Monday, 4 November 2013

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

"A new classic" says a quote from someone who gets paid to do this sort of thing above the blurb.  A new classic about a post-apocalyptic world, set in the not-too-distant future?  Ought to be quite my cup of cha.

Hmmm.  It's decidedly flimsy for a classic.  Quite short, and really quite thin on plot.  In fairness, I was already judging by about page 4.  I have this thing about names.  I'm very interested in them, and really hate it when a writer doesn't seem to do their name research properly.  In the Hunger Games, the names felt right.  Unfamiliar, but not impossible to pronounce.  In this book, the main character is sent to live with her aunt and cousins, deep in the English countryside. Two of the names are plausible but seem to have very Americanised spellings (Penn (presumably short for Penelope) and Edmond.  But the 9 year old girl is called Piper.  I know that Piper has increased in popularity in the UK over the last decade or so, but a 9 year old farmer's daughter called Piper in 2004?  I think not.  I called her Pippa in my head, which made me feel a little better (I told you I had a thing). It's really annoying since Rosoff has actually lived in the UK for a couple of decades, and therefore should know better.

Names aside, this felt like a book which was written in the hope of a film adaptation. It feels like reading the spin-off of the film adaptation. There is very, very little depth of character, and the "oh, now we're in love" bit reminded me of Romeo and Juliet, which always irritates me, because there doesn't appear to be any build up whatsoever to this love which is supposedly worth dying for.

Anyway, I was distinctly underwhelmed. However, it might be good for a reluctant reader teen, as it deals with a lot of popular themes of teen literature at the moment, but doesn't require the investment of time that many other novels written for teens do.

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