The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
What To Read Next: Night by Elie Wiesel, The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
Based on the novel's title and bestseller status, you might think it's about some Da Vinci Code-type character finding clues in the world's oldest books. Nope. The Book Thief is about a 9-year-old foster girl in Nazi Germany who loves reading. Oh, and the novel is narrated by Death.
The brave heroine, Leisel, has to steal books to satiate her desire to read—sometimes from Nazi book burnings, but mostly from the mayor's wife's personal library. Death watches her grow up in her new foster home, where she meets a hidden Jewish brawler and become friends with the neighborhood children.
But thievery isn't just a dangerous hobby she picks up, it's her redemption. She steals because her brother's life was stolen, her mother is absent, and everything has been unfairly taken from her. All she can do is fill the void with every word she reads.