I shall start as I plan to go on: The Book Thief is one the most beautifully told, enjoyable and moving books I have read in ever such a long time.
The book starts by introducing us to our narrator, the brilliant Death - a quirky, observant and kind anthropomorphic personification – who tells the story of Lisel Meminger, a child in Nazi German sent to live with foster parents in a poor area of a poor town.
The Book Thief is not the happiest book I've ever read, but it is by no means depressing. Markus Zusak tackles tough issues in a sympathetic manner, helping you to relate to each of the characters in turn. The day to day life of Lisel and her foster parents – the hilariously angry Rosa and the quiet and sweet Hans – gives us an insight into the everyday life in poor suburbs of Nazi Germany. The story really starts with the introduction of Max, a Jewish fist-fighter on the run, who takes up residence in the family basement. Max's character never really develops, but his introduction brings with it a host of new problems for Lisel and her family.
There is not a lot else I want to say about The Book Thief, but I must urge you to pop down to your local bookshop, or library, and pick up a copy of this uplifting, if heart wrenching, story.