Claire for leading me to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - it had been on my reading radar for a while but I wasn't truly tempted to pick it up until I had read her review. This is an amazing book to read but it is also a work of art - the narrative interspersed with photos, drawings and print techniques which add, rather than detract from the story.
The main character of the story is nine year old Oskar Schell - a bright, intelligent and curious boy living in post 9/11 New York with his mother with his grandmother across the street. Oskar's father was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the story focuses on Oskar's attempt to somehow come to terms with the loss of his father and the huge impact his death has had on his family.
The character of Oskar is really the key to the success of this story - this is a boy who you can't help but empathise with - his pain is so acute and yet his humour and intelligence are still thriving - you want Oskar to somehow survive this trauma and make it out the other side.
I finished reading this book so long ago now that my memories of the intricacies of the plot have faded a little - but what hasn't dimmed is the emotional reaction I had while reading this book - sadness at the story being told but joy at the reading pleasure I was experience. You have to read this one for yourself.