This story follows 15-year-old Daisy who is sent away from her life in Manhattan to live with extended family in a quiet farm in England. There are three cousin boys near her age as well as a younger sister. The day following Daisy's arrival, a bomb goes off in London, followed by an unnamed enemy attacking and occupying the area.
With the systems failing and the war raging in London, the farm quickly becomes this isolated kind of safe Eden for the children where there are no parents and no rules. But when the war finally starts catching up with them, the cousins are thrown into a survival story.
This was an interesting and quick read. It did take me a little while to get into the writing, though. It’s written in the stream of consciousness of this pretty high strung teenager. Consequently there's a lot of choppy sentences, but layered with those sentences are some really beautiful and profound thoughts...
The only reason it gets 4 instead of 5 stars is the parents. Many YA novels do this and it's truly grating, parents are demonized or entirely absent so that we can have a story of only children. Some authors manage to make their case a realistic one and it works, not so much here. [Slight SPOILER, this is part of the premise and it's stated at the very beginning of the novel] I have trouble believing that a parent would send their child to a country that's on the brink of war, simply because they're troublesome. Aside from that, it really a great book. It explores the bonds that are created between the protagonist and her cousins, the result is a beautiful tale of innocent full-hearted love in the face of war and tragedy. It doesn't linger too long on the war itself, we understand only what the characters understand, and it's not very much. What matters here is not the war but how it both brings the characters together, only to tear them apart. There's also an interesting element...
I first saw the movie on netflix with my sister the other day and thought " if the movie was that good the book must be better". The book didn't really have very much structure when it came to daisies thoughts. Everything seemed like one long run-on sentence and didn't really do her justice. It made her seem a lot more normalized then how she was intended to be. I did like, somewhat, the outcome for each character at the end of the book, as opposed to the movie. It better explains the characters relationships after the war. One thing I didn't understand was why the daisy in the "HILN" movie version was so nasty and bitchy to everyone around her and in the book she was much, much nicer. In this way I feel the movie did a better job of focusing on who daisy was, as opposed to her explaining who everyone else was and what they were like.
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