Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1664
How Daisy Lives Now
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Carly Bennett



How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff



 



Teenage fiction was once a pioneering
market of excitement and originality but its sheen has dulled and the genre is
in desperate need of a lift, a change, something new. How I Live Now is a rare gem that shines in this increasingly
stagnant marketplace. It sparked a renaissance in crossover fiction and, since
its publication in 2004, has firmly established itself as a future classic,
winning both the Guardian Award and the Branford Boase Award for novels for
young people.



            How I Live Now is the story of Daisy, a
petulant fifteen year old who is sent from
New York to live
with her eccentric cousins deep in the British countryside. At first Daisy is
slightly bewildered by her extended familys almost feral existence Isaac
talks to animals and Piper is quite the dab hand at getting honey from bees,
but it is Edmond, with his eyes the colour of unsettled water, who changes
her perception of the family.



            From
the outset it is quite clear that Daisy and
Edmonds
relationship is teetering dangerously on the edge of incest and, before long,
the two of them fall into the sort love that is too complex for them to fully
understand.



            Things
are looking up for Daisy. She is happy and in love with a caring family around
her and we see our narrator changing from a bitter, troubled girl into a
grounded young woman. However, Aunt Penn is suddenly summoned to
Oslo and it is at
this point that the book does a complete U-turn and turns from a romantic
(albeit slightly perverse) love story into a tale of war, brutality and
survival.



            The
next day
London is bombed by an unnamed enemy and, soon after, soldiers arrive at
the farm and the children are ripped apart. Daisy and Piper are taken in one
direction, the boys in the other. The children dont know what is happening but
all they know is that, in order to survive, they have to find each other,
whatever it takes.



            It
is Daisy who makes How I Live Now so
special. She is so brilliantly formed, defiant from beginning to end but also
vulnerable, that it is impossible to be anything other than compelled by her
voice.



            By
all rights I should have hated this book. Daisy proves to be an unreliable
narrator, Rosoff uses glaring capital letters every time she wants to emphasise
a point (which, at times, feels like every other line) and the tense jumps
around relentlessly.



However, despite these
flaws I was utterly captivated, from Daisys spiky opening lines to the
heartbreaking closing chapter, where we discover the things that love can
overcome and the things that it cant.



 



(456 words)



 



Carly
Bennett





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