How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff
Summary: 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.This is maybe one of the oddest books I've ever read and I think I kind of loved it.
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.
I was totally hooked when reading it, and when I finished it, I just lay there (because it was about 6am) and tried to figure out if I loved it or not. The fact that I'm still thinking about the story (in a positive way) hours later made me reach the verdict that; yes, I think I loved the book.
It was really unique and I can't pinpoint exactly why that was, because I've read stories with similar subject matter before but something about this one was just...different. It was more character driven than plot driven, which is unusual in a book with a war/dystopian type edge to it and even more unusual considering how it was written.
The writing was really weird, I'm not sure if I loved it or if I hated it - maybe it was a mix of both. The way it was written, at least in part one (which was about 3/4 of the book) was very tell instead of show. It was like a journal and it didn't really have any dialogue, it was just "she said this and he said that" like someone retelling the story in their diary...which I guess was the point, but I'm not sure how I felt about that. It could be a little bit rambling at times, too, because of that.
On one hand, I'm not sure if the story would have worked or been so unique if it was written more traditionally, but on the negative side of things,we missed so much stuff that could've made the book even more amazing. Like development of relationships -- it was all told in hindsight like a journal would be and we didn't really get to see scenes that showed the connections forming between characters.
The relationship between Daisy and Edmund in particular would've been so much better if we got to really see their relationship unfolding on the pages instead of Daisy just being like, "we kissed, he said this, we did that and I love him and we can't get enough of each other" (okay, so not exactly like that, it was written way better but it's like being told a story by someone and then you don't quite appreciate it the same way they do and they say "you had to be there." at the end of it only the reader didn't get to *be there* they only got to see the relationship through Daisy's recollections).
Her relationship with her little cousin, Piper, was the only one that really got a chance to properly shine in the story because she was more...present, than Edmund or the others. I adored Piper and her relationship with Daisy, it was one of my favourite parts of the book.
So yeah, I did like the writing but at the same time, I didn't. Maybe the writing was what had me hooked, I don't know -- it was unique and very distinct and had a lot of personality poured into the words...it just took some getting used to and I can't help but wonder if maybe the book would've been better if the entire story, instead of just part two (final quarter of book) was told in more of a story format than a diary and then maybe made a little longer.
Another thing that bothered me and I'm still not sure if it was a bad thing or a good thing, was the implication that Edmund and Isaac had kind of...powers, that they were special in some way. It was subtle, more magical realism, but it was never really -- explained or properly acknowledged or talked about, it was more of a casual thing that was just accepted and so it didn't become a big deal to the reader either. But I do sort of wish it had been mentioned more or left out entirely.
I adored the characters so much, but because of the odd way it was written, we don't get to see enough of some of them and because of that...it's like, we like and care about the characters but aside from Daisy and Piper, it's hard to really get the connection between the characters.
This book is hard to review, because it is one of those strange ones that got under my skin but a lot of it was just so odd that I can't even figure out myself if it was in a good way or a bad. I just know that I really enjoyed reading it and the fact that I'm still thinking about the story...well, I love it for that.
p.s. sorry, just realised how much I rambled in the review. *facepalm*