All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE is the story of blind girl, Marie-Laure, in occupied France, a gifted boy, Werner, who is forced to enter Hitler’s army, and the hunt for a legendary diamond.
The story is told with beautiful language and settings that burst through the page. Told from the alternating points of view of Marie-Laure, Werner, and supporting characters, the flow of the book takes a bit of getting used to, especially because the book jumps back and forth between different time periods. I’m not sure why zigzagging back and forth over the course of a decade was necessary to tell this story. Yet once I settled in, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE took me through a journey of war and the people it affects, so much so that I lost sight of the major subplot: the search for a legendary diamond.
Throughout the book I was perfectly content experiencing the separate worlds of Marie-Laure and Werner, and yet, the best part of this book was the anticipation of these characters' worlds eventually colliding. The buildup was fantastic and when the two finally intersect…magic.
Technically, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT see is categorized in the genre of historical fiction, and yet given the two teenage main characters, it can certainly be considered literary YA. Marie-Laure and Werner go through the same angst that many teenagers would go through, albeit amongst the backdrop of WWII. I would absolutely recommend this book to YA readers interested in historical fiction.