All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This wonderful book follows the stories of Marie-Laure, a blind french girl, and Werner, a German orphan before and in the midst of World War II. Their stories and lives are so different but each so interesting and both characters are easily lovable, and when they inevitably meet each other, a relationship sparks between them, showing care and a humane sense of goodness to help each other ignoring the fact that their countries are at war, from which both have lost people close to them.
I found this book fascinating, as it tells a war story but from a different angle and one that isn't often done, especially from a blind french girl's perspective. I loved both Marie-Laure and Werner so much, and although they are obviously different, they are also quite similar in some ways. I did find that jumping in and out of different years confusing at some points, but it did make the whole story far more interesting, and I thought that the chapters towards the end of the book, in much later years had a huge and powerful effect on the story.
Interesting elements of the time were also subtly incorporated into the story, such as the use of radio technology, music and society. Some of this is also delivered from the perspective of a blind girl, so you experience how she got around using her father's models and it is written in a way that you can almost feel what she feels, such as the shells and sand, and I completely understood how wonderful the idea of the sea was to her, yet so terrifying and daunting. I also felt the anger of Werner and his self hatred and grief at losing his friend and his family, and I understood his determination to do something good despite his situation.
The writing. The writing of this author is just phenomenal. I found it so beautiful and perfectly fitting and he manages to use words and phrases that enable you to see exactly what he is describing in such a vivid and fantastic way. His writing is so original and intricate, yet so easy to grasp and understand. 'As quick as a swallow' is one simile that really made me smile; I just think it is so simple but so pure and elegant.
Overall, this book made such an impression on me and I often think a lot of war stories are quite similar and they don't always appeal to me, (that being said, Goodnight Mister Tom is my favourite book!), but this one I found different and original, and so beautifully moving. I would, and already have recommended this book to quite a few people, and would certainly recommend it to a lot of different personality types, as I feel it has the capacity to be a very broadly loved book.
Keep smiling! :-)