A British YA apocalypse novel (apocalypse type: conventional war), distinguished by an excellent, distinctive narrative voice. I read this in a single gulp, and was satisfied. This is saying a lot considering that the dialogue does not have quote marks, which is normally a dealbreaker. (Not for any particular principle, but because I find it difficult to read. Well, and also pointless. And pretentious. Okay, so there are some principles involved. Also, I’m sure Rosoff was making some sort of point by having quote marks in the epilogue, but I have no idea what it was - anyone get anything out of that?)

Teenage American Daisy goes to stay with her English relatives for a country vacation, and falls in love with her cousin Edmond. Though the personalities of everyone but Daisy are a bit sketchy, and this includes Edmond, the emotions come through with piercing clarity. I’m not sure I believed in Edmond, but I believed in the teenage intensity of their affair.

And then a war begins. Plausibly, we never learn the details, as at first Daisy doesn’t think it concerns her and so doesn’t care, and later the news sources are unreliable and then gone altogether. Like an avalanche that begins with a single rolling snowball, small alterations to normal life slowly grow larger, until no one can quite pinpoint when they last had a normal, peaceful day. Daisy’s odyssey across an altered landscape doesn’t quite tip over into awesomely depressing, but is definitely harrowing.

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I had issues with the ending, but overall, a very good apocalypse novel.

How I Live Now


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