I had purchased The Book Thief two summers ago and started reading it in the car while waiting for my girls to get done with cross country practice. Then school happened. Reading too sporatic and disjointed. So I picked the book up again--but I had to reread the first 150 pages.
Wow! Why did I ever stop reading this book?!?!? It is such an awesome story, but the way it is told lifts it to another level. The narrator, Death, tells the story of a young German girl during WWII. Given the timeframe of the setting, the narrator Death, and the sheer length--this novel will not be that uplifting, mindless read I sometimes crave. Students have a renewed interest in the novel since the movie just came out. I am hesitant to recommend this book to my students because I think most will get frustrated. A few of my higher-level, avid readers completed it and loved it.
I am reading another Markus Zusak (brief author info) novel--The Messenger--that absolutely would not be appropriate for junior high students (sexual content and foul language). If I have a student that wants to read this novel, I secure their parents' permission because of the language used (though most of the swearing is uttered in German).