Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
What it's about: Liesel Meminger is a foster child living in Nazi Germany. As the events of World War II push on, Liesel has her own small troubles adjusting to her new life to worry about. She learns to read, and she makes new friends, including her foster father, her neighbor, and a Jewish refugee. Her story is told by Death, who sees Liesel three times and who is affected by what he sees.
What I thought: Oddly enough, one of my first thoughts was to compare this book to To Kill A Mockingbird. It's the slice of life quality, how it depicts life in a time of change in a small town that seems isolated from the bigger world until that bigger world intrudes on it. Life in this book is not white-washed, but nor is it depicted as bleaker than it is. This is reality, the triumphs and the failings. It's something I noticed in Zusak's other book I Am The Messenger, and it's something I quite like when done well. This book is told in an interesting fashion. Death is the narrator, and he doesn't always treat things in a strictly linear, chronological fashion. Nonetheless it works. By the time I got to the end, it had actually moved me to tears. It's because of how good Zusak is at building relationships between his characters, and at developing the characters themselves, for that matter. Liesel's relationships with her father, with Rudy, with Max, with Rosa, and with Ilsa are all different, but they all affect her, and the emotional payoff at the end is all the better for it.
Overall: Can't recommend it highly enough.
Also, ugh, I'm behind on reviews again. Why is it that I can read so fast, but I can't manage to bang out a review when I'm done? Hm, I might just do what reviews I can manage and put the rest of the books on my list of books to read again and then review in the future.