rating: 5 of 5 stars
OMG! I LOVE this book. YOU MUST READ IT! Unless you can't stand sadness.
Here is a spoiler, only not exactly. Remember, you're going to die. Everyone you love is going to die. OK, here's the spoiler: everyone in this book dies. But not all at the same time. It starts and ends with death. Death narrates the book. It's what happens in between, like all our lives, that makes it worth reading. And it is VERY worth reading.
It's spellbinding. It's a page-turner. Don't let the fact that it is labeled "young adult" stop you from reading it. It's a MUST read for adults as well as children. I would never have guessed it was a young adult book, except for the fact that some of the main characters are children. They are treated in a very adult manner.
The book takes place in Nazi Germany before and during WWII, mostly on Himmel Street and Mawlking. The characters are extremely well defined and filled out. I felt that they were like family, that close and well-known. Lisel Meminger's brother dies and her mother leaves her in foster care. She arrives at her new home to find her new mother short and shaped like a wardrobe. And with a mouth like a drunken sailor.
She arrives with a book she has stolen. But she doesn't know how to read. Thus begins the central story of the book, a romance with words. There is Papa and Rudy and a host of other characters. All of them are richly drawn and deeply interesting. And very human.
There are echoes of Anne Frank, but it is not Anne Frank. However, there is Max, the Jew who lives in Lisel's basement and who wrote a book for Lisel. I cried until I was exhausted. And I will read it again, in a year or two, when I recover.
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