Bravo Mr. Zusak. Kudos. Bien fait.
The Book Thief was one of the most interesting, enveloping, and well written books I've read in a long time. Actually, that's a lie. I listened to it on audio CD, so whatever. I think some books need to be discovered through audio. Others, like Shiver (where the voices are more off-putting than helpful), should not be. So if there are some who have already read this book, I would totally suggest listening to it for something different. The narrator is fabulous.
So here's what I learned from this book:
I learned that I love, adore, and cherish poetic, artistic, beautiful words. Mr. Zusak really has a way with words. It's almost like he would write one word and then go back and insert something totally random, yet incredibly descriptive in its place. Some words are mindblowing.
I learned that dark topics are okay for YA. It doesn't get much darker than the Holocaust and the death that accompanied it. The book is actually written from the perspective of the Grim Reaper, though I don't think he is specifically called that. I don't remember. But its a difficult subject, and approached in a fresh meaningful way.
I learned that voice is everything. Of course when I say "voice" I mean that indefinable thing that agents, editors and everyone involved in the literary world are always trying to define properly. What I have to say about Mr. Zusak's voice is that it is powerful. There's German cussing, name calling, and juvenile semantics, but it the way the narrator sees things that had me enthralled. In colors. He sees things in colors, in layers, in nuances. Its so unique I love it.
I learned that I want to read more books like this. Word.