What It’s About: A cursed jewel, a locksmith, a blind girl who traces wooden streets in her room to navigate the real ones. A radio program, a boy and his sister who listen in the dark, an army of boys chasing the weakest, a boy who loves bird. Marie Laure is twelve when the Germans occupy Paris, and with her locksmith father who works at the Museum of Natural History, they flee to Saint-Malo to stay with her Great Uncle. With them they might carry a cursed and coveted jewel. Werner is a gifted German teenager who can build radios and attends a prestigious Hitler Youth school where he loses sight of himself. Werner spends the war tracking down illegal radio broadcasts, which leads him to Saint-Malo.
Who Will Love It: Everyone? It’s literary historical fiction, but can be loved by those who don’t usually read from either genre. Humanity is captured so beautifully in this novel that it’s bound to hold mass appeal. Comparisons to The Book Thief are inevitable, not just because of a story of war and children during WWII, but because the characters have depth and the story is more than a war story: it’s about the best and worst of humanity.
What I Loved: The writing is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking and inspiring. Every single character is well written and memorable. The story grabs hold of you and makes you crumble by the end. This thought provoking story showcases the convergence between hope and tragedy, darkness and light.