Today marked the end of a long journey. Since June, I’ve been slowly working my way throughThe Book Thief, a wondrous story by Marcus Zusak that encompasses everything a book should be.

I realized I could never do a Monday Review for this book. How do you “review” perfection? How would I pretend to be worthy of judging a book such as this?

I have no idea how Marcus Zusak did it, but I can find no fault with it. Nothing I would change, nothing on which to comment.

It’s a story narrated by Death. It is set during World War II, in a poor German village, centered around a poor German girl, who loves and is loved dearly.

Death says, “A small but noteworthy note. I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”

Doesn’t your breathe just catch in your chest? Don’t you just want to jump in and sink to the bottom? It happens over and over and over, which is why it took me so long to read this book. Usually I eat up pages, steamrolling my way through, underlining and writing notes and laughing and crying until suddenly, I’m done.

This one I had to digest slowly. It’s the most delicious, dense flourless chocolate cake you’ve ever had. You have to pause every few bites and breathe.

But I kept going back. I kept picking it back up, wondering what was next, marveling at the mastery of character, words, and above everything else, humanity. I have never experienced a clearer depiction of humanity than this.

This, this is what teenagers should be reading in high schools. This is the book I want young adults exposed to. I have been searching and searching and searching and here it is.

There is a word that I think is overused. It is a wonderful word, but it doesn’t often apply. Here, now, I think I can use it easily:

Extraordinary.

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