I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I think I first heard about this book on some NPR show (Diane Rehm Show?), and I bought it and put it into my to-read pile (that keeps growing, and growing, and...). The other day I read an article that about young adult fiction, and The Book Thief was one of the bestsellers in that category. So if the young people like it, I knew that I had to read it soon.
It was good.
The story is about a young girl named Liesel who lives in Germany during the time just before and during World War II. Even before the girl knows how to read, she steals a book. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read. And she steals more books. Since the book is set in Germany during WWII, the book also deals with the Nazi Party, the Holocaust, and war.
The most remarkable thing about the book is that Death narrates the story. This fact offers some chilling scenes. There is also a lot of foreshadowing since Death is looking back on this story from the end of Liesel's life. (The foreshadowing is good for me because I like to know what will happen later on--I often read ahead--I can't help myself!)
At around 550 pages, this book would have been considered too lengthy for young adults some years ago. But if young adults can handle the length Harry Potter tomes, I can see why they are not scared away by the size of books anymore.
I do recommend this book to older readers, too.