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During World War II, a French girl who is blind and a German boy who is orphaned each find their lives turned upside down. Marie-Laure must flee Paris with her father, leaving behind the safety of all she knows.

Meanwhile, young Werner, who faces a future deep in the coal mines, is recognized for his brilliant mechanical and mathematical skills. He is instead sent to an elite school for training Nazi soldiers. Their paths continue through their separate hardships in this suspenseful and beautifully written literary novel.

Set in a time of war, the novel includes some violent and disturbing portions, but that is not the overriding tone of the book. Doerr brings to life each character’s particular interests, particularly Werner’s inquisitive scientific mind. Fully developed characters create lots of room for pondering morality in a war setting, for asking what absolutes exist, and for reflecting on the sacred nature of human life. (Scribner)

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