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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
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    Children and Other Wild Animals

    Brian Doyle 9780870717543

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1 Beaverton Children's- Michael L. Printz Award Winners

How I Live Now

by

How I Live Now Cover

ISBN13: 9780553376050
ISBN10: 0553376055
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

1

My name is Elizabeth but no ones 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 cant remember much about life before the war anyway so it doesnt count in my book, which this is.

Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.

And so heres what happened.

2

Im coming off this plane, and Ill tell you why that is later, and landing at London airport and Im looking around for a middle-aged kind of woman who Ive seen in pictures whos 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 The photographs are out of date, but she looked like the type who would wear a big necklace and flat shoes, and maybe some kind of narrow dress in black or gray.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 Im just guessing since the pictures only showed her face.

Anyway, Im looking and looking and everyones leaving and theres no signal on my phone and Im thinking Oh great, Im going to be abandoned at the airport so thats two countries they dont want me in, when I notice everyones 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 Im 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 its not exactly what youd 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 hes 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 youre going to take him home? Well thats him.

Only he took me home.

Ill take your bag, he said, and even though hes 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 Wheres 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 dont say anything in case its a well-known fact that the smoking age in England is something like twelve and by making a big thing about it Ill end up looking like an idiot when Ive barely been here five minutes. Anyway, he says Mum couldnt come to the airport cause shes working and its not worth anyones life to interrupt her while shes 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 IM the Duchess of Panamas 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.

Im 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 were 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 Im believing any of this, being driven along on the wrong side of the road by this skinny kid dragging on a cigarette and lets face it who wouldnt be thinking what a weird place England is.

And then he looked at me again in his funny doggy way, and he said Youll get used to it. Which was strange too, because I hadnt said anything out loud.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Nieyda, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by Nieyda)
I really loved this book. Daisy is a vivid, compelling narrator - she reminds me of Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle in some ways - indomitable will and dry wit and the ability to be clear-eyed even when it hurts or is at her own expense - and her story is heartbreaking and utterly engaging. I was in tears by the end. The writing is sharp and insightful and funny, and it carries the story forward inexorably, and I couldn't look away even when I was afraid of what was going to happen - I really worried for all of them, but especially for Edmond and Piper. The whole story, and especially the ending, is full of heartbreak and hope. Highly recommended.
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enbugladie, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by enbugladie)
This is a small book filled with a huge adventure. Meg Rosoff uses her unique style of writing that captures the readers attention throughout this amazing, eye-opening, tragic, heartfelt book that is sure to leave you with a new view at things.
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Christy Valentine, July 22, 2009 (view all comments by Christy Valentine)
It should first be said that this is not a book for everyone, but Rosoff's ambitious prose will be appreciated by many readers.

This pseudo-apocalyptic novel is billed as YA fiction, though it deals with complex issues of war, death and incest in a very mature manner. Stylistically, it's similar to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," one of the most brilliant novels of the past few years. Rosoff utilizes stripped down dialogue and descriptions, which maximize the desolateness of the country after invasion and express Daisy's detachment from the horrors she witnesses. It is a bit frustrating at first, and I'm sure some will criticize her writing style as sophomoric, but the further into the novel one gets, the more her mode of simplistic prose enhances the experiences of the characters.

The only real criticism I can lobby against this book is Daisy's over-zealous relationship with Edmond. It is not characterized particularly well, and I was annoyed at times by her obsessive infatuation, especially when I had no real idea why she would seemingly dedicate her existence to him. It's unfortunate that the relationship was not expressed in any realistic manner. It makes the novel feel a bit like "The Road" crossed with V. C. Andrews's Dollanger saga, though some might think this makes the novel seem even more enticing.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553376050
Author:
Rosoff, Meg
Publisher:
Wendy Lamb Books
Author:
Smith, Sherri L.
Author:
Rosenfield, Kat
Subject:
General
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - History
Subject:
Family - Multigenerational
Subject:
Farm life
Subject:
Lifestyles - Farm Life & Ranch Life
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
England
Subject:
Cousins
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Subject:
People & Places - United States
Subject:
Love & Romance
Subject:
Situations / Dating & Sex
Subject:
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20060431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
13-17

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Young Adult » General

How I Live Now Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Wendy Lamb Books - English 9780553376050 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A gritty, funny, and widely influential novel (it caused quite a stir!) that I guarantee you'll read time and time again. Powerful and worthy of many re-readings.

"Staff Pick" by ,

"This book for young adults simply captivated me like so few novels for adults will. In a voice that could tell you how to change a light bulb yet still hold you transfixed, fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy recalls a summer in the British countryside with her cousins. War breaks out and the children must depend on each other to survive. Her tale is dark, beautiful, and wise. A breathtaking feat of storytelling."

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Review" by , "Readers won't just read this book, they will let it possess them."
"Review" by , "[T]he best children's novel for adults since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Synopsis" by ,
Printz Award-winning author Meg Rosoff's latest novel is a gorgeous and unforgettable page-turner about the relationship between parents and children, love and loss.

Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her fathers best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when shes closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best. 

 

 

"Synopsis" by , “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins shes 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, its a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisys 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.

A riveting and astonishing story.

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