Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. 2006.
This book received a starred review in School Library Journal and does deserve this distiction.
This book is narrated by Death. The story takes place in Nazi Germany. Leisel is essentially abandoned by her mother, and lives with foster family near Munich. She is taken care of by them, but she does miss her mother. She learns to love books even though she doesn't have any. She begins her life of crime so that she can steal books so she has something to read. Leisel's family is not a member of the Nazi party. They even hide a Jew in their basement, and he is never detected by some miracle. Essentially, this story is about WWII and the struggles everyone endured during that time.
This was a very long book-- over 500 pages. There is a signifant time committment here, but it is totally worth it. The story is compelling, and even though we all know about WWII, it is still interesting to hear about one individual's experiences.My only quibble with this book, much like I am the Messenger is that they aren't YA books. They are certainly appropriate for YAs, but they are definitely not YA books. They are most definitely adult books. But, whatever. Highly recommended for advanced YA readers interested in WWII or historical fiction.