I picked up this novel at the end of last school year. (I tried reading it a couple of years ago, but never got but fifty pages into it). I read the book while simultaneously doing the audio book when in the car. Though the audio book was well done, the novel itself is much better--and some of it is lost in the audio book.
I suspect Cornelia Funke's Inkheart is loved at a different level for bibliophiles than for casual readers. First, it is a book about the love of books (well . . . partially). It discusses the excitement of seeing, feeling, and smelling books (makes me wonder how this translates to the e-reader generation). Second, each chapter starts with a quote from a familiar book. I loved trying to guess from where the quote came and how the quote would tie into the chapter. The casual reader will love the mystery and adventure this rather lengthy book contains.
Personally, I thought the book went on a little too long. The sheer length may be a turn-off for some adolescent readers. For me, I don't think I will invest the time to read the other two book in this trilogy; however, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to a compatible reader.