April 15, 2014
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How I Live Now

by Meg Rosoff

A delightful YA dystopia in which Daisy, an American teenager with a temper and a bit of an eating disorder, spends a summer with her Aunt’s English family in order to get away from her newly pregnant stepmother. Unfortunately, this turns out to be the summer of World War III.

The superbly-paced book differs in important directions from the recent (and superb) film, and the differences repay thought. Some are mere abridgments, some heighten the drama, some exploit aural or visual references (Fairport Convention, the Dursley’s neighborhood) that wouldn’t work on the page.

The English setting works very well, and though the details of this war are not terrifically plausible, this is surely a story that unfolded in the south of France in 1940, in Kosovo, in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably in villages not far from Thermopylae and Jericho.