I had the hardest time trying to figure out what to rate this. The writing was amazing to me, even though there is a stange sparseness to the dialogue, which I wondered while reading if it was due to the German to English translation or if that was how the author intended it to be. The characters were incredibly detailed and completely realistic. The story not only captured my total attention, but it pulled feelings and emotions out of me that I didn't want to willingly give up. So, good writing, check, excellent characterization, check, great job of drawing out my emotions, check... why is this not a five star read? Abel and Anna's story is a heart-breaking one. It goes to places that I don't normally ever want to go with the normal fare that I read. It makes me feel uncomfortable and gets under my skin in a way that I can't draw it out. I finished this book at around 2 in the morning, thinking I could still get a couple hours of good sleep. Nope. I tossed and turned thinking about it. I woke up too early this morning and was still thinking about it as I ate my breakfast and got myself ready for the day. I feel heartbroken, but it wasn't the ending that caused the heartbreak(even though the ending will do that to you too) it was the thing that happens about two thirds of the way in. I am still agonizing over it. I keep asking myself WHY WHY WHY did that have to happen, why did the author have to let that happen? Did she think I would get over it? Unfortunately, I couldn't, I never can and that is why I can't give it five stars. Would I recommend this to anyone? I don't know. I can't in good conscience direct someone towards heartache however, I think that the books that leave you heartbroken or disturbed are also, sometimes, the ones that make you a better person because you take something from it, however harsh it may be, of the world that you didn't have with you before.