I picked up this book at an airport bookseller after my eReader made a spectacular (and final) crash that took all of my books with it. I needed something to kill time due to flight delays, and this book sounded intriguing.
It's not often that I finish a 550-page book in two days, but I surely did with this one. The plot is a real page-turner: a young girl, Liesel, is being fostered in Nazi Germany by a rather unusual family. At age 10, she is still illiterate, so her house-painter foster father teaches her how to read. She is still working on the project when the family begins sheltering/hiding a Jewish man, Max, who also helps teach her a great many things. There is no money for books, so occasionally Liesel will steal one -- including one from a book-burning. And the narrator? Well, I'll not give that away ... but the perspective is a fascinating one.
Zusak not only creates an interesting character in Liesel, but the people around her are believable as well. Her friends in the village (as well as those who are not her friends) each reveal themselves and their concerns over the course of the tale.
This is a surprisingly fast read for a book of its length. The plot is interesting, albeit sometimes disturbing, and the conclusion is more than satisfactory. Highly recommended.