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“You cannot help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” More
Summary: Marie-Laure is a 14-year-old blind girl who lives with her father in Paris, France. When the Nazis occupy Germany, they flee to Saint-Malo, taking with them some of the greatest treasure's of France's Museum of Natural History, including the Sea of Flames, a very valuable gems. German orphans Werner and his sister also live in Saint-Malo. The Nazis sent Werner to Saint-Malo to track the activities of the Resistance. Werner, who is fascinated by the world around him, earns a coveted position in a Nazi science regiment training camp. Eventually, their paths cross. What happens next can only be known if you read the book. Although set in Nazi-occupied France, this is a book that is less about war and more about the people who lived there.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 14 and up
Young Reader Reaction: All The Light We Cannot See is a poignant look at the damage the war has done to people. Although the book could have been a bit more concise, I love how the author took his time describing the world around the two characters and their inner thoughts. The author presents a hauntingly tortured life in these characters, even though they were never in the Holocaust. It shows that it was not only Jews who had the worst of it in World War II. This book is for more mature readers or teenagers 14 and up, as the language is PG-13. If you like stories during World War II, then definitely buy this book.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Haunting, poignant, and memorable. Werner and Marie-Laure and the events of their lives will stay with you a long time after you finish this book.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book you'll want to read slowly and hug when you're done.
Educational Themes: There are many, many layers to this story that can be explored. From life in France in World War II; choices and consequences; and facing challenges, among others. This is an exceptional selection for a book club or classroom read aloud.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - Historical Fiction, World War II, France
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.