Parents' Guide to

How I Live Now

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

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

How I Live Now Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 13 parent 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

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (13 ):
Kids say (15 ):

This book was awarded the Printz honor and earned numerous starred reviews, and it's easy to see why it is so popular with critics and readers. It combines so many powerful elements: The book at times takes on elements of magical realism in Daisy's near psychic connection with Edmond, and the scenes of her idyllic life in the English countryside, even after the war begins, contrast sharply with the vivid realism she is forced to deal with as she faces the horrors of starvation, exhaustion, and murder.

This is a book that teens will quickly devour -- and then spend a long time thinking about. There's much to consider, from what they would do in Daisy's place to the portrayal of modern war to what they think will happen to the survivors in the post-war world. Some readers may find the jump to six years later a bit jarring -- and others will no doubt be troubled by the sexual relationship between Daisy and her cousin -- but most teens will find this a powerful, moving tale about kids caught in a war beyond their control -- and the ways it scars them, and bonds them forever.

Book Details

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