Dec 2, 2008

How I Live Now

Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now, 2006, Wendy Lamb Books.

What is up with all these apocalyptic young adult novels? First there was Life As We Knew It, then there was Before the War Began and How I Live Now. Now, three books does not a trend make but I wonder how many other end of the world ya novels are out there lurking about? Nevertheless, this apocalyptic novel (or really just some kind of limited to England World War III) felt weird to me, mostly because I had just finished Twilight at the time and everytime they talked about her being in love with her cousin Edmond my brain translated Edmond as Edward and went, oooh vampires!

Basically, Daisy's father remarries and sends her to live with her Aunt and cousins in England who live in some sort of ramshackle manor house--think Cold Comfort Farm meets the Burrow--on the eve of a massive war that is about to break out across the country. This conveniently takes place after her Aunt leaves the kids behind to go take part in peace talks in Oslo the result of which make Neville Chamberlain look like a rocking Parliamentary figure. So the kids are left to fend for themselves while a nameless and faceless enemy moves from London to the English countryside. Meanwhile everything in the way of civilization is going kaput! and everyone is channeling World War II sacrifice and victory gardens, and then the cousins get separated and somehow the fact that Daisy is an American citizen means absolutely nothing until the very end.

The fact that this book is a Michael L. Printz award-winner doesn't make sense to me, unless its because it deals with controversial issues like the incestuous relationship between Daisy and Edmond or the fact that Daisy has an eating disorder that is only aggravated by the lack of food available. Even then I think that there are better books out there that deal with societal upheaval or apocalyptic type worlds and the fact that the cover is reminescent of Life As We Knew It isn't doing the book any favors since it makes readers think it will be like that work when in reality, the two have very little in common.

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