Gritty, grownup, and gripping. Markus Zusak novels gives YA a punch in the gut.

I finished The Book Thief a few months ago, but I waited to chat about it until I readThe Messenger, Markus Zusak’s earlier novel.

Let me be up front here–this is heavy duty, mature material. But let me also say that this is exactly the kind of reading I’d love to see more teens take on.

There’s nothing wrong with all the fun dystopian and paranormal trilogies out there. Heck, I eat them up too. But these two books by Zusak accomplish something that is phenomenal–high entertainment coupled with imaginative writing that feels like a picture is being painted. Oh, and the books make you think too, but not until you’ve thoroughly enjoyed them.

Again–this is some grownup stuff. Both novels feature mature language, and The Messenger also talks pretty candidly about sex. But there’s something about these that make them special. Messenger is set in present day Australia; Thief takes place in WWII Germany. But Zusak’s impressionistic writing style is evident in both.

Check’em out here.

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