Saturday, April 12, 2008

Printz Challenge: How I Live Now

When I checked this book by Meg Rosoff out from the library, one of my co-workers saw the cover and exclaimed, "I love that one!" (She really did say "love" in bold and italics. This co-worker often uses enthusiastic words like "Fantastic," or "Awesome," or "Excellent," and it is very cute.) I find myself not wanting to say too much about the book, because I can't do it justice. You'll just have to read it.

A girl is sent to London because her family doesn't know what to do with her. No doubt from her dad's point of view she is anorexic and irrational, but we're not reading his POV, we're reading Daisy's. From her view, her soon-to-be stepmother was trying to poison her, and at first that was why she stopped eating. Later, it became a means of power. So, she goes to the country outside London to live with her mother's sister and her cousins that she'd never met before.

Almost immediately her aunt travels to Oslo for peace talks, but the war breaks out while she is gone. The war is never defined clearly. We don't find out who attacked cities in England and the US. Even Daisy is unsure. This is a story that could happen a few moments in the future, or in the world just parallel to this one. All that doesn't matter: the war is backdrop for her life as it unfolds with her cousins, and the fierce loving larger-than-life bond they find for each other.

Not until I reflect on the whole story do I realize that this is a re-telling of a certain fairy tale. I'll leave that for the reader to discover. For a much better review, see Dewey's.

Here's the link to this review on the Printz award blog.

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