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How I Live Now
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About the Author

Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, USA. She has worked in publishing, public relations and most recently advertising but thinks the best job in the world would be head gardener for Regents Park. Meg lives in Highbury, North London.

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Gr 8 Up-Impending war, parental rejection, and anorexia are Daisy's concerns as she steps off the plane in England where she's been sent to stay with her Aunt Pen and her four cousins. The 15-year-old has landed in a chaotic but supportive country household where she is immediately intrigued by her cousin, Edmund. In this novel (Wendy Lamb Books, 2004), Meg Rosoff explores what happens when war leaves these five youngsters to fend for themselves. There are the hardships of finding food and the loss of their mother, but there is also freedom and unexpected tenderness that evolves into an intense physical relationship between Daisy and Edmund. When the two are parted, Daisy takes charge of her youngest cousin, Piper, and the two young women set off to find Edmund and his twin Isaac. What they discover is a brutal massacre but not their kin. Finally returning to the family home, the two girls spend every waking minute trying to survive until Daisy's dad forcibly extricates her from England. It's many years before all of them are reunited. Kim Mai Guest reads with a light, slightly saucy tone which is just right for a New Yorker like Daisy. Though the novel has disturbing elements, Rosoff handles the harshness of war and the taboo of incest with honest introspection. This Printz award winner is a good choice for book discussions as it considers the disruption of war both physically and emotionally and should be on every high school and public library shelf.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England. Soon after Daisy settles into their farmhouse, her Aunt Penn becomes stranded in Oslo and terrorists invade and occupy England. Daisy's candid, intelligent narrative draws readers into her very private world, which appears almost utopian at first with no adult supervision (especially by contrast with her home life with her widowed father and his new wife). The heroine finds herself falling in love with cousin Edmond, and the author credibly creates a world in which social taboos are temporarily erased. When soldiers usurp the farm, they send the girls off separately from the boys, and Daisy becomes determined to keep herself and her youngest cousin, Piper, alive. Like the ripple effects of paranoia and panic in society, the changes within Daisy do not occur all at once, but they have dramatic effects. In the span of a few months, she goes from a self-centered, disgruntled teen to a courageous survivor motivated by love and compassion. How she comes to understand the effects the war has had on others provides the greatest evidence of her growth, as well as her motivation to get through to those who seem lost to war's consequences. Teens may feel that they have experienced a war themselves as they vicariously witness Daisy's worst nightmares. Like the heroine, readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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