How I Live Now

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
How I Live Now Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Powerful, violent tale about kids caught in a modern war.

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 21 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

Not a book for children

I don’t understand how a book clearly not for children was awarded so many prizes for work within this category. The themes in this book are adult however the author attempts to package it for youth by creating a protagonist so full of herself, unloved and ill that she throws herself into the arms of the first person that shows her any affection. An under aged, chain smoking, telepathic cousin. The narrative prattles on and on and on...

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+

Who Gives a Book Like This an Award? Ugh!

I think this book is entirely inappropriate for teens. There are no positive authority figures. (The father is described in derisive language and the aunt is distant and uninvolved in her many children's lives.) The anorexia is defended by the protagonist and it vanishes when she is forced to care for a young cousin in a war zone. The incest between a 14 and a 15 year old is portrayed as a positive relationship. The violence and gore is included with the intent of being "shocking" and cutting edge, but the overall descriptions of the war and the protagonist's response to it are completely unrealistic. The people who give these kind of books awards and push them towards librarians for teens do not have teens themselves, or if they do, they have lost all conscience and have no desire to maintain the power of childhood, but view it as a vacuum to fill with "REALITY", i.e. the worst this world contains, as soon as possible.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Book Details

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