Summer means holiday and leisure time for most of us. Why not seize the opportunity and explore some of Meg Rosoff’s novels?
Her work form a suite of existential dramas in which values and norms, ideas and preconceptions are subjected to constant challenge and change. Meg’s books stand out for the way she writes about young people: with respect, but also with critical, intimate scrutiny and much humor.
Throughout the summer we will publish a few book recommendations on the blog. First in line is Meg’s debut novel, “How I live now” (2004).
The book is an unsettling depiction of war and love from a young adult’s point of view. It is both a dystopian action story and a novel about a provocative love affair between two young cousins – one of whom is only fourteen years old – that bursts the traditional bounds of the young adult literature genre.
Fifteen-year-old Daisy from New York is sent to visit relatives in England for the summer. When a war suddenly breaks out, she and her cousins must fend for themselves without adult assistance. The madness and chaos of war leave little time for reflection; or as Daisy says, “If you haven’t been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all.”
How do you feel alive when your world is falling apart? The novel offers no easy answers. Daisy pays a high price for her survival, but she also reaches new insights about herself and the things worth living for. “How I live now” enjoyed tremendous success and had a significant impact on the development of novels for young adults.
Rosoff’s body of work now includes seven young adult novels and several picture books as well as a novel for adults. The books that have followed her debut are all very different from one another, but all are surprising, radical, and emotionally charged.