Synopsis: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
Let me preface this by saying that this isn’t generally my type of book. I don’t mean that I don’t read books like this. I do. Sometimes. I love historical fiction! But usually when I scour the YA shelves, I’m looking for fast-paced with a smidgen of romance sprinkled in there. This book isn’t any of that. And yet, I LOVED IT!
There was a unique narrator–it’s told from the perspective of Death. He (I think he’s a he) offers enough comedy and lightheartedness to not drag the book into a depressing litany. He oversees many areas of the time, but focuses mostly on Liesel’s story. I started the book on a Sunday and got about half way through when my mother-in-law deemed it the perfect time to see it in the theatre. Now, I hate seeing a movie before I’ve read the book, but I went anyway. The movie was phenomenal. I loved the actors in it, especially the little girl who played Liesel. She was just beautiful. And the setting–don’t even get me started. Perfectly magical in the right way and desolate too.
As I thought it would be, it was difficult to get back into the book afterwards. I already know the outcome and that’s not always incentive to keep reading. I finished it because the writing is amazing. The voice of the novel will grab hold of you and keep you up into the wee hours of the night.
Should you read it? Hell, yes! And then go see the movie too.