Nicolas Ward's Reviews > How I Live Now

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
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Aug 12, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, post-apocalyptic, fiction

This is a relatively rare example where I decided to read a book based entirely on the trailer for its upcoming movie adaptation. It was a serendipitous opportunity because Rebekah happened to have a copy sitting out at her apartment, so I borrowed it and tore through it quickly on the bus into work. I haven't reviewed it until now on account of the baby.

This book, better than most YA fiction, captures well the way a teenager thinks. It's entirely a first-person narrative, but unlike, say, The Hunger Games, Daisy does not seem preternaturally mature in her thoughts or her handling of emotions. Her cousin Edmond reminded me a lot of an older Charles Wallace, circa A Swiftly Tilting Planet (one of my absolute favorite books) in the way he was intuitive and possibly even telepathic.

The book's great strength is that it maintains a lot of mystery. The enemy is never specified, which keeps things more interesting and suspenseful while also capturing the feeling of panic on the part of the kids. I appreciated that a lot. That's impressive restraint on the part of the author, for a first-time book. (I imagine that the film will, by nature of the third-person medium, specify more, while having less internal angst.)

The ending was sudden and unexpected, which does hurt the book a bit. It felt like maybe some additional plot was cut for length, but maybe I'm wrong? On the other hand it did allow for a time jump ahead to see the consequences of some of the events in the main storyline.

Still, a quick enjoyable YA read that is different from a lot of the other fare out there. I definitely recommend it, and will probably try to see the movie when it comes out.
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Reading Progress

August 12, 2013 – Shelved
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 25, 2013 – Started Reading
August 25, 2013 –
page 65
33.51% "Interesting stream of consciousness style of writing. I like the use of capitalization for emphasis and the lack of quotations - it puts you in her head better than other first-person narratives, like say Katniss. I wonder if anyone other than Carl Sandburg is allowed to talk about fog and cats' feet in a simile? Fast read so far."
August 26, 2013 –
page 126
64.95% "I am appreciating the ambiguity of the enemy, although certain other developments are being telegraphed kind of obviously."
August 27, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 5, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult
November 5, 2013 – Shelved as: post-apocalyptic
November 5, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction

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