My name is Elizabeth but no one’s ever called me that. My father took one look at me when I was born and must have thought I had the face of someone dignified and sad like an old-fashioned queen or a dead person, but what I turned out like is plain, not much there to notice. Even my life so far has been plain. More Daisy than Elizabeth from the word go.
But the summer I went to England to stay with my cousins everything changed. Part of that was because of the war, which supposedly changed lots of things, but I can’t remember much about life before the war anyway so it doesn’t count in my book, which this is.
Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.
And so here’s what happened.
I’m coming off this plane, and I’ll tell you why that is later, and landing at London airport and I’m looking around for a middle-aged kind of woman who I’ve seen in pictures who’s my Aunt Penn. The photographs are out of date, but she looked like the type who would wear a big necklace and flat shoes, and maybe some kind of narrow dress in black or gray. But I’m just guessing since the pictures only showed her face.
Anyway, I’m looking and looking and everyone’s leaving and there’s no signal on my phone and I’m thinking Oh great, I’m going to be abandoned at the airport so that’s two countries they don’t want me in, when I notice everyone’s gone except this kid who comes up to me and says You must be Daisy. And when I look relieved he does too and says I’m Edmond.
Hello Edmond, I said, nice to meet you, and I look at him hard to try to get a feel for what my new life with my cousins might be like.
Now let me tell you what he looks like before I forget because it’s not exactly what you’d expect from your average fourteen-year-old what with the CIGARETTE and hair that looked like he cut it himself with a hatchet in the dead of night, but aside from that he’s exactly like some kind of mutt, you know the ones you see at the dog shelter who are kind of hopeful and sweet and put their nose straight into your hand when they meet you with a certain kind of dignity and you know from that second that you’re going to take him home? Well that’s him.
Only he took me home.
I’ll take your bag, he said, and even though he’s about half a mile shorter than me and has arms about as thick as a dog leg, he grabs my bag, and I grab it back and say Where’s your mom, is she in the car?
And he smiles and takes a drag on his cigarette, which even though I know smoking kills and all that, I think is a little bit cool, but maybe all the kids in England smoke cigarettes? I don’t say anything in case it’s a well-known fact that the smoking age in England is something like twelve and by making a big thing about it I’ll end up looking like an idiot when I’ve barely been here five minutes. Anyway, he says Mum couldn’t come to the airport cause she’s working and it’s not worth anyone’s life to interrupt her while she’s working, and everyone else seemed to be somewhere else, so I drove here myself.
I looked at him funny then.
You drove here yourself? You DROVE HERE yourself? Yeah well and I’M the Duchess of Panama’s Private Secretary.
And then he gave a little shrug and a little dog-shelter-dog kind of tilt of his head and he pointed at a falling-apart black jeep and he opened the door by reaching in through the window which was open, and pulling the handle up and yanking. He threw my bag in the back, though more like pushed it in, because it was pretty heavy, and then said Get in Cousin Daisy, and there was nothing else I could think of to do so I got in.
I’m still trying to get my head around all this when instead of following the signs that say Exit he turns the car up onto this grass and then drives across to a sign that says Do Not Enter and of course he Enters and then he jogs left across a ditch and suddenly we’re out on the highway.
Can you believe they charge £13.50 just to park there for an hour? he says to me.
Well to be fair, there is no way I’m believing any of this, being driven along on the wrong side of the road by this skinny kid dragging on a cigarette and let’s face it who wouldn’t be thinking what a weird place England is.
And then he looked at me again in his funny doggy way, and he said You’ll get used to it. Which was strange too, because I hadn’t said anything out loud.
becky_johnson, August 28, 2006 (view all comments by becky_johnson)
As a 42-year old mother to a 13-year old daughter, I did not expect to be so utterly engaged by a book that belonged not to me but to the generation below. I was amused, moved, scared, horrified and, ultimately, entirely subsumed by the world and story described in this book. It evoked emotions in me that I can't remember experiencing merely from reading a book for 20 years or more.
My daughter I were both moved to tears on more than one occasion and sharing the reading of this book brought us as close together as if we had shared our own trauma, rather than reading about someone else's - fictional! - experiences.
Everybody should read this book, younger or older, male or female. It is infinitely accessible and goes straight for the jugular of even the most hardened of cynics. It's probably not going too far to say that reading this book changed both my daughter and me a little. I almost hope that the author doesn't write anything else, because how can she improve on this debut?
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England. Soon after Daisy settles into their farmhouse, her Aunt Penn becomes stranded in Oslo and terrorists invade and occupy England. Daisy's candid, intelligent narrative draws readers into her very private world, which appears almost utopian at first with no adult supervision (especially by contrast with her home life with her widowed father and his new wife). The heroine finds herself falling in love with cousin Edmond, and the author credibly creates a world in which social taboos are temporarily erased. When soldiers usurp the farm, they send the girls off separately from the boys, and Daisy becomes determined to keep herself and her youngest cousin, Piper, alive. Like the ripple effects of paranoia and panic in society, the changes within Daisy do not occur all at once, but they have dramatic effects. In the span of a few months, she goes from a self-centered, disgruntled teen to a courageous survivor motivated by love and compassion.How she comes to understand the effects the war has had on others provides the greatest evidence of her growth, as well as her motivation to get through to those who seem lost to war's consequences. Teens may feel that they have experienced a war themselves as they vicariously witness Daisy's worst nightmares. Like the heroine, readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"[C]entral to the potency of Rosoff's debut...is the ominous prognostication of what a third world war might look like, and the opportunity it provides for teens to imagine themselves...exhibiting courage and resilience in roles traditionally occupied by earlier generations."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[A] very relatable contemporary story, told in honest, raw first-person and filled with humor, love, pathos, and carnage....[O]ffers a keen perspective on human courage and resilience."
by Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,
"That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice. After five pages I knew that she could persuade me to believe almost anything."
"A daring, wise, and sensitive look at the complexities of being young in a world teetering on chaos, Rosoff's poignant exploration of perseverance in the face of the unknown is a timely lesson for us all."
by The Guardian,
"A voice so stridently pure and direct and funny that you simply can't question it."
by Time Out,
"[T]he best children's novel for adults since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
by The Sunday Telegraph,
"Readers won't just read this book, they will let it possess them."
by Children's Literature,
"[T]he book provides a realistic picture of what life would be like if a world war broke out today, and it provides a lot of material for class discussion. The relationship between Edmond and Daisy...is described in an emotional rather than physical way."
It's Day 7 in the quarantined mall. The riot is over and the senator trapped inside is determined to end the chaos. Even with new rules, assigned jobs, and heightened security, she still needs to get the teen population under control. So she enlists Marco's help--allowing him to keep his stolen universal card key in exchange for spying on the very football players who are protecting him.
But someone is working against the new systems, targeting the teens, and putting the entire mall in even more danger. Lexi, Marco, Ryan, and Shay believe their new alliances are sound.
They are wrong. Who can be trusted? And who will be left to trust?
The virus was just the beginning.
Fans of Life As We Knew It and those who love apocalyptic plots will love this modern Lord of the Flies. The sequel to No Safety in Numbers is a pounding, relentless rush that will break your heart and keep you guessing until the end.
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