{Thirteen in 2013} The Book Thief

For November, I read The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. I loved it. It was an incredible story, and so wonderfully written. I have a tendency to get pretty emotional at movies, but as much as I love reading, books don't usually affect me quite so much. This book, on the other hand, was of the most emotional things I have ever come across. This probably due at least in part to the rather difficult subject material, but also, it was written in a way that completely swept you up. If you've never read this book, I could not recommend it more highly.
The book tells the story of a little girl, Liesel Meminger, who is sent to foster with the Hubermann family shortly before the outbreak of the war in Nazi Germany. It is narrated by Death, and while this plot device seems a bit unusual, especially at the beginning, he turns out to be a profound commentator on the way the war unfolds around Liesel and affects her life. The Hubermanns, two richly created characters, take Liesel into their working class neighbourhood, and then come to shelter Max Vandenburg, a Jew hiding from the authorities. The relationships between all of the characters in Liesel's life, from the Hubermanns to Max to her neighbour Rudy to the mayor's wife, absolutely come to life in the novel, which gets its name from Liesel's habit of taking books whenever the opportunity presents itself.
This book is apparently marketed as a young-adult novel, but although it is a coming-of-age story of a young girl, I think the subject material makes it perfectly suited to older audiences. I think I appreciated it more now than I ever would have in middle school or perhaps even high school. It is so, so well written, and the narration by Death is pitch-perfect. The relationship between all of the characters and words forms the heart of the novel, which is at times wonderfully funny, touchingly sweet, and heartrendingly sad. The book transitions between all of these emotions flawlessly, and in spite of the fact that I do not have a great deal of free time at all, I simply could not put it down.
Have you read this book or seen the film? It's not out in the UK yet, but I'm so looking forward to it!

Past Thirteen in 2013 book picks: January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October
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