Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 357
From the Stacks #5 , 2nds Challenge #3

I read, loved and recommended The Book Thief like crazy. I wasn’t sure that anything else by the same author could hold up, but this one was wonderful too. It’s very different from The Book Thief, but once again Zusak has written a book with its own unique atmosphere and cadence. There are so many wonderful phrases and moments in this that I could have easily flagged even more quotes than I did.

19 year old Ed Kennedy is an underage taxi driver who is a bit of a loser. He lives in a shack with a smelly old dog that was his dad’s. His mother continually berates him and tells him how he’s not as good as his brother. He spends many evenings playing cards (poorly, of course) with his friends. He’s hopelessly in love with his friend and co-worker, Audrey.

The book opens with Ed and his friends on the floor in the middle of a bank robbery. Ed becomes an unwitting hero and soon he starts receiving odd messages on playing cards. It’s difficult to explain what happens without giving away too much of the story. It’ll be much better for you to experience it right along with Ed.

I love the way Zusak writes. Nearly every page holds a gem.

Why can’t the world hear? I ask myself. Within a few moments I ask it many times. Because it doesn’t care, I finally answer, and I know I’m right. It’s like I’ve been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask.

When her hands reached out and poured the tea, it was as if she also poured something into me while I sat there sweating in my cab. It was like she held a string and pulled on it just slightly to open me up. She got in, put a piece of herself inside me, and left again.

She looks at the swings, and I can see she’s imagining what they’d look like if the kids weren’t there. The guilt of this holds her down momentarily. It appears to be there constantly. Never far away, despite her love for them.

I realize that nothing belongs to her anymore and she belongs to everything.

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say
Just in what they are.