How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff

I got this book out of the library – from the young adult section, but I think it transcends that definition. The blurb …

“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.

Daisy is sent to England to be out of the way of her step mother Davina. It is a tense time, her Aunt Penn, is busy working on ways to avoid war – she leaves England  only a day or two after Daisy arrives to attend a conference in Oslo. War  is imminent. Daisy and Edmund (her cousin) fall in love – bombs go off and England is occupied. Most of the English military are fighting in conflicts overseas, so it is easy to occupy the country. At first the war has no impact on the children – they continue having a lovely summer holiday, but eventually the house is  requisitioned and the girls (Daisy and Piper) are sent to one farm and the boys (Edmund and Isaac) to another. Edmund and Daisy have a special relationship – she can hear him in her thoughts and he seems to be able to hear her thoughts, answering questions before she has asked them etc.

Daisy’s plan is to find the boys. They take on a few farming jobs and she stores away information about the biys location – east of here. Then all hell breaks lose and the girls are on their own in the English countryside. They continue to try to find the boys – horrific things happen, but not to them and evenutally they end up back at their house and Daisy is forcebly returned to the US. She eventually returns to England and we hear the rest of the story.

Ms Rosoff’s version of a 21st century war is scary in it’s believability – no one even knows why there is a war, there are suicide bombers, poison in the water, no electricity and snipers. And the world really falls apart when there is no electricity – how do you milk the cows? keep the milk cold? etc.

I recommend this book – it starts of as a story of teenage angst and romance (is she anorexic), but ends up being an interesting story about survival and the break down of civilization.

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