Anthony Doerr's 2014 novel "All the Light We Cannot See" takes place in Europe during World War II, but it is less about the war and more about the toll the war takes on young lives. The book follows Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind girl who flees to Saint-Malo when the Nazis invade Paris; and Werner Pfennig, a teen boy conscripted into the German army. The narrative alternates between the lives of the two teenagers until their paths briefly cross near the end of the book.

The youths react to the war in different countries and in different circumstances - Marie-Laure as a French refugee and Werner as a German soldier. They connect only because Werner's superiors assign him to find a diamond that Marie-Laure's father hides.

Doerr makes us believe the characters and feel their fears and frustrations. His style is pleasant and flowing. Here are a few examples:

"Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever."

"His voice is low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers."

"Every hour, she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world."

The reader sees the war through the eyes of the innocents caught up in its violence and tragedy. It is a story of despair and resilience and survival.

It is beautiful and gut-wrenching.