Book Review: How I Live Now

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way."

How I Live Now is unlike anything else I've read, in the best possible way. It's a story about brokenness, at its core. Daisy is a very real narrator- her voice is so teenage-self-centered and urban-naive that I had no problem believing any of the fantastical parts of this book. 

I also love the way that her first-person narration made the details of the larger world irrelevant- the war is only relevant in how it affects Daisy immediately, not who is doing what and why. That contributed to the very realistic feel of this fictional contemporary war.

I also love the romance in this story, for its realness. That's odd to say, given the fantastical elements of the story, but at its core this book is SO REAL. Especially with the end, which reminded me of my uncles' experiences in Vietnam, and broke my heart a little. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys: YA, contemporary stories, coming-of-age, female protagonists, realistic romance, post-apocalyptic survival, paranormal/supernatural elements, and the English countryside.
It's a quick read, and has so many multi-genre elements, I really think everyone should read it.

(also, it's narrated by the incomparable Kim Mai Guest!)

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