Reading this book was such a joy. The idea in and of itself is pretty smart, a girl in WWII Germany who discovers a love of reading, and, being poor, finds a way to support her habit. She watches her younger brother die on the way to the foster family her mother is leaving her with and finds her first book. But even that little plot beginning doesn't do this book justice.
First of all, it is told from Death's point of view (and no, he doesn't carry a scythe - he says so himself). There is enough of an mix in of German words that the reader remembers all the characters really do speak German, even if we read it in English. The plot is addicting, carries some twists, leads you believe you know what is going to happen only to show you don't. I lost a decent amount of sleep one night because I just did not want to stop reading this book.
But the thing that I still marvel at, and haven't had an encounter with before, is the way things are described and the presence of color imagery in a way I never really thought about before. There is a little bit of swearing in this book, probably not more than a ball game outside of a church, but the story is amazing. This is definitely a YA book, one that at least some of our freshmen at the school will be reading next year, and I can't wait for them, or you, to experience it.
On a side note, we just got back from getting each of the kids their own library card - I grabbed three books myself. Let the summer of reading begin!