*Starred Review* Here are the five Dunbar brothers: reliable Matthew, the oldest and the eloquent narrator of this extraordinary book; incorrigible Rory; Puck, with a pair of fists; Henry, who—with a talent for making money—knows the odds; Clay, the fourth son and protagonist, is "the best of us," according to Matthew; and youngest Tommy, the animal collector. Their mother is dead, and their father has fled, until, one day, he returns to ask for help building a bridge. Only Clay agrees to help, and their bridge quickly assumes symbolic value. Zusak (The Book Thief, 2006) offers up a narrative that is really two stories: one of the present, the story of the bridge and of Clay's love for the girl across the street; and the second of the past, occupied by the boys' childhood and stories that Clay loves—The Iliad, The Odyssey. The tone is sometimes somber and always ominous, leaving readers anxious about the fates of these characters whom they have grown to love. Zusak pushes the parameters of YA in this gorgeously written novel: a character has scrap-metal eyes; rain is like a ghost you could walk through. In the end, it always comes back to Clay, that lovely boy, as a neighbor calls him. A lovely boy and an unforgettably lovely book to match. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A national author tour, insane marketing, and an initial 500,000 print run await Zusak's first novel since his critically acclaimed, best-selling The Book Thief. Expect another sensation. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.