Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Meg Rosoff is my hero. She has only written two books, but they are two of the best books I have ever read. Her first book is a YA novel, entitled How I Live Now (coming out in paperback later this month). It's a bizarre novel about Daisy, a cynical, anorexic New York teen. Aha! you say, I know where this is going! But you don't! And that is why Rosoff is my hero. Daisy goes to spend some time with her late mother's sister in England, because her new stepmother isn't into dealing with Daisy's issues. While living in the country with her three cousins and aunt, Daisy and one of her cousins, Edmund, start to fall in love. Aha! you say, I know where this is going! This is going to be an incest novel! But there again, you are wrong. While Daisy's aunt is on a business trip in Belgium ("Aunt Penn always has Important Work To Do Related to the Peace Process"), something big happens. England is attacked. Perhaps by international terrorists, but nobody really seems to know. All we know is that suddenly the British army seems to be in charge, and everyone is warned not to leave the house, in case of a smallpox attack. Eventually someone realizes that Daisy and her cousins are living without adult supervision. They are separated and taken to live with strangers. I don't think I can go into the story any more without ruining it, and since I know that everyone is going to run out and read this book, I don't want to do that!

What I love about this book is that it is all so believable. Daisy's world is totally insane, and yet, I was there with her, the whole way. The jacket of the hardcover features a quote by Mark Haddon, and I think it captures this book perfectly: "After five pages I knew that she could persuade me to believe almost anything." And it's true.

Rosoff's second book is a picture book. It's called Meet Wild Boars. It is also a work of genius. Boris, Horace, Doris and Morris are "dirty and smelly, bad-tempered and rude." And "they do not like you either." The book details all the terrible things wild boars can and will do, especially if you are foolish enough to ask them over to play. Sophie Blackall's illustrations only add to the fun, with children who look doll-like, and the daintiest boars' feet I've ever seen. The kicker on the last page is enough to make you laugh out loud, if you aren't already laughing from the boars' antics. I think this one would be great for any kids still in that stage where the word "poo" is considered the height of hilarity.

How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff
ISBN 0553376055
224 pages

Meet Wild Boars written by Meg Rosoff illustrated by Sophie Blackall
ISBN 0805074880
40 pages


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