Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.
As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.
A riveting and astonishing story.
From the Hardcover edition.
This is the first dystopian novel that I've read (at least knowingly). It is also the first I've read for the YA-D2 Challenge.
Daisy, our narrator, is sent from her New York home to England to live with her Aunt and cousins. We are told it is because her stepmother doesn't like her, but by picking up the clues along the way we realize that they just didn't know what else to do with Daisy and her anorexia (which seems to be a mini side plot).
We see through Daisy's narrative how the children deal with living in a war torn country with no supervision, as Aunt Penn leaves shortly after Daisy arrives to do anti-war protesting in Oslo. At first you kind of watch as the youngsters just spend lazy days doing anything they want since they are living on a farm in the country, far away from the war itself. As things start to move closer to them, the older ones start taking on the parental type rolls of foraging for food and making sure everyone is safe. Throughout the story I found myself drawn to Daisy's protectiveness of Piper as she takes on the role of big sister and sometimes mother. And Piper is like a shining star trying not to fade away amid all the darkness. It's like watching them age quickly within a matter of months instead of years – and it has quite a few moments that made me upset and angry that the war was taking away their innocence.
Without giving away any of the plot, I would have to say that as you read along you see how family is important no matter what you consider “family” to be, you watch the characters mature so quickly and take on tasks that normally would not be required by people their age, and we see how adaptable and resourceful people can become in times such as war. I think the war itself helps Daisy to come to the realization that her life is important and means something and self image is not worth starving yourself or dying for. It's a great story about surviving and having hope when everything you care about is lost.
Received from: purchased
Sidenote: There is a love that develops between Daisy and one of her cousins, Edmund, but it is not really portrayed as an incestual thing as it is more about the love developing between two young people in a time of chaos and the unknown. It may offend some, but it really isn't meant to be more than I've just stated above.