Literary Megs, volume four: Meg Rosoff

Sometime in the not-so-distant past, I got on a young adult dystopian kick — and, you know, of course I blame book bloggers for my introduction to a genre that has simultaneously captivated and horrified me. It all started in 2009 with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and quickly progressed to Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, a book which kept me up late at night in a cold sweat. A book I couldn’t stop buzzing about.

Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now was a book similar in scope but with a totally different feel. Set in an undisclosed future, it chronicles the life of 15-year-old Daisy, an American teen visiting her aunt and cousins in England when a war breaks out. We never know the nature of the battle, nor what’s really happening; it’s all a blur of Occupation, death, destruction and fear.

In the wake of it all, though, is love — and that’s the part that’s stuck with me. Regardless of whether or not it triggers your gag reflex, Daisy falls in love with her cousin, Edmond, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen incest portrayed in . . . well, in such a believable way. Because Daisy and Edmond didn’t really know each other before her arrival in the UK, right? It’s not as though they were raised side-by-side in the same loving family, only later acknowledging their feelings for one another.

Have I intrigued you yet?

As I wrote in last year’s review, How I Live Now was a powerful read that has stuck with me — especially after my memory was refreshed in July. And who do we have to thank for that but Meg Rosoff, the book’s author?

Rosoff is an American writer based in London, according to Wikipedia, and has published numerous young adult novels since How I Live Now, which debuted in 2004 and garnered the Michael L. Printz Award in 2005. Other titles by Rosoff include The Bride’s Farewell, What I Was, Just In Case and Vamoose!.

Visit her blog and back catalog on Goodreads. And when you can? Pick up How I Live Now — I’d love to hear your thoughts.

“Literary Megs” is an occasional feature I do covering — you guessed it! — authors and books related to the name “Meg.” Past posts have featured Meg Cabot, Meggie from The Thorn Birds (my namesake) and Megan’s Island, a childhood favorite of mine.

13 thoughts on “Literary Megs, volume four: Meg Rosoff

  1. I found that part of How I Live Now really hard to read. Incest is really frowned on heavily in England, even with cousins, so I was surprised to find an English writer writing about it. I know in America, there are states where it is legal to marry your cousin, but over here it isn’t. I wonder why it is legal in some places but not in others. However, it hasn’t put me off reading other books by Rosoff, in fact I have Just In Case, just waiting to be read.


    • Quite true, Vivienne — in fact, it’s a running joke about “marrying your cousin” in many parts of the U.S. (and, ahem, in my family. But it is only a joke, I swear!) I’m not sure what’s up with the “legal here, not there” stuff, but I guess that’s true of many things.


  2. Hmmmmm….I’m not sure if I could get over the whole “falling in love with your cousin” thing, BUT I applaud the author for daring to defy convention!


  3. The kids and I listened to this on audio this summer and were just MESMERIZED by it. It is weird, isn’t it, how easy it is to swallow that cousin thing? Because their relationship was so timeless, and was so much more than physical. The three of us just issued a big collective “eeeewwwww”, but ultimately forgot about it because there was so much more important things to focus on. (I heard that one blogger named one of her kids Daisy after this book!)


    • Aww, I love when books touch readers so deeply they have to go ahead and name their children after their favorites! As I mentioned, I’m named after a book character, too; I think that’s awesome.


  4. What a fun feature!! I should do that with Sarahs… 😀

    I love all three books you mentioned. The Meg Rosoff book was very strange for me though I did enjoy it. It just felt so different than any other book I’ve read.

    As for Life as we Knew It — I am a ridiculously huge fan.


    • I agree, Sarah — How I Live Now stands totally apart from any book I’ve read recently. Or ever.

      And yes, LAWKI is awesome! I’m such a fangirl for Susan Beth Pfeffer’s work. Even though I didn’t dig the second book in that series nearly as much, still incredible stuff.


  5. This is definitely going on my list because I also got into the YA dystopian in recent months.
    And I realize this makes me sound like a complete and total freak, but I really dig incest books. I swear it stems from my obsession with Flowers In the Attic as a child. Thank you V.C. Andrews. So bring on the incest!


    • Ha! I totally feel you, Melissa; no judgment here. There’s something fascinating about subjects that are so taboo… and I guess that’s why they’re taboo! 😉


  6. First, I have to applaud you on having such a clever feature! Really fun idea. Second, thanks for the book rec — I do love a good dystopian novel!

    Have you ready anything from Apex Magazine? Their May issue has an amazing dystopian short story — ‘City of Refuge’ by Jerry Gordon.


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