The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Book - 2013
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Oct 26, 2019

552 pages

Oct 25, 2019

Beauty and brutality. This story gives both in addition to some genuinely funny moments. We look back at history and judge all but that’s easy do. This is a story of beautiful people living through the worst 4 years of the 20th century. The end of this book is hard to read, if you don’t get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye I worry for your soul. I know some will read it and think it’s pure fantasy to think that Nazi Germany had no beauty, that all who lived through it were complicit. It’s not so black and white though. I choose to believe there was a Rudy Steiner and a Liesel Meminger.

Oct 25, 2019

Beauty and brutality. This story gives both in addition to some genuinely funny moments. We look back at history and judge all but that’s easy do. This is a story of beautiful people living through the worst 4 years of the 20th century. The end of this book is hard to read, if you don’t get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye I worry for your soul. I know some will read it and think it’s pure fantasy to think that Nazi Germany had no beauty, that all who lived through it were complicit. It’s not so black and white though. I choose to believe there was a Rudy Steiner and a Liesel Meminger.

Oct 12, 2019

I can definitely see why The Book Thief is such a crowd pleaser. It was such a brilliant idea to think “outside the box” and have Death himself narrate. Death provides wonderful humour and helps make the book a bit more interesting to read. This book accurately demonstrates how life was during World War Two and the struggles everyone had gone through. Liesel is just a little girl when she has to face the whole world on her own. As readers, we grow up with Liesel and experience her daily life alongside her. This book was beautifully written and I would rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Definitely a must read for those who haven’t and I highly recommend it!
@SpookyCat of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Oct 12, 2019

And others by him...particularly the trilogy underdogs...

Sep 01, 2019

So good. The book has a unique formatting. It gives you details and hides details. Definitely a must read.


The Book Thief is a highly acclaimed historical fiction; I can see why. It tells the story of Liesel Memminger, a girl living in Nazi Germany. The tone and writing style are incredibly unique because it is narrated by death, causing it to have a very refreshing perspective. Death the narrator would very often “spoil” what is going to happen, but it is done so cleverly that it does not diminish our interest at all, in fact it elevates it. Throughout the book, we get to see Liesel grow up; as her understanding of the world matures, we the readers also get a more comprehensive view on all the aspects, mainly the political state, of her time. Although this book is pretty long, its pacing is still very balanced. The plot and the characters are so real and all the emotions and atmosphere are depicted wonderfully. A friend told me about this book and I’m so happy that I took the time to read it. I would recommend it to anyone searching for a great read. 4.5/5. Cathy, grade 10, of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Jul 26, 2019


Jul 24, 2019

Quietly thoughtful, infinitely profound.

Jun 08, 2019

Excellent writing, lovely story. Markus Zusak's brilliant move having the 'Grim Reaper' narrate the book knocks this one out of the park. My eyes were misty by the end.

Groszerita May 26, 2019

Death is the narrator. Enough said.

May 04, 2019

loc 3038

Apr 02, 2019

Solid read, not sure about the message
A young girl uses stolen books to distract herself from the reality of living in Nazi Germany in WWII while hiding a Jewish man in her basement.
It is incredibly difficult to know how to review this book. The second half moves along at a much quicker pace and with much higher stakes. The book is narrated by Death / Grim Reaper, and the chapter headings give glimpses of what is to come. There are some red herrings near the end, implying one ending while leading to another, but overall it is pretty solid. The characters are lively, the girl is outstanding, and there are glimpses of her family that offer rare moments of joy and love. And it moved me to tears at the end.
It is hard to accept the implied message that "most Germans were good / nice", it was just the Nazis that were bad people. And even the storyline written by the Jewish man in the basement is that it is all because of the Fuhrer, that Hitler is the only truly evil one. There are parts of it that read like almost an apology for Nazism rather than a sense of accountability for the nation's deeds. The extra materials at the end tell how the author was inspired by his grandparents' accounts of the ordinariness (in some ways) of the war in Germany for Germans - something that happened around them, or to them, not committed by them. In terms of the writing, the first half is a bit slow and dull, and the constant foreshadowing is repetitive and annoying at the start, less so at the end. The caricature of the mother is ridiculous; she only becomes human near the end. Finally, and this is a bit of a spoiler, the story ends rather abruptly, leaving out a huge opportunity to tell some more story. I know this book is aimed at teens and is hugely popular, but I would not wants someone relying on this book as their only source of history.
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media.

Apr 02, 2019

The Book Thief is about a young lady, Liesel, experiencing childhood in Germany in the midst of World War II. Liesel is living with non-permanent parents, Hans and Rosa. All through the story, Liesel takes numerous books. At first, she doesn't realize how to peruse, however she realizes that the book is critical. Hans notification and shows her how to comprehend the letters.

Hans and Rosa are not Jewish, yet they don't concur with the Nazi routine and secretly battle against it by concealing a Jewish kid, Max, in their cellar. Their enemy of Nazi feelings remain a mystery until one day Hans helps a Jew who is attempting to stay aware of the gathering as they're being walked to a death camp. Accordingly, the troopers whip the two Hans and the man he made a difference.

Hans is stressed that this occurrence will attract doubt to his family and that Max is never again safe in his storm cellar, so he sends him away. After Max leaves, Liesel is given a book he made her, 'The Word Shaker,' which he expounded on their kinship and a guarantee that they will be brought together. Hans is then drafted into the German armed force where he winds up breaking his leg and is sent home to recover.

Shockingly, Max was not ready to get away from the Nazis, and Liesel sees him being walked through town one day on his way to the inhumane imprisonment. As the war proceeds, Liesel is given a clear journal to keep in touch with her story in. She names it 'The Book Thief.'

One day her neighborhood is shelled, and Hans, Rosa, and her companion Rudy are altogether killed. In the rubble, Liesel deserts her book. After the war closes and the Jews are liberated, Max returns to discover Liesel, and they are joyfully rejoined. The book closes with Liesel moving to Australia, having a family, and living to a ready maturity.

Feb 11, 2019

Profoundly beautiful. This is a book everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.

Jan 25, 2019

Death has no expectations and it doesn't need a reason. It takes away the souls of those who have the will to live and those who silently whisper to take them away. In this book, death has a story. A story about a book thief who lived during the times of nazi Germany. A German by birth, she finds herself conflicted with emotions when her papa hides a Jew in their basement as a payback to his friend who saved his life but lost his own.
This story is so absorbing and the characters are so beautifully developed that you can almost reach out and walk in their footsteps. I smiled and I cried while reading this book. I read and then reread it and I can honestly say, it got even better the second time around.

Jan 16, 2019

Librarian Reads Challenge 2019

Jan 06, 2019

This is not a bad book, but the only reason I finished it is that I finish every book I start.

It wasn't the plot. The plot has all the elements needed for a good story. The main characters are complex and stuck in an interesting (and horrible) situation.

It wasn't the characters. Objectively speaking, the main characters were all nuanced and ought to have been interesting.

I'm fairly certain it was the writing style - particularly the choice of narrator. I can understand that having the story told from the point of view of Death emphasizes the tragic disregard for life in Nazi Germany. I can appreciate that it was a creative choice. The problem was that telling the story from such a dispassionate third party perspective (but still in first person?!) prevented me from connecting to the characters. I ought to have become emotionally invested in Leisel's story, but I didn't. I just turned the pages because I was supposed to. I think the secondary culprit was that the choice of narrator allowed the author to jump around at times and/or insert "foreshadowing" remarks, and parts of the story were therefore quite disjointed.

In all honesty, the last 20 pages or so did a better job of captivating me and I considered bumping the rating up by one star for them - but a book as long as this needs to have more than 20 pages that make me care.

Dec 14, 2018

I picked up this book by chance one day - all because I wanted to check out a book with an author with a Z name. This was one of the luckiest things I did; it led me to this book. "The Book Thief" pulled me in from the very first pages and had me in a constant state of streaming tears - but also filling me in with so much hope. I love to read - and this book shows the power of reading stories, sharing stories, and making time to create your own - even if no-one thinks you capable of doing so.

Even though this book is narrated by Death, Markus Zusak paints such a vivid, detailed, enthralling world that you still never see any of the twists coming. It's also a wonderful, educating portrayal of the other side of World War II. After reading so many books about World War II - set from the perspective of a concentration camp survivor - it was enlightening to see the point of view of citizens who had to live with the nightmare of that knowledge.

Nov 03, 2018

A sophisticated read. The author conveys a powerful and realistic message through intricate words. This book made me think about how Death is the key to life, and friendships can be found in the strangest places. This book effectively shows how inhumane and dangerous war is. I now believe that words are extremely powerful, and the author even includes real-life evidence to show this. Books like this should become a staple of our daily reads, not just because they are good, but they teach us what being alive really means. I would recommend this book to everyone as an essential to read.

This is a great book. A young German girl comes to live with foster parents during World War II. Not only does she learn about the world, but also life lessons during Germany’s darkest time. She befriends many around her, including a Jewish man who comes to hide in the family’s basement during the war. Liesel yearns to learn more her surroundings. Encouraged by her foster father; she takes to innovative ways to acquire books. A young boy also steals her attention. All of this is told dramatically and explored through Liesel’s mind, but as a twist, personified death is the narrator. A definite favourite for historical fiction. (submitted by SMC)

Sep 18, 2018

The Book Thief is a thought-provoking novel set in Nazi Germany. The narrator is Death himself, which was surprising but not unpleasant or morbid, and I believe that this was a good choice on the author's part. The picture painted by the words of Death, based on the words of the Book Thief herself that he carries around with him, is grim yet hopeful as the Book Thief watches her world crumble away only to be rebuilt by people she is unsure of. Her story has its ups and downs, and though there are moments when sadness and despair creep up, there are also moments of unparalleled joy and delight, which are things that occur in everybody's lives at some point or another.

I would recommend 'The Book Thief' to anybody who enjoys realistic historical fictions, the story of Nazi Germany, or even those who like a good coming-of-age story. With rich characters and a believable narrative, this book is a highly enjoyable read.

Aug 30, 2018

This was quite the read. The movie trailer prompted my interest, so when I spotted this book I knew I had to pick it up.

The story telling is slightly different from what I am use to. The story is narrated by "Death" and then we see the story told from Liesel's point of view for the most part. This is the story of what it may have been like for a young girl growing up in the increasingly dominating Nazi Germany. As the years roll along, we see the increase in power of the Nazi party and the influence they wield amongst the people. Liesel and her foster parents are caught in the middle of it.

It starts off with Liesel picking up her first book....and from there she learns to read and appreciate books as the years go by and tension against the Jewish and any literature against the "teachings" of the Nazi is banned, confiscated or burned. War time is never easy for anyone, but we got a glimpse of Liesel and the other children being children here and there (playing soccer, getting into mischief, etc).

I especially enjoyed how Liesel found ways to describe what is happening in the outside world while poor Max is forced to hide in their basement. The description of the clouds, the sun and the weather. Plus all the little souvenirs she brought back and told stories about were really neat. The book and stories that Max wrote and drew was really interesting, honest and provided a glimmer of hope in a bleak period of history.

In actuality Liesel didn't really steal that many books, and most of the books she "stole" had very interesting and unusual titles for sure. There were a few parts of the story that seemed to drag on a little too long, but still an enjoyable and interesting read.

Aug 26, 2018


Jul 06, 2018

Writing perfection. Genius narrator idea. Amazing unforgettable story. Doesn’t matter that I cried...the book was fascinating because of all the unique figurative writing and imagery by Death, the narrator. In my opinion....this is a must read for all ages.

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