an eating disorder, 15-year-old Daisy moves to England to live with her cousins on a farm. Their idyllic adventures are interrupted by a war with an unnamed, unseen enemy, and the children are forced to go on the run as food, water, and ev ...more
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: printz, 2010, ya
What a weird little book! Granted, I am into weird, but "How I Live Now" just wasn't my kind of weird I guess.

There were many things I liked about the story - the fact that it didn't fit in any genre (it started as a story of an anorexic girl, then morphed into some kind of dystopia and then became a survival story), I liked Daisy's voice - snarky and witty with a healthy dose of unreasonableness and selfishness, the portrayal of war was gritty, and Daisy's personal struggle with weight was fair
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars I'd heard so many raves about this book that I was expecting to be blown away. The idea of a futuristic setting for a historical war type drama sounded intriguing to me, and I wasn't turned off by the controversial topics covered in it, including the kissing cousins. So it's very strange to read the entire novel without feeling a single genuine emotion other than annoyance at both the characters and the plot.

The war setting and story was perfectly serviceable, though not one that was p
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Actual rating: 3.5
"I guess there was a war going on somewhere in the world that night but it wasn’t one that could touch us."
Recommended with some reservations.

I read this book on accident. By "accident," I don't mean I mistakenly read a book instead when I thought I had been playing Plants vs. Zombies 2 I'm not that stupid, I meant that I picked up this book thinking the story would be something else. During World War II in England, there was an operation to evacuate children from the large
Christina White
Sep 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Horrible. This book contained inappropriate content for the recommended 13 year old and up readers. An anorexic 15 year old has sex with her "cool", cigarette smoking cousin. This book is everything you wouldn't want your 13 year old reading about. On top of the disgusting content I found there to be really no plot and no real clear resolution or ending. The characters were strangers to me the entire time while reading. I found the whole story rather boring and pointless.

Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The good things:
- The stream of consciousness type thing that was going on here was so interesting. It wasn't nonsensical in anyway, but it really felt like this was a girl telling a story at us, but for her own benefit.
- The quotation marks: there was none, and they added to this whole sense of "this is her story not ours." Except without those quotation marks.
- The survivalness: It got real out there, peeps. Painful and dirty.
- The voice: it was unwavering and resolu
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book took a while to get into, but once you get used to the writing style it's really captivating and wonderful. ...more
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Now let's try to understand that falling into sexual and emotional thrall with an underage blood relative hadn't exactly been on my list of Things to Do while visiting England, but I was coming around to the belief that whether you liked it or not, Things Happen and once they start happening you pretty much have to hold on for dear life and see where they drop you when they stop"

This is the sentence that made me want to read How I Live Now

I want to explain my rating a little bit and that sp
Ellen Gail
I have no earthly idea what is wrong with me. I couldn't finish this tiny ass < 200 page book. Look at how tiny it is. Here's the paperback compared to a standard cat.

I should have finished this in an hour, maybe two. Instead I have spent a solid week trying to read this and failing.

(I then tried again over a year later, and was just as unimpressed.)

I ended up getting through just over half. It's likely that I'll give How I Live Now another try sometime in the future. It's not aggressively bad o
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of my favorites. I love Rosoff's simple writing, which has a massive effect on the book.
Another reviewer wrote how the story is not - which would be the obvious assumption - about the love between Daisy and Edmond. It's about survival and how people come together in unexpected ways caused by the circumstances. I agree.

I think I gasped out loud when I realized I was on the second last page of the book. "How I Live Now" is beautiful in its simplicity and it's one that sticks with
May 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
At first I was hesitant to put this book in my CLW line up because it is not, actually, a book I love. However, after giving the matter some thought I've decided that even though I don't adore it, this novel does fit my basic "chick lit" guideline (strong female character in a book written by a female author) so it gets to stay.

"How I Live Now" is Meg Rosoff's first novel. It is a Printz Award winner (an award for excellence in young adult literature), the Branford Boase Award for a first novel,
Lisa Vegan
This book had been languishing on my to read list for a long time. By the time I got to it I got the movie tie in edition. The average rating for this book is low and my Goodreads friends are all over the place with this one. I was hesitant to read it because I want all my books to be 5 or 4 star worthy. The description has so much that appealed to me though and it was available for borrowing and had been sitting in my apartment for a while and was short and looked as though it would be a fast r ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
For me this seems a swirling together of four different books. Firstly a book of enormous lyricism and poetry – about people, about landscapes, about relationships and feelings. Secondly a book about a group of children having an adventure, with a journey being an important part of that adventure – it could have been penned by Enid Blyton in this respect. It evoked her world of childhood loyalty and that incredibly warm spirit of companionship. Thirdly it was a book about war, death, fear, loss ...more
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
YA. This is almost one of those staples of children's literature where the unwanted child gets sent off to live with strange relatives in the English countryside, then the cousins all have precious adventures together and learn a little something about family. It's almost like that, except a war breaks out and their precious adventures turn into gritty survivalism instead. Even in the middle of rations and artillery, our narrator has a kind of implicit eating disorder, and I still can't tell if ...more
Sep 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, war, dystopian
I started reading this book at the store, got to chapter 26, and realized it was the end of my lunch break. Today I got it from the library, finished it, and immediately started again.

Possibly this is all because of my general obsession with social history and behavior around/during particular contemporary wars, but still I think it's good enough to induce compulsion. I find the arc of the story quick, violent (literally/metaphorically), and extremely believable. The character development and in
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, young-adult
The writing is superb, I immersed myself in the streaming consciousness of Daisy’s narration and breathed after 10 hours or so.

When Daisy described nature I could feel the touch and the smell of it, when Daisy described her auntie’s house I was right there, the food made me hungry, I rejoiced for her love and suffered for her loss.

Daisy is a sharp sarcastic new yorker whose only weapon against oblivion is food-deprivation, when she visits her cousins in England she senses that everything is diff
I'm not entirely sure how I felt about this. Let me begin by saying that I watched the movie first, several years ago, and somewhat enjoyed it but definitely wouldn't call it a favorite. The book is somewhat in a similar position, but I have to admit that for the most part, I enjoyed the movie more.

"There were thousands of stories just like this one, and mostly they didn't end happily."

The Writing and Worldbuilding

I was not a huge fan of the weird to quote or not to quote situation with the
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I really love this book, but I wouldn't recommend most people read the print book. This is a sad and brilliant and beautiful book but it's so much easier if you listen to the audiobook instead, because the author has a tendency to Capitalize Words Randomly and not use "quotation marks" when people are speaking so it's kind of hard to tell and then the sentences are really quite long. I liked the style when rereading but many, many people did not. So definitely choose the audiobook, since these, ...more
Saw the movie, came back home, went to Amazon, bought this book.

I must say I read the book because I loved the movie. Not the other way around. A very high bar was doomed to be overcame. They are nothing alike, the movie is more thrilling, the book is more touching, but I recommend you to watch it, because it’s a great movie about youth and love and family and war and survival. The book uses a lots of “ands” to compensate for the lack of quoting and the sentences are quite long, resulting in an
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Meg Rosoff was born in Boston and had three or four careers in publishing and advertising before she moved to London in 1989, where she lives now with her husband and daughter. Formerly a Young Adult author, Meg has earned numerous prizes including the highest American and British honors for YA fiction: the Michael L. Printz Award and the Carnegie Medal.

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Horror fiction, as a genre, can be fascinating to track over time. The scary stories that we tell ourselves often reflect the anxieties we’re...
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“I don't get nearly enough credit in life for the things I manage not to say.” 376 likes
“I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments, I was dying of loss.
The only help for my condition, then as now, is that I refused to let go of what I loved. I wrote everything down, at first in choppy fragments; a sentence here, a few words there, it was the most I could handle at the time. Later I wrote more, my grief muffled but not eased by the passage of time.
When I go back over my writing now I can barely read it. The happiness is the worst. Some days I can't bring myself to remember. But I will not relinquish a single detail of the past. What remains of my life depends on what happened six years ago.
In my brain, in my limbs, in my dreams, it is still happening.”
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