I have no idea where I read about this book, but, most likely, it was on Goodreads. This story, originally written in German, is a compelling, heart-wrenching read. The tale concerns Anna, a high schooler who is about to graduate. She is an only child who is obedient, studious, a little lonely and feels she lives in a bubble. The day she finds a child’s doll beneath a couch in the student study room her life changes forever.
Abel, who is known around the school as a drug dealer, claims the doll belongs to his young sister. Intrigued, Anna follows Abel to witness him picking up his sister from school and taking her to the local university to eat in the student cafeteria. Not knowing what to make of this, Anna follows them inside, buys some food, then silently works her way over to where they are eating. Sitting quietly behind Abel, she hears him weave a story for his little sister that both girls find absolutely mesmerizing.
Anna is completely drawn to Abel. Who is he? Where are his parents? What is his story? Is he dangerous? How can someone be so fiercely protective and loving one minute and so distant and cold the next? Will Anna be able to discover Abel’s secrets? More importantly, will he trust her with them? After Abel’s mother, a disturbed and selfish alcoholic, disappears, Abel is determined to take care of his half-sister, Micha. However, when Micha’s abusive father returns and is killed, what is Anna to think?
When a book is translated from another language, how can the author be sure that it conveys the emotion, drama and resonance that was originally intended? I hope that Ms. Michaelis is thrilled with this English version, as it is one of the most moving books I have read this year. Equal parts exciting, horrifying, tender and heart-breaking, this book will stay with you forever. As the fairy tale that Abel tells unfolds, it reveals the true story of his life, Micha’s life and now Anna’s life, too.
5 of 5 Stars
Ages: 14 and Up
Genre: Young Adult
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis was published on January 1, 2012 by Amulet Books.
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