Although the target audience for The Book Thief is young adult readers, this novel has been a really popular one among adult book clubs over the last few years, probably because it’s amazing and has won awards all over the place.
The story is told from the point of view of an unlikely narrator: Death. And set in Germany during World War II, Death has seen a lot. He becomes interested in the story of a young German girl, Liesel Meminger, as she steals her first book – the Gravedigger’s Grave Digging Handbook – from her brother when he dies. With a communist father, an ailing mother, and a dead brother, Liesel is placed alone in the home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Her new foster father teaches Liesel to make sense of the jumbles of letters in the book, and as her reading improves, so does her book thieving.
The war and its effects on Liesel and her friends and family (including a Jewish man the Hubermann’s take into hiding) are prominently seen throughout the book, but are a back drop to the real story – that of a young girl growing up in a hard time and becoming her own person in spite, or perhaps because of that. The book is somehow gloomy and uplifting at the same time.
Also try Zusak’s book I Am the Messenger.