All member reviews for How I Live Now

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Common Sense Media says

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

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Users say

(out of 31 reviews)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Review this title!
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old Written bystarbox June 29, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

A worthwhile but haunting high school book with difficult themes.

First of all, this book does contain non-explicit descriptions of a sexual relationship between two young (14 and 15) first cousins. Although this is described as incestuous in the main review, it is, in fact, legal in many states (including Georgia) and marriage between first cousins is common throughout history. The sexual affair is not dealt with in a tawdry way, and I did not feel that it was graphic or glamorized. The ramifications of the affair are dealt with, and the two characters are irrevocably bonded - with a fidelity that transcends war, distance, time, and trauma. The novel does contain some graphic descriptions a fictional future war that are all the more horrifying because the reader feels that the events in the novel could potentially happen. The fact that the violence is realistic and plausible could give more sensitive readers feelings of fear or anxiety and parents/educators should be sensitive to the potential. The book handles many difficult issues in a way that I felt gave a very positive message. The main character, Daisy, responds with courage and strength in the face of horrific circumstances after a series of terrorist attacks leave the country in chaos. In the absence of adults, she protects her young cousin and survives by living off the countryside and learning map/navigational skills. She is anorexic at the start of the novel, but realizes the selfishness of intentionally starving after living through a genuine crisis. Daisy and her cousin Edmund have an intense emotional and sexual affair in the face of what could be the end of the world. As mentioned previously, they are faithful to one another through the most horrible events, distance, and trauma - Daisy stays with Edmund as an adult even after he is horribly scarred by the war. The lack of consequences (pregnancy) is explained by Daisy's ammenorrea. While some may feel that any sexual behavior by teens is inappropriate, I felt that this novel dealt with sexuality in a way that was fair and not-glamorized. There is one scene where the girls accidently eat bad mushrooms while foraging for food to survive and hallucinate. The depiction of the night is horrific and it is a clearly negative view of a drug experience. Positive messages in the novel surround themes of fidelity, self-sacrifice, survival, and self-reliance. There is a strong message of self-sustainable life choices at the end. Proponents of am ecological, back-to-the earth, sustainable farming/living vision will find much to admire. I would not hesitate to recommend this novel to high school students and would not have any qualms about my children reading it in 9th-12th grade.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byilovealexrider April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

an exceptional piece of literature - teen/adult book

This is one of my favourite books, the author creates a magic from the first sentence. It is incredibly romantic (especially because of the theme of telepathy) with a voice that betters even that of Cassandra in "I Capture The Castle". There is something very laid back about the novel and evokes the sense of just one lazy summer afternoon- even thought it deals with strong issues. Slightly incestuous but seeing as it is legal to marry one's cousin it is not incredibly shocking. Issues that in many other teen books are analysed and wrote about to death are mentioned with just a few sentences, such as Daisy's anorexia and underage sex. Perhaps this adds to the magical value and the way that the children seem detached from the rest of the world. As does the fact that the reader has no idea what time the story is set or why there is a war. But the way that the story is written means that you don't really feel the need to know details like this which would be important in any other novel. It is astonishingly awe-inspiring and beautifully written.
Teen, 14 years old Written byhorseandpony August 14, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

annoying

Personally, I did not like this book at all. There was a lot of violence, and it had some really bad themes. I found the main character incredibly annoying. The book doesn't have any speech marks, the main character just narrates it, which just annoys me more. Don't buy this book, borrow it from a library.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bytaylorgavin97 December 7, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

THE BOOK IS AWSOME!!!!! KIDS SHOULD READ THIS

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved the book!!!!!!!! i cried at end poor edmund!!!!!!!!!!!! but the book was very good !!!!!! I LOVE IT !!!!! I WISH SHE WOULD RIGHT A 2ND BOOK TO THIS ONE !!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE HOW I LIVE NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This book helps you understand what true and first love feels like! I also helps to understand what life is like when your in a war. Then ur lover is seperted for a 6 year time ! but he is so messed up he was diffrent!!! im so sad for him even though it is just a book !!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byshaddowphax July 19, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Borrow it from a library dont buy it

Slightly strange sums it up quite well. Confusing at first and relatively short read, definatly not for the younger children. Odd relationships which are at points, unreal and bizarre. Not one to go out an buy in hard back. Unlikely to be one that you will reread
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 11, 15, and 18 year old Written byJulieKryger1970 January 5, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
A beautiful and sad little book. There is no incest in this book. Marriage between cousins is legal in most countries. Besides, to call the love between Daisy and Edmond incest is downright hateful.
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Teen, 16 years old Written bysmile:) April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Awesome awesome book!

I loved this book. I love how Meg Rosoff wrote it with an indescribably amusing slang. If you really pay attention you'll notice she doesn't use any quotations marks at all. :)
Teen, 14 years old Written byLovShrty92 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

People said that this book was boring and didnt make sense. I say otherwise

People siad that this book was boring and didnt make sense. But as I read it made complete sense. A girl is in love with someone who is far away and she is trying to get back to him. I recommend this book to people who are not afraid to read a love story, and a war story compined into one. Read this book and you wont be able to put it down. I say that this book gets two thumbs up because it grabs your attention from the moment you begin to read it. I think that Daisy had a right to fight for what she believed in and what she believed in was getting back to Edmond. She didnt give up and she didnt lose hope. She remembered all the good in their relationship and that is what kept her going. If you think that this book is boring and it doesnt make sense, then you are completly wrong. This book to me sends a message and the message is that you should never give up no matter how bad your life is at the moment. If you believe in yourself then you can keep going and you wont give up. Read this book and hopefully you will recieve teh same message as I have.
Teen, 14 years old Written byCaroline7752 July 1, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Great book

I loved this book. The writing style was cool and unique. I found it slightly disturbing that the main character was having a sexual relationship with her cousin, but other than that I think the only thing would be the fact that they're in the middle of a war. It's a great book and it's written very well.
Teen, 15 years old Written byjenjay August 8, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

there is a MOVIE of THIS BOOK comming NEXT YEAR(2013) !! Please read the book FIRST!! :)

This is probably the best book i have read this year mainly because of its vivid language, unique storyline and its subtle comedy. I love the way the author rambles about small random things even though there is supposedly a war going on. Each moment is perfectly described with sophistication and poise one can totally imagine and feel the scene as if it is theirs. The language is interestingly written with a lack of speech marks with elaborate sentencing, which i definately admire. Although some may think the start of the book is slow, the overall plot is fast pased, engaging and both emotionally draining and inflating. I also like how it is a modern atmoshpere not your typical WW2, so it relates to us more, and it makes the plot more original. Anyone who can cope with strong emotional themes, of love and conflict and can "get' the meaning and message of the book should read it!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old January 7, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Their is not too much drugs!

I got it for christmas and i loved it! I don't see why people are saying its theirs too much drugs but their ISN'T
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byhockey178 August 31, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

not recommended

worst book iv ever read!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byliligirl123 May 17, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Awesome Book

The best book I have ever read. A taste of reality. Any tween should read this book. Defiantly a good lesson. Kind of creepy, though, when she falls in love with her cousin. Some scenes are very graphic, in the violent area. Really good book.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 14 and 15 year old Written byMarkAMDG May 11, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

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.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byptb March 15, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Mature 12+

How I Live Now is a searing portrayal of wartime life and relationships outside of societal norms. I loved it. Some people may find that the incest and occasional violence gives them pause but overall I think mature kids 12 and up can handle it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byergo191 March 15, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Amazing book is ON for 13+, but may give some pause

HOW I LIVE NOW is an excellently written portrayal of the way war splits apart people and relationships. Some things of note: there is incest between cousins, violence (a semi-graphic scene with some corpses rotting and a couple 'on-screen' deaths), etc. A couple uses of s---, but overall I think it's perfect for 13+. Mature 11- and 12-year-olds will like it too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byheyhihello February 21, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

One of my new favorite YA books!

I'm 14 and I read this book for my book project and loved it! I liked how Daisy had so much voice in first person so I could relate to her. I also liked the plot of the story and a lot of the characters were very entertaining. It later gets pretty violent, so if you don't like too much violence, it may not be the book for you. For me, the book rocked my socks!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 5, 8, and 10 year old Written byElizabethAverett January 22, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written bySummer4Good December 6, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

well- written novel, perfect for kids at the age of 12+

I have read this novel in class and i must say, that i enjoiyed reading it. The main character, Daisy, experiences first love, to care for somebody, war, and how to stay alive during the war. There are a lot of feelings in this novel. When i've read "How I Live Now" i really thought about life. That its not a matter of course that we have peace and freedom in our country. I thought about how it would be like to starv because of food rareness and armed soldiers around me. All in all i think it was a good book, I read it with pleasure and I woul definately recommend it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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