Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publish Date: November 30th, 2004
Rating: 4.5/5 – Definitely an unusual read but I’m so glad I decided to give this one a chance.
About the book: “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 fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.
A riveting and astonishing story. -Goodreads
Thoughts: How I Live Now tells the story of Daisy, an American teenager who is sent to live in England by her incredibly selfish father who is on the brink of building a new family. It’s more convenient for him not to have her there, so he sends her off to a country on the brink of war. Daisy moves in with her aunt (dead mother’s sister) and four cousins and for a while things are pretty idyllic (I didn’t really want that part of the story to end) and then while Daisy’s aunt is at a summit in another country, all hell breaks loose, leaving five teenagers completely on their own in a world that’s about to fall apart.
The two main complaints I’ve seen about this book are about the writing style of the first section and the romantic relationship that Daisy has with Edmund (reminder: her cousin). Daisy and Edmund’s relationship is never something that is portrayed as okay or acceptable. Daisy knows it’s wrong, but with everything else that’s going on, she just doesn’t care. She finds comfort where she can, and basically shuts the rest of the world, and their judgement, out. Their relationship was a side effect of everything else they were going through, including the lack of parental supervision or structure to their lives. It’s also not the primary focus of this story by any stretch, so please don’t let that stop you from picking up this book.
The writing style on the other hand… I loved! Daisy has a VERY teenaged voice and this story is written in the same way that someone might tell a story verbally. It’s hard to explain, and a little hard to adjust to at first but made for such an interesting read. There were no sections of dialogue, just Daisy relaying more or less what someone else said. Her voice also rings very true in that she doesn’t really focus on her own anorexia. It’s never really spelled out (and for a while my eternally optimistic mind wanted to write it off as her just being incredibly thin) because Daisy doesn’t really think that much about it. Seriously, this book is worth
There’s a small magical realism element as well—which again, I was half inclined to write off as the characters intuition and such. Most of Daisy’s cousins have inherent extra abilities. Isaac and Piper have fantastic gifts when it comes to animals, and will actually sit there and just have conversations with their dogs (Daisy doesn’t really go into the specifics of what that might look like), and Edmund is definitely kind of psychic, always knowing exactly what Daisy is thinking.reading for the voice/writing style alone, but of course there are other great qualities to this story as well.
Most of the story though focuses on survival. First on how the characters deal with their only parental figure being away, and then once the war escalates they all have to find new ways to function in their new and always changing situations with and without each other. I found the war elements fascinating as the army starts commandeering farms in order to produce food for the masses while also trying to stay hidden from enemy forces.
How I Live Now is a really quick read and they’ve just made a movie so I absolutely recommend you check this one out. If you’re even a moderately fast reader you can be finished in a day and this story is definitely worth your time.
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