Monday, June 29, 2009

BR: How I Live Now

by Meg Rosoff

I initially picked this book up for one reason: it won the 2005 Printz Award. My reading list for this summer does contain numerous Printz honor/winner books, such as John Green novels, Jellicoe Road, and Nation.

The novel is about a New York girl, Daisy, who is sent to on-the-brink-of-war England by her father to live with cousins. She grows to love her cousins, but the they are split up when bombs start dropping and the war erupts. Daisy and 9-year-old-cousin Piper are sent to live on a farm away from Isaac, Edmond, and Osbert (Daisy's other cousins, and Piper's brothers). Daisy and Piper must learn to live and adapt to their lives, but event after event allows the two girls to try and find a way home.
How I Live Now also deals with some issues that may not be intended for younger audiences, such as underage sex and a different spin on relationships.

This novel is very unique, and I can see why it won the prize; it is written exceptionally well. It may be a bit confusing at first, because this first-person POV is different, lacks puncuation, and the speech in the book is different. After getting used to it, I think this type of writing works well with a teen girl as a narrator, and gives a dark, sarcastic, and sometimes funny view on the war- without over-glorifying it or using way too much detail: just how it is viewed from a teen girl.

I didn't enjoy it at first, and took many breaks from reading it since I couldn't get 'into' it. I started reading it yesterday, and only made it halfway, struggling to keep reading at times. I'm sure that many people's opinion will differ from mine, because I think it was just me who found the beginning a bit lacking. I wouldn't blame it on the writing, since even though it could be a bit distracting, it wasn't overwhelmingly difficult to read. Eventually, towards the end, I started getting really into it, finishing the rest all in one sitting. The plot kept me wanting to know what happens, and I really liked the characters, Daisy and Piper especially. Daisy was a great dynamic character, who really grows throughout the novel. I definitely admire her strength, determination, and courage.

When I look back on the book though, I actually did like it, just didn't love it. It was great (for me) to kind of expand the type of books I read, this one with interesting writing rather than an interesting plot.

7.5/10- because I had trouble 'getting into the book', and it took a while for me to get hooked. Also, the plot, although intricately written, was a bit plain for me (yes, I do enjoy non-stop action). However, I liked the way Rosoff wrote the novel, I liked the characters, and I liked how the author dealt with different issues.

*Any suggestions on how I can improve my book reviews? Should I write more about the plot? Or about my opinions?

[Edit: 2011]

I recently reread this novel because I think I was just starting to come around to how distinct and different it was, and I just wanted to say that the second time around, I fell in LOVE with it. The writing that I couldn't get in to at the beginning, I adored the second time around. It turned into less about issues and more about character and character development.

New rating: 8.9/10

Just one of those things that change with each reading :) I would REALLY recommend it, it's unique, dark, and breathtakingly beautiful.

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