Wednesday, October 5, 2005

How I Live Now

Rosoff, Meg. 2004. HOW I LIVE NOW. New York: Random House. ISBN 0385746776 [Suggested Grade Levels 8 and up]

In Rosoff’s hauntingly apocalyptic tale, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to stay with her aunt and cousins on their farm in rural England to escape from her father and pregnant stepmother in New York. Though she and her cousins instantly bond upon her arrival, the family is quickly torn apart as war breaks out and they are scattered throughout the country.

HOW I LIVE NOW is both a powerfully written and compelling YA novel. In the beginning of the story, Daisy could serve as the poster child for angst-ridden teens. She is self-absorbed and self-destructive, an anorexic who finds great pleasure in watching herself shrink away because it offers her power in a world she can’t control. It isn’t until she forced to flee for her life with her younger cousin in tow that she begins her transformation as she becomes someone who loves greatly and generously. As she shares her story (offered in a painful, yet captivating first-person account), readers are drawn into her world of confusion, and because of the frankness in which Daisy shares these experiences, they are given an inside look into her private world. The candid and intelligent narrative highlights her growth, and in Rosoff’s skillful hands, readers are left feeling raw from Daisy’s experience, though emotionally satisfied as they too begin to consider the question of “how I live now.”

After reading HOW I LIVE NOW, teens could prepare a collage (using a variety of materials) depicting changes to the central characters before and after the war.

If you liked, HOW I LIVE NOW, try: Marsden, John. BURNING FOR REVENGE ISBN 0395960541
Marsden, John. A KILLING FROST ISBN 0395837359
Marsden, John. TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN ISBN 0395706734

By Rose Brock

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