Book Reviews of The Book Thief

The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
ISBN-13: 9780375831003
ISBN-10: 0375831002
Publication Date: 3/14/2006
Pages: 560
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 293

4.4 stars, based on 293 ratings
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

165 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Book Thief on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 26
The Book Thief is set in Germany during World War 2 but it tells a side to the story that you don't often hear. The story is about Lisel and her foster parents, non-Jewish Germans who don't belong to the Nazi party but they must pretend to in order to protect thier own lives. Death is the narrator and he's tired of his job. Zusak's characters are so rich I cared about every single one and cried at the end. Although this book is categorized as young adult fiction I think it can be appreciated by people of all ages and cultures. It was my introduction to Markus Zusak and I will definitely read more of his work.
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 21
When a twelve-year-old girl came up to me crying and asking me if I wanted to borrow this book, I couldn't refuse. She had just finished the story and was so struck by it that she wanted to pass it on for someone else to read. I was hesitant when left alone with the book, as it wasn't really my genre, but as I progressed into it I was amazed by how heartbreakingly beautiful it was.

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl who is raised in Germany during World War II. Her life is torn apart when her mother sends her to a foster home and then loses contact with her. When she first arrives at her new home on Himmel Street, she is haunted by the death of her six year old brother and struggles with her new surroundings and new family.

Liesel finds herself attracted to books, even though she cannot read, which she "steals" through various conventional and unconventional means. Though books are a continuing theme, this story is more about her realtionships with the people that come into and out of her life.

This book is written in a unique and innovative format. Certain points are differently presented to make them more poignant or draw attention to their importance. In some cases, we get to see the drawings and paintings by the people in Liesel's life.

The whole story is narrated by Death, but not in a tacky way. It seems to present Death as a hopeful yet sad onlooker as he gently carries the souls of the lost away in his arms while keeping an eye on the life of The Book Thief.

The history in this play is mostly accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is a realistic presentation of Germany during the war and of the lives of the people impacted by it. The story is rich and well-told, the ending is devastating and brilliant, and the book is gripping, particularly towards the latter half.

This book is a bestseller, currently ranking at the top of Amazon's children's book list, though this is not a book that I would plass in that category. It is probably one of, if not the best book I have read this year, and I was almost sad to pass it back to the twelve-year-old girl who owned it.

4.8 out of 5. Highly recommended.


http://distilledrose.net
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Don't let the "Young Adult" genre categorization fool you - this is most definitely a book for all adults. It's beautifully written and will stay with you long after you finish.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This book doesn't need any more glowing five star reviews, so I'll keep it brief. It's beautiful. Destined to become a classic. I won't be reposting it, because I'm going to have my wife read it, and then my kids, and then it's going on my shelf to be re-read. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Wonderful. I wasn't even aware that it was for young readers until someone told me about it after I was finished with it. It was hard to put down at times and wonderfully written. Having Death as the narrator was genius.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This book was a wonderful read. So many historical aspects. It was cryptic in the beginning, so I was unsure, but as I kept going it progressed to where I could not put it down. I now have a fascination with trying to read more books like this, especially pertaining to the history of Nazi Germany.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Some books you keep, others you pass on when you finish. I would love to share this book, but can't bear to part with it. One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. The story is one I will never forget. I also do not know why it was classified as a children's book, but know why children should read it. Definitely read it if you can get someone to share it....
reviewed The Book Thief on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A profoundly moving and remarkable story about a young girl living in Germany with a foster family during WWII. The story is told from an interesting point of view, Death, and is one of the best YA books I've read. The foster family takes in Liesel, the protagonist of the story and teaches her to read and write. Other friends will help her deal with the poverty and heartaches of war. I think this is destined to be a classic. I cannot more highly recommend this book!
reviewed The Book Thief on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This was an excellent story about the persecution of the Jewish people during the Nazi's occupation of Germany. The story is narrated by death which gives it a unique point of view. It centers around a little girl who becomes "The Book Thief" out of her curiosity to know more about her heritage. The first few chapters were slow moving but once I got into the book I loved it!

Hilda
reviewed The Book Thief on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I really loved this book. Markus Zusak lets you truly care about the characters, whether it be poor, sweet Liesel, lovable Rudy or accordion-playing Papa, the characters really stick with you for a long time.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 91 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is the best book I've read all year! It's so creatively done, that you won't know what to expect next. I will recommend this book to everyone I know and hope to use it as a book club read in the next few months.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 266 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Liesel is too young to deal with the death of her younger brother, the abandonment of her mother, abject poverty, and also WWII, bombings and the ugliness Hitler introduced into her life (and ours). She's a survivor, and impresses even Death with her strength and her love of words that provide her shelter in her difficult life.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, and the narration was absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 309 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a great fictionialized book about the Holocaust along the line of "The Diary of Anne Frank". It centers on a young German girl during the Holocaust who finds a book at the grave of her brother, and steals it, thus beginning her life of book stealing. It's about words, and how powerful they can be to change people's lives for the good and bad. Narrated by "death" in the 3rd person, it's about 3 love stories, over 4 generations of the lives of ordinary people. Tho it is brutally tragic, it is also uplifting. This book has received numerous awards and will probably become a classic.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 900 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The Book Thief is such a good read. I liked the narrator (death) very much and Liesl, the heroine. The story is based on an interview the author had with people who told him what it was like to live under Hitler's reign when you were not supportive of him and his policies. To understand what an average German family must have endured during that period The Book Thief addresses their lives, thoughts and emotions. The child, Liesel, enters school and seems unable to learn to read. Through the patient efforts of her "Papa," a gentle, caring individual, she begins to learn after stealing a book at her brother's grave. Her "Mother," a loud individual who yells at those she loves rather than express her emotions in more gentle ways, is almost as interesting. As Liesl begins to collect words, she steals more and more books. The story is simple yet complex. "Papa" and "Mama" are Liesl's foster parents. This is a quick stimulating read. Very, very good.
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of my favorite books. Death is so interesting. That sounds weird, but since the book is written from Death's perspective, it really isn't weird. I was engaged from the beginning to the very last page. The copy I read was a library book and I've been wanting to own it ever since. I hope someone gives up a copy.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
My heart is still racing. Perhaps it is still breaking. This novel is the most devastating, heartbreaking, thought provoking book I have read in years. It is powerful and beautiful and astounding. I read all 550 pages over the course of approximately 36 hours and the characters are still spinning around my head and heart. Markus Zusak has written a masterpiece. Truly. From the narration by Death to the relationships between Liesel and all the various characters, there was not a single misstep. Simply amazing. This is a book that should be required reading for all of humanity
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 3
This is officially one of the most powerful and stunningly beautiful books I've ever read. I was skeptical at first, thinking that using Death as the narrator would end up cliche and empty. However, Zusak performed admirably! He managed to create a Death character who is completely fresh and re-invented. His compassion and confusion constantly shines through and you end up yearning to befriend him. "The Book Thief" will restore your faith in humanity and the power of good. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you can't find someone to share it, it is definitely worth buying. You probably won't be able to part with it, either.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 371 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A long book - a slow book - a painful book - BUT - a moving book - a though-provoking book - a beautiful book.
How the author (who is Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors) managed to write a book about Nazi Germany that sympathized with both the Jews and the "common" German people is beyond me. I don't think I'd ever thought of what life must have been like for the poor German people during this time - the ones who didn't approve of what was going on but didn't have the resources to even try to stand up against it. This book is going to haunt me for a long time I think. I find it hard to get many of the images out of my mind.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I loved this book! I started out with the audio book version from my library and really enjoyed the narration. I must say, having Death as the narrator in this story was brilliant. This is one of very few books I've rated 5 stars and one I'll recommend to everyone. I couldn't finish the audio book before it was due back to the library, so I checked out the print version to finish and am so glad I did because the pictures and sketches in there were really great to see. It's hard to recommend one over the other (audio/print) because I loved them both.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 2312 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was another one of those books where I wasn't sure what to expect. I am super glad I read it though! It was a thoroughly entertaining, amusing, and heartbreaking read.

Death is the narrator of this novel in the most literal sense. He follows the story of a young girl Liesel. Liesel is a young girl following a tough road. Her mother, brother and her flee to a small town near Munich. When they get there her brother dies, and her mother takes her to be put into a foster home. Liesel finds a decent home with her foster parents and eventually befriends a young boy named Rudy. This book follows both Liesel's journey and the journey of those around her as they struggle through trying to make a living in Nazi Germany.

This was a fabulous book. Death as a narrator is genius. He is portrayed as a guy who does his job, but doesn't relish in it. He does what needs to be done and survives by looking at things with a dark wit and sardonic nature. Much of the narrative is darkly humorous and witty coming from Death's perspective. Occasionally Death bemoans the fact that Nazi Germany kept him extremely busy and wore him to the bone. Death occasionally gets off topic and rambles about what death a certain side character met, or a time when one of the characters narrowly avoided him. The narrative of Death is not all humor though; he is touched by compassion for humanity and sometimes struggles with the trials he sees humans put through.

Liesel is another fascinating character in what is a vast array of fascinating characters. She starts stealing books before she can even read them. In the end it is her book stealing (and reading) skills that help put the town at ease in a time of trial; in the end it is her book reading that saves her. It was fascinating to watch how Liesel and her friends struggle with being proper Germans in a Nazi Germany. You always here a lot about the races the Nazi's oppressed, but you don't often read about how oppressed the normal German people were under Hilter's thumb. Rudy is, of course, very interesting in his own right as is, Max, the Jew Liesel's family helps hide.

I was really impressed by how much depth and history all of the characters, even minor ones, bring to the story. All of the characters seem so real and you feel for them all. You even feel sorry for Death. Yet at the same time most of the characters look at their lives with a type of dark humor that makes life bearable.

This is a long book and not a quick read; but every page was worth it. The story always has some urgency as things get worse and worse for the townspeople, the Jews, and Germany in general. Towards the end I found myself cringing as I got closer and closer to what I knew wasn't going to be a very happy ending. Keep in mind this is about Nazi Germany, not much ended happy in that time for anyone. At times this book will make you laugh, at times it makes you angry, and at times it will make you cry. It is wonderful for a book to be able to evoke all those emotions, and to be honest the book took a couple days to process after I read it.

I think everyone should read this book. I think everyone's kids should read this book. People need to remember and know what happened in Nazi Germany and this perspective, from a common German girl's viewpoint, is a great way to get a relatively unbiased viewpoint. I will definitely read anything else that Zusak writes; this book is a keeper.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Based on the rave reviews this book has generated, I first tried to read it in print and could not get into it. When I saw it on the audio book shelves at my local library, I thought I'd try listening to it instead. I had problems getting past the first disc, but wanted to give the book a chance. I finished it because I needed to see how it ended, but the journey was painful. I found the book boring and overlong and can't understand what all the fuss was about.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of those books you pick up on a whim. Didn't really think to much about it. Then after I bought it and saw it was for young readers I wanted to return it but I bought it in a small bookstore in another state while travelling.I went ahead and read it...OMG! I read it in 3 or 4 days. It is now one of my top 20 favorate books of all time. Not for young readers (I'm not sure why it was marketed that way) but for anyone really. Very moving and told from a very interesting perspective.
Enjoy!
reviewed The Book Thief on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Liesel Meminger is the book thief. She lives with her foster parents in Germany during World War II. She bonds with her foster father as he slowly teaches her to read. Her love of books will bond her to many other characters including Max, the Jewish man the family is hiding in their basement.

This story is narrated by Death. Although this should be cheesy, Death's perspective seems entirely appropriate given the World War II backdrop of the story. This story is not sugar coated. These are dangerous times. Overall, the subject of this book is heavy and dark, but the characters draw you in and you want to know what they will do and say next.

I really enjoyed this book. It is marketed for Young Adults, but will hold your attention and keep you turning the pages late at night as you promise to go to sleep after reading just one more chapter.
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 2
I loved the book! The development of the characters was seamless and believable. Some parts were heartbreaking but I couldn't put the book down.

Years ago we lived near Dachau and I'll never forget the sculpture at the entrance to the camp. It was a crown of thorns made of barbed wire. The most moving art we've ever seen and seeing the reaction to it of others was very emotional as well.

This book is such a testament to human strength and spirit.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I passed this book many times while browsing the teen section for a good "quick" read. I picked it up a few times and read the back and thought that it wouldn't be interesting enough for me. I did the usual judge the book by the cover. How wrong indeed I was! I saw a review on here and decided to give it a go. It definitely is an amazing book. I could not put it down and soon became consumed by it until the end. It is one of those books that stays with you a long time after you read it.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
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reviewed The Book Thief on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
For a book directed towards children, I found this book to be surprisingly grown up and a beautiful story. I truly did love it. Set in Nazi Germany, the book focused mostly on the beauty that survived this terrible regime. It moved me to tears. The narrator as Death worked wonderfully. My only complaint is that I would've liked to learn more about Liesel's life after the book ended...
reviewed The Book Thief on
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of the most wonderful and moving books I've ever read. Zusak's power of description is something that I've never witnessed in a book. I can't even begin to explain his use of written word; it was genius. Also, the story being told from Death's point of view was so unusual. I thought it would be morbid but it was actually quite beautiful.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 215 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I don't even know if it is possible to describe in words just how remarkable and tragic this book is. We've all read books focused on World War II, I'm sure, but there has never been one quite like this. For fear of giving too much away, I won't go into great detail or anything here, except to say that the movie (if you've seen it or plan to do so) is an excellent representation of the book, though with many parts left out, of course. The characters are gripping, the story intriguing and heartbreaking, and the usage of Death as the narrator executed believably and flawlessly. This book sucks you in, tears you apart, and leaves you loving every minute of it. More than that, while being a fairly easy read in terms of the vocabulary, it's extremely heavy in terms of content, with a great deal there to think about long after you have finished reading. In short, this book will haunt you for quite a long time after you think you have finished with it. On that note, I cannot recommend it enough. Please, read it, but keep the tissues handy when you do.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 334 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Wow. It's about all I can say. Not many books actually deserve to be on the New York Times Bestseller list, which makes it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it's easy to see why this one is up there. Well deserving of 5 stars, as well as all the awards it has garnered, this moving and absorbing tale about a young girl in Nazi Germany who steals books shows a different side of the war. The narration by Death gives it an unusual poignancy mixed with a matter-of-factness that seems fitting. It will make my top 10 for the year, no question. I can't do justice to in a short review - READ IT.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
As Death, the narrator, is haunted by humans, I am haunted by this book. I don't think I have ever read a book that has touched me as deeply as this book. The poetry of the language is a marvel, the story itself is mesmerizing and the characters are beautifully conceived. This is a difficult book to read at times; the depiction of Nazi Germany and all that entails, but it is also uplifting and joyous. Don't let the fact that this is marketed as a young adult book deter you from reading. It is a great read for adults.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 173 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a gem of a book. If you are a member of PBS - you probably have a little bit of Leisl Meminger in you. It is heart wrenching, touching and in a way magical to read about Leisl's life in WWII Germany.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The Book Thief is the story of Leisel Meminger, a young German girl sent to live with a foster family at the start of WWII. The narrator of this tale is Death, who first comes in contact with Leisel when he comes to take her younger brother. Despite repeated trys to stay away from Leisel. Death cannot resist her and keeps a close watch on her life, and that of her friends and family. As the years progress Leisel's family becomes the reluctant protector of the Jewish man Max, who they hide in their basement.

With wonderfully drawn characters, from the kind hearted âPapa' Hans, the tart tongued âMama' Rose, the lemon haired Rudy, the bitter Max and The Book Thief herself, Leisel, this book will make you laugh, make you cry and make you want to read the book again, immediately after the last page. This is the book I am recommending to everyone.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I'm a fan of historical fiction and WWII stories, and this is by far one of the best I've read. I was a little slow with it at first because the style of writing is very unique, and telling a story from Death's point of view made it even more different. After pushing through the first couple of sections and adjusting to Zusak's style of writing, I flew right through the book.

I'd recommend this book to anyone -- it's a great way to understand other peoples' points of view who were not supporting Hitler, and what life was like.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This has got to be one of the best books that I've read in a long time... The authors writing was fabulous... I'm thinking of adding this to my keeper pile!
reviewed The Book Thief on + 106 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Listed as a young adult selection, this is a book that all should read. Nazi Germany from an entirely different perspective, and a great reminder that we can all make a difference in someone's life no matter what our age or how horrific the times. This is a brilliant illustration of how even small steps will make a difference.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Extraordinary- I have read thousands of books and this ranks as one of the best ever written!
reviewed The Book Thief on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My Rating: 5 stars isn't enough!

How do I, as a book blogger, review a book that is wrought with so much emotion and so much angst and turmoil that I was sobbing by the end of the book? How can I adequately put into words how much of an impact this book had on me as a human being? I honestly don't know if it is possible to review this book effectively, but I'll give it my best shot!

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, especially of events in and around World War II. The Holocaust was an absolutely horrifying event in our world's history (and horrifying is putting it mildly), but I am, for whatever reason, drawn towards these types of fictional and non-fictional accounts of WWII. I don't know why. I break down crying every time I read a book about this time period, but I continue to seek out more of it. I wish I could explain it.

The Book Thief is a unique story in that it is narrated by Death. I was a bit leery at first because I wasn't sure how this type of narration would play out through the entire novel. I have to say that it worked wonderfully and I can't imagine the book told in any other way, without losing the power and overall feeling of the story. From the very first page, Death hooks the reader with His (Her?) account of his many visits to Germany during WWII. But, this story isn't just about Death, even though he was around quite a bit during that time. It is a story about a young German girl named Liesel Meminger, otherwise known as The Book Thief. It is a story about how books can help a person survive in a period of utter despair. It is a story of relationships; of love; of friendship; and of the power of the written word.

I've written and re-written this review many times. I've decided not to go into any details because I don't want to give away the magic of the novel. It is spellbinding, but heart-wrenching. It is a book that must be experienced first-hand. No review could possibly do it justice.

I will leave it at that.

Jennifer
http://www.crazy-for-books.com
reviewed The Book Thief on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Yikes! I feel like a horrible person for saying I did not really enjoy this book. The writing was really, really distracting with the use of different fonts and font sizes. I guess as an adult I didn't expect Death (the narrator) to be so...immature? I did catch the sadness and the quiet horror of the book. Perhaps the author was trying to stand out from the crowd of books told from the persepective of a child?
reviewed The Book Thief on + 165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the most powerful book I have read in quite some time. Liesel is a small girl of nine, on a train with her mother and brother to meet her foster parents. She will live with her Papa and Mama on Himmel Street in an impoverished suburb of Munich from 1939 to the end of the war. She is initially illiterate, but Papa lovingly teaches her to read. To relieve the boredom and for the shear love of words, she takes to stealing books - her most precious possessions. The story is narrated by Death, but not in a morbid or morose way at all; instead, Death is rather bemused by humans, and is an observer of the way humans interact. He will even state, "He didn't deserve to die like that."

What this girl learns and experiences during the next five years of her life, as she moves into adolescence during the war in Nazi Germany, is a moving story of love, hardship, compassion and survival.

I must add a note about the writing itself. The author uses words and expressions that are very unique, and I found reading his book delightful.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excepts for the parts where I was tearing up almost too much to read, I barely put this book down. Having death as the narrator manages not to be creepy, but the horrors of War (and especially of WW II) come through loud and clear.
However I'm not sure I would classify it as "young adult". The experiences and environment of young Liesel are more than I would want most 13 year olds to handle. I'm over 60 and it was hard enough for me.
reviewed The Book Thief on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
the story is about liesel meminger, a jewish girl fostered by a german couple in germany during/before world war II. and quite uncommonly, death is the narrator of the story. interesting read, although there are pages in the book where i felt i was lost. death somehow distracted me, with the way he switches the scenarios and the way he tells it. sometimes i would even experience boredom as some parts were too long.

this book, as we know what holocaust stories are all about, features death and dying, war and other aspects of life such as love, hope, friendship, acceptance and compassion among others. summing it up, it's a good story.

what really tugged my heart, almost to a point where i cried, was liesel's friendship with rudy steiner and their "kiss". it was, for me, the most beautiful and at the same time, the most painful and saddest part of the story.
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We all know how this era of history ends. A sweet book with heart and soul. Hard to start, death's introduction take a couple of pages to digest. Then you're attached to these characters and thier place in fictional history. This book has a permanent place on my top ten list.

If you enjoy this book, once you've recovered your emotions, rent "the kid in the striped pajamas".
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One of the best books I have read in a long time. Told from an interesting perspective and really triggers all of your emotions. This one is getting a permanent spot in my personal library!!
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Told from the perspective of Death, and focusing on a small, German town during World War II, the subject matter of "The Book Thief" seemed a little dark for young-adult literature. However, Death narrates with a refreshingly thoughtful perspective on human life. I really enjoyed Deaths input here and there throughout the story.

The Book tells the story of Liesel Memingers life during the war. Shes a young girl at the time, just learning to live in new surroundings, with a new family. She has escaped Death a few times in the past, and has become a sort of quiet obsession for Death throughout her lifetime. Liesels story is tragic at times, and also inspirational. In certain ways, her life is defined by literature. You grow to love Liesel and many of the other characters in this book, as well (even some you may not even like at first). Most of the characters in this story are well developed and plot will keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend this novel.
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From the first page through the last one....this story had me in a firm grip. I could not put the book down.
I found the writer's story telling style very different and unique.
I was sorry when the book ended.
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Excellent, thought provoking book.
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It took me about 20 pages to get used to the concept of "death as narrator". Other than this slight stumbling block, I found this book to be amazing. Completely original. Heartbreaking yet not sappy. Completely engrossing. Wow.

Highly recommended. One of the best books I've read in 2009.
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This book falls into that rare category of good literature combined with a good read.
Set in Germany during WWII, this novel is about an adopted girl (Liesel) growing up in a small town amid the poverty and propaganda of the war. While there are themes of war, survival, and Jewish compassion this book is really about the relationships Liesel forms with her friend, father, townsfolk, and Jewish protectee.

This book is narrated by a very compassionate Grim Reaper who keeps tabs on Liesel amid collecting the souls of the fallen. This adds a very unique element to the book without detracting from the seriousness of the novel.

4 stars out of 5
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Absolutely amazing book, stunning story and beautifully written. It's thought provoking and emotionally engaging, in short everything that a good novel should be. While it is quite sad at times, you'll never regret reading it. The author's skill is also quite astounding, he never makes the mistakes many young adult authors do, and doesn't talk down to the reader. All in all this is an amazing book and definatly a must read for all book lovers.
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Even though this book says its for young adults I think any age will enjoy this book.It is a fascinating story.What caught my attention was that the girl loved to read and she was always looking for a book to read.It sounded just like me.I love the way death narrates the story and we find out what he thinks and feels.I highly recommend this book.
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It took me about a year and a half to get through this book. The plot was not very in depth (although a deep subject) and it didn't keep my interest. I read it b/c of the high rating but I couldn't rate it as high.
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I am loving this book. It is written in a really unique style and even though the subject matter is at times difficult, it has been written in such a way that you can't wait to find out what happens next. I recommend it.
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I enjoyed this book a lot, but won't go so far as to say I loved it. It took a good 200 pages to really get into, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Perhaps I expected to much from this book since I've heard such rave reviews from friends and family.

The narration by the Grim Reaper put an interesting twist into the story-telling as did the sprinkles of foreshadowing throughout the book. Characters were relatable and likable enough. The author's descriptions were vivid.

I'd love a sequel to learn about Liesel's life where this book leaves off.
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The wonderful protagonist of this novel takes books, and gathers friends in Germany during WW II. An inspiring, witty, intelligent book written for young adults. I'm not so young, and I loved it. Did I mention that it is a tear jerker too? A truly memorable book.
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This is one of the most beautiful books i have ever read. I absolutely loved it. I couldnt put it down. Just wonderful. I highly recommend it.
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The Book Thief is the story of Leisel Meminger, a young German girl sent to live with a foster family at the start of WWII. The narrator of this tale is Death, who first comes in contact with Leisel when he comes to take her younger brother. Despite repeated attempts to stay away from Leisel, Death cannot resist her and keeps a close watch on her life, and that of her friends and family. As the years progress Leisels family becomes the reluctant protector of the Jewish man Max, who they hide in their basement.

With wonderfully drawn characters, from the kind hearted Papa Hans, the tart tongued Mama Rose, the lemon haired Rudy, the bitter Max and The Book Thief herself, Leisel, this book will make you laugh, make you cry and make you want to read the book again, immediately after the last page.

This is the book I am recommending to everyone.
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"The Book Thief" is honestly one of the best books I've read in a long time. I was completely engrossed in "The Book Thief" from the very beginning. At first, I was a bit daunted by the fact that the book is 550 pages. But I read the entire book is 6 days (and I'm a slow reader).

"The Book Thief" tells the story of a young girl who grows up in a foster home outside of Munich, Germany during World War II.

I'm hesitant to say much more about "The Book Thief", because I don't want to spoil any part of it. But, I highly highly recommend that you pick up "The Book Thief" as soon as you can.
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A wonderful story read well. I did find the transition from disc 10 to 11 a bit strange. Just roll with it. I will say that at times I cried and at times I cheered. It was a great companion on my long drive alone to visit family.
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Beautiful! I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone.

Narrated by Death itself, this story tells of the life of Liesel, a young German girl who is sent to live with a foster family at the beginning of WWII. Balancing on such a difficult and depressing topic, the story of Liesel presents such an innocence and whimsical view of the political violence and despair surrounding her. Her story had me on an emotional roller coaster from sadness to joy to overall appreciation and gratitude for my own life, family and friends.
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A young Jewish girl in war-ravaged Germany during WWII discovers the joy of reading and develops a reverence for books while in hiding. It seems she'll go to nearly any length to fulfill her newfound passion. This book is quite unique, very well written, nice and thick and will keep readers entertained for hours.
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What a powerful, wonderful book! It was heart-rending, heart-warming, wonderful, painful, compelling⦠all these things and more. I've just finished listening to this book and I feel stunned and rather bruised. It is such a powerful, wonderful book, yet the subject matter is very sad and at times horrific. I am pretty amazed that this is supposed to be a children's book (first of all, it is huge!). It is so very well written, absolutely beyond perfection. In all my years, I have never deeply considered what it must have been like as a young child or teen living in Nazi Germany. This book is vividly written, and I feel as though I lived with the child characters. As a book lover and collector, this book spoke to my spirit and soul. All I can say is "READ IT." On a practical note, I think that a person who listens to this book on audio should also have the hard copy available so that they can see the drawings within its page.
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This was a wonderful story. Sad and hard to read at times, but Zusak tells a great tale in a unique and gripping way. I highly recommend the book!
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This book is told from a fantastic point of view, one that I have never seen done before. It was such an interesting fictional read about Nazi Germany, specifically a german girl named Liesel. I could not put it down!
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At first, the explainatory interruptions by "death" are hard to get used to and it is confusing at first but DON'T GIVE UP! It is awesome! I think the only reason it is a young adult book is because the main character is a young girl.
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This book is listed as juvenile fiction, but it's tone, message, and subject are anything but juvenile. A truly amazing book...powerful and poignant at the same time.
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What an amazing, wonderful novel. Find it, read it, you'll never forget it. For those of us who didn't live through World War II, it's difficult to truly comprehend the nightmare that was Nazi Germany. Zusak trains the focus on one girl, one family, one street in Germany; through them, the times come to life, vivid, chilling, and very real.

The narrator is Death: who better, really? Not a frightening figure, this Death is very "human," full of compassion and prone to flashes of ironic humor when they're needed most. He frequently remarks on how overworked he is: how sadly true.

I know this book will stay with me for a long long time, and I recommend it without reservation.
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I dont think I have ever read a book that was narrated by Death before. It definitely gave the book an interesting perspective. The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger who comes to live with the Himmerman family in Nazi Germany after her mother can no longer care for her. Death tells the different times he meets Liesel and how she came to be known as the Book Thief. It also gives a glimpse into how it was to live in Munich during the time of the Nazis and also the trials the Himmerman family goes through to hide Max, the Jewish son of Hans Himmermans old deceased war buddy, after Hans made a promise to help his widow if she ever needed anything.

If this story were told from the perspective of one of the actual characters (Liesel, Hans, Max, or Rudy-Liesels neighbor and best friend) I dont think the story would have been nearly as good. Its the story told from Deaths point of view and how among all the people in the world and all the suffering at the time this girl stood out to him and his telling of her story and those around her which puts the book in a class by itself.

I like books that allow you to put a human face on tribulations endured. For the Holocaust the Diary of Anne Frank did that, Elie Wiesels Night did that, and the Book Thief accomplished this also. Great, although very sad read.
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This is a such a wonderful and touching book!
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It was written in a very unusual style, which was very refreshing. I highly recommend reading it, it's rare for me to want to keep a book a reread it, but that's exactly how I felt on the completion of this great book.
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Excellent book. It's a "yound adult" book, but I still found it fascinating. There's deep rich character development that keeps the pages turning.
Written from the point of view of "Death" himself, you sympathize with his struggle to do his job. Unlike many books, not only is the main character intersting and intriguing, but all the characters.
I highly recommend for all ages.
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an amazing story of the human spirit and perseverance
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This book is all about the power of words - but it a it so long before saying so..The imagery is wonderful. The relationships strong. Just truly amazing. So glad I read it - and how could a movie possibly touch it? I think it was one of those "books to read before it is movie"suggestions and - just, how? How could they do it justice. How an they show a sky the color of Jews? How could they show the taste of a sound? How can they do silver eyes?
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This may well be the best book I've ever read. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. The story of a little girl living in Nazi Germany during World War II is interesting enough, that fact that she learns to read and love the written word through book thievery is even more interesting . . . but what propels this book to being extraordinary is the fact that the narrator is Death himself, a supernatural and yet surprisingly human-like being who is sometimes wry and humorous and sometimes bitter and harsh, but who is ultimately tortured by the people like Liesel who were left behind. Markus Zusak is a phenomenal writer with a gift for story and a way of manipulating the English language in an incredibly compelling way. This is a must read, no matter who you are.
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Excellent book that takes place in WWII Germany. The story is about a little girl who is sent to live with an older German couple and is told from the perspective of the grim reaper. After acquiring the book I got the audio version from the library and highly recommend it... very well read!!! Either way, it's a great book!
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I found it a bit weired at the beginning myself, but get through it and it is so well worth it.
I found this book to be marvelous,brilliant even.I had a hard time putting down this book and finished it in no time-which was almost sad!
I tugges at all your emotions,from tears streaming to laughing out loud.For me anyways! Awesome book
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This is one of the best books I have ever read.I finished it several months ago and it is still on my mind. This is a keeper!!!!
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Zusak said he wanted to write about the people who were caught up in WWII. The story of girl in this book shows how resilient we can be, and her life in Nazi Germany is a story you won't soon forget.
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You can't help but be a better person after reading this book.
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This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
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Excellent writing; unique perspective with Death as narrator. Those who enjoy WWII historical fiction will enjoy this book.
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This book was superbly written. I wouldn't say that there was anything "new" in it, in terms of plot. I think the WWII topic has been pretty much exhausted in terms of story plots. So, I didn't really feel like I was reading anything new.

However, what made it superb, and kept my interest was the writing, as well as the narrator. I don't think I've ever seen a WWII book where the narrator is death. And the way in which the story unfolds, the way it's written, the way it's told ... well, like I said, absolutely superb.
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Do not be fooled by the "young adult" category in which this book has been placed. It is a haunting and moving story that will easily appeal to readers of any age.

The Book Thief takes place in WWII Nazi Germany. It manages to breathe fresh life into the era by having the story narrated by Death, an overworked grim reaper with a dry sense of humor who suffers from the tedium of his thankless job.

This story follows a young girl sent to live with a German couple who are sympathetic to the Jewish suffering of that time. And while that is far from an original plot, Zusak manages to make it unique. He has ways of turning phrases and describing the world that are both quirky and delightfully original. His characters are realistically, if not painfully, drawn.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and then it will break your heart. Give it a try. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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Truly and incredible book. Could not put it down. Highly recommend to EVERYONE!
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I absolutely loved this book from the first page to the last. The narrator of the story was such a frank and sometimes impersonal voice but you came to see him beginning to like the characters and the saddness in his job at times. It was a book that will stay with you.
The storyline shows the struggles of the average German who didn't go along with the war and the neighbors that did. The struggles of the children and teens and how the war impacted them. The friendships you wouldn't have imagined and what it cost each of them. This should be a must read book. I highly recommend this book to any I talk to.
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I thought the closing of the book perfectly summarized my experience with it. "I wanted to ask ... how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damming and brilliant." I loved the book when I was reading it, but it was a struggle to pick it up because I knew something bad was bound to happen in a book about the Holocaust with death as the narrator. Still, highly recommended to anyone who loves the power of words and stories. The narrative voice and word choices are wonderful. This one was worth the crying!
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It took me awhile to get into this story. The story is narrated from the perspective of Death. Its hard to unravel exactly what has happened to the characters in the beginning. But overall an easy read and an interesting exercise in perspective, and revealing of details as the story progresses.
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Fantastic read. Surprised to learn that it was written for young adults.
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Perhaps I have reached a fatigue point with novels about the Holocaust...I felt this book was too long by at least 200 pages- and while too long, I did not feel the character development was deep enough.

This may be one case where the movie is better than the book- though I doubt it. It doesn't appear that it did too well at the box office either.

It was a good enough book to finish, but would not share with others, or read again---
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This book was just ok. The way it was told was strange. I didnt like the narrator being Death.... at all. Some parts were very good, but it's almost as if they the author could have done more with it.
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First of all my reviews will never tell you what the book is about......hate those! If you are going to tell me what the book is about then I don't need to read it. I just read your review and you told me all I need to know.....So what was my impression after reading it? Another Nazi Germany book for sure, but with a twist. Another view of the world in Germany at that time. An alternate way of seeing 1939 Germany. Ok enough. The book is well written and a very easy read. A decent story line you will like reading. Would I recommend this book. Yes.
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An amazing journey! Uniquely written. It takes some getting used to in the beginning because death is the narrator of this tale. It is laid out in 10 parts and an epilogue with hints of what is to come at the beginning of each part. It is very absorbing with endearing characters and the further I read, the harder to put down. It is haunting and thought-provoking, bittersweet and well worth the journey!
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The characters are so vividly brought to life, this book can't help but break your heart. A story about people who have nothing yet give everything. I highly recommend this book!
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Another book club hit. Billed as a young adult novel, but frankly, that sells it short.
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I had to read this book for one of my college courses and I found it surprisingly good. It's very well-written in a style I thought unique to the subject matter and it never lagged in its pacing. A worthy read, indeed.
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An excellent book to read to understand the perspective of the people who actually had to live through the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler. It is starkly honest and not always pleasant. This should be read in all English classes so our children know the reality of Hitler's Germany.
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If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Although this book is classified as a "Young Adult Fiction" I was interested in reading it because of the rave reviews it got. I'm glad I did. It is the story of Liesel, a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family, friends, and the Jewish man they are hiding. It's told by "Death" who is trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II. This well written heart breaker blew me away. Add this to your "must read" list no matter your age. You won't be sorry.
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Despite rave reviews, I found this book tedious as hell and boring to boot! I'm a book lover and a reader so with a title like "The Book Thief", I thought how could I lose. Boy was I wrong! Unfortunately this is actually a story about a young orphaned girl (the book thief) living in Nazi Germany during WWII. I abhor Hitler and anything to do with that time period and had I known this was the backdrop of the story, I never would have even thought of reading it.

It's written in Death's perspective in short jerky sentences that don't flow one into the other. It's very disjointed and irritating, almost poetic at times. I made it to page 118 before dumping it in disgust back at the library.
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A good read, but I just didn't think it was up to all the hype I had read about it.
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I loved this book! I really liked the concept of Death being the narrator. It tackled a really grim subject without being morbid. Very well-written.
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This was a beautifully written, thought provoking book about words, friendship, hope and love despite fear and uncertainty. I especially liked the interactions between Liesel and the people around her. I also liked Death as a narrator who sees both the good and bad in humans.
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A unique take on Holocaust fiction. The choice of narrator is spot on and the voice Zusak gives him (it?) is perfect. The story draws you in and breaks your heart. The movie was disappointing. If you saw it, but didn't read it, do yourself a favor and order it.
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There is a quote from the movie Hitch with Will Smith in it where he says, Life is not about the amount of breaths you take, its the moments that take your breath away. Well, this book is like that, there is a sentence here, a paragraph there or something emboldened and they all take your breath away or at least they should.

A few of those moments include:

A DEFINITION NOT FOUND IN THE DICTIONARY/ Not leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children (37)

First and foremost, the book is narrated by Death. Needless to say, many things along the way will not end well, but like a good storyteller, Death intrigues us by simply saying: If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story. Ill show you something. (15)

His tale begins with the death of Liesel Memingers younger brother on a train on the way to their foster parents. She will become the Book Thief. More importantly, this will be the last time she sees her brother and maternal mother but it will also be the first time she steals a book: The Grave Diggers Handbook. So as you can see, the act of NOT leaving is rather poignant, in this case it was Liesels foster Papa that would never leave her side as long as he is alive.

The second stolen book was at a book burning, after all the tale takes place during the reign of Hitler in Germany - the hidden thought:

The thought of missing [the book burning] was eased when [Liesel] found a gap in the bodies and was able to see the mound of guilt, still intact. It was prodded and splashed, even spat on. It reminded her of an unpopular child forlorn and bewildered, powerless to alter its fate. No one liked it. Head down. Hands in pockets. Forever. Amen. (109)

A discussion on the theft, her Papa he asks, Why would I [tell]? She hated questions like that. They forced her to admit an ugly truth, to reveal her own filthy, thieving nature. Because I stole again. (126/7)

Hmnnintrospection, question on morals and ethics?

Then there are a few moments that make you chuckle, such as: She even allowed herself a laugh. Eleven-year old paranoia was powerful. Eleven-year-old relief was euphoric. (132)

Returning to grimmer thoughts, like the introduction of Max Vandenburg, a Jewish street fighter whom the Hubermanns (Liesels foster parents) tried to hideand the words that ought to take your breath away in a bad way:

Max, wake upHis eyes did not do anything that shock normally describes. No snapping, no slapping, no jolt. Those things happen when you wake from a bad dream, not when you wake INTO one. No, his eyes dragged themselves open, from darkness to dim. It was his body that reacted, shrugging upward and throwing out an arm to grip the air. (139)

Max on death: When death captures me, the boy vowed, he will feel my fist on his face.
Deaths thought in return: Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry. Yes. I like that a lot. (189) (My personal thought: I like that too!)

A bit more on grim thoughts: The mayors wife was just one of a worldwide brigade. You have seen her before, Im certain. In your stories, your poems, the screens you like to watch. Theyre everywhere, so why not here? Why not on a shapely hill in a small German town? Its a good a place to suffer as any. (145)

On June 2, 1942, there was a group of French Jews in a German prison, on Polish soil. The first person I took was close to the door, his mind racing, then reduced to pacing, then slowing down, slowing downPlease believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were a newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear. (350)

A SMALL BUT NOTEWORTHY NOTE/ Ive seen so many young men over the years who think theyre running at other young men. They are not. Theyre running at me. (175)

Mind you, Death is narrating the tale!

More speculations on war by Death: They say that war is deaths best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: Get it done, get it done. So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more. (309)

A ha ha ha courtesy of Death: One seat, two men, a short argument, and meIt kills me sometimes, how people die. (464)

And another breath, again, courtesy of Death: Im always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die. (491)

Again, my personal musing, I hope we have the good sense to die!

However, the tale in a nutshell is about a tiny fraction of people in Nazi Germany that did not hate the Jewish population. Among them was the Book Thief who slowly learns the power of words by learning to read from an uneducated man her foster father, stealing a bunch books and even destroying one, her interactions with friends and neighbors especially Max Vandenburg and Rudy Steiner.

It is the life of Hans Hubermann that gives the readers a glimpse of World War I and World War II. It is the interaction with neighbors like Ilsa Hermann and the mayors wife that expose how death was all around them. It is the interaction with Rudy Steiner that illustrates how hardship and perhaps even fear was all around them. Moreover, it is Max Vandenburg who reveals how a piece of propaganda called Mein Kampf helped start it all.
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Plot Summary

It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist - books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


Critical Analysis

Allan Corduner is the voice of Death, the narrator, of this World War II-era story. The richness and depth of his voice along with his european accent make him the perfect choice to bring this amazing story to life.

Death is very busy in Nazi Germany but he does have a little time to tell the story of Liesel Meminger, our book thief. The story line is realistic, the characters are complex, interesting and likable. Even Mama, who calls everyone a pig, grows on you throughout the book. Zusak doesnt shy away from telling the hard truth of what went on during WWII: discrimination and eventual extermination of the Jews, political propaganda, children being taken away from their parents and placed in foster families due to political beliefs, how boys are expected to join Hitlers army when they reach a certain age, starvation, thievery, suicide, standing up for what you believe is right, and the human belief in hope. All of these themes combine to create a wonderful, compelling story. I found myself cheering for Rudy, admiring Hans Hubermann, crying for everyone on Himmel street, and hoping for a better future for Max and Liesel. This was by far, the best book I have read all year. I highly recommend it.
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While the writing style is unusual (narrated), the story draws you in and is an incredible, heart-wrenching tale which will stay with you for a long, long time. Loved it!
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Do not be fooled by the "young adult" category in which this book has been placed. It is a haunting and moving story that will easily appeal to readers of any age.

The Book Thief takes place in WWII Nazi Germany. It manages to breathe fresh life into the era by having the story narrated by Death, an overworked grim reaper with a dry sense of humor who suffers from the tedium of his thankless job.

This story follows a young girl sent to live with a German couple who are sympathetic to the Jewish suffering of that time. And while that is far from an original plot, Zusak manages to make it unique. He has ways of turning phrases and describing the world that are both quirky and delightfully original. His characters are realistically, if not painfully, drawn.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and then it will break your heart. Give it a try. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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I cannot say enough about this book. Everybody should read it! There have been hundreds of books written about WWII Germany, yet this book still manages to be original. The idea of having Death be the narrator is brilliant. It gives a unique look at both the best and worst of humanity and the amazing power of words. The book is listed as young adult literature because the protagonist is a young girl. Even if you're not someone who usually reads young adult literature you will appreciate this story.
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Creative, engaging.
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I have been a reader a long time so books have always held a special place for me.It was heart warming to know that same kind of feeling was possible with the character. I was suprised at the books content as it kept me wondering where the story was going,but you won't be disapointed as it't an adventure you will think about often.

Taffey
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THIS IS THE BEST BOOK IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!!
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This is one of the best, most thought-provoking, influential books I've ever read. All young people and adults should progress from Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Franck) to The Book Thief. Stirring stuff and brilliantly presented.
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I would highly recommend this book. It really kept my attention and I did not want it to end.
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One of the best books I've ever read. Truly a beautiful, powerful story written in a unique and captivating style. I can't wait to share this with my son when he's older. This is a must-read!
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Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com

THE BOOK THIEF is on of the most memorable books I've read in a long time. It takes place during World War II in Molching, Germany. It's the writing, the unusual narrator (death), and the characters sketched in vivid colors that make this novel so difficult to put down.

Meet Leisel, the book thief, whose first encounter with death occurs on a train with her mama and brother - on their way to meet her foster parents.

Meet Rosa Hubermann, Leisel's new mama, whose rough, crude exterior can't hide the heart inside.

Meet Hans Hubermann, Leisel's firm foundation. The man who stays up with her after her nightmares, who teaches her to read her first stolen book, who finds empathy in a slice of stale bread.

Meet Max, a Jew, the shadow in the basement, a skeleton later seen marching, or more aptly, stumbling, down the road.

Meet Rudy, the lemon-haired Jesse Owens, Leisel's partner in crime and best friend, the one who yearns for Leisel's kiss.

Meet the Führer, the invisible, potent master of words.

Meet death, in a metal cockpit, on a snow-covered field mottled in red, hanging from a rafter at the end of a rope, sitting at a simple kitchen table, under a pile of rubble that used to be a home.

Markus Zusak fills the reader with vivid images of humans at war, humans led to the unthinkable by a force they cannot control. Some go willingly, others have no choice. Those left behind are merely attempting to survive each day as life crumbles around them. Leisel survives by stealing books.

As I read the final chapters of THE BOOK THIEF, I literally had to close the book to get my emotions under control before reading on to meet death. It was inevitable -- he would meet me at the end of the book. As I emerged from the story at the turning of the back cover, my reality felt so jarringly wrong. It was as though I went from a black and white silent movie to a new world: bright, free, and colorful. You cannot read this novel without feeling a resounding resolve that this should never, ever, happen again.

The writing is incredible. Mr. Zusak gave death such an unusual perspective. His descriptive phrases are nothing short of brilliant. THE BOOK THIEF is a powerful read that should not be missed by anyone, teen or adult!
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Practically everyone I know that read this book absolutely LOVED it. I thought it was good, but I didn't fall in love. The book is narrated by death and tells the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger, a girl living in Germany with her foster family during WWII.
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I don't know why this is a childrens book. I loved it.
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When I saw that this was about Nazi Germany, at first I didn't want to read it. The holocaust stories upset me so tremendously. But I read some of the reviews here and found that it was written from a different point of view, so I gave it a try. I'm not saying that the book is all roses and sweetness; but it is a powerful story with so many layers and elements of truth that I just couldn't stay away from it. The story of Liesel could be the story of any German child growing up in that era. The narrator of the story is Death Himself, but as he describes himself he is not the hooded image with the sickle. I got the feeling that this narrator was doing a job he was assigned during a difficult period, and he had some compassion for those he 'carried away'. The Book Thief will make you smile and it will bring tears to your eyes; it's a story you won't soon forget.
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This was a wonderful book. It showed that there can be compassion even in the worst circumstances. I loved death as the narrator. I helped get to know the depth of the characters!!
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This book will haunt you in many ways. Told from the perspective of Death, we are brought into the WWII world of Liesel, a young girl living with her foster parents in Germany. We meet a number of people in her life: her friend Rudy who is made fun of because of his admiration of Jesse Owens, her foster parents Hans and Rosa who show their love for Liesel in different ways, Max who is a Jewish fist-fighter for whom life will never be the same once Hitler rises to power & finds himself hiding in Liesel's foster parents' basement, and the mayor's wife who witnesses Liesel's first act of stealing. Liesel arrives at Hans and Rosa's house illiterate and haunted by the death of her brother. When Hans teaches her to read from the book she stole at the gravesite, Liesel finds her world opened up to words and begins to steal them whenever they call to her. We also witness the changes in Liesel's world as WWII progresses, and the reader really gets the sense that the average person in Germany was just trying to survive the war. Too often, people lump all Germans into the Nazi category, but Markus Zusak does a fantastic job portraying life in Liesel's poor village, where survival is the bigger concern, and that there were people who wanted to do the right thing, even if it wasn't safe to do.

I strongly recommend this book, and wish that it was required reading for any middle/ high school course that teaches WWII. For a book that is considered "young adult," it is quite long at 550 pages. The writing style with interludes from the narrator takes a little getting used it, but I love the fact that the chapters are very short because it makes you feel like you're making progress in the book quickly. Once you finish this book, you will find that it sticks with you for a long time!
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I don't think I would do this book justice in just a few words. It made me cry, laugh, think about those important to me, and pray for an ending that is different than what I knew it would be. What could you expect when the narrator is death? Although death consistently interrupts with hints of what happens in the end, it is still heartbreaking when it comes. I'm a little sad that the book is over now.

A young girl is about to be placed in foster care. Her mother is too poor to take care of Leisel and her brother, so she is taking them to Munich to be given over to a foster family. On the train ride, Leisel's brother dies. Then she is handed off to a woman who yells and cusses at her and an accordion player who seems to allow his wife to run things. Leisel's life begins to change for the better as her foster father begins to teach her to read and her friendship grows with the next door neighbor, Rudy. Words revolutionize Leisel. She first is powerful against them, but then becomes powerful by using them. Her reading inspires healing during bomb raids, sickness, and melts the heart of death himself. The connection of books end up her savior in the end.

I can't imagine anyone not liking this book. It does begin slowly, but the characters all become to grow on you. The triumphs and failures of each of the main characters move the reader as if they were part of the scenes. It is truly remarkable how much I was sucked into this book. I cried at least four times even though I knew what was going to happen well before it happened. Death attempts to make all of the readers comfortable with the idea of destruction that will rip Leisel's world apart, but it didn't help me. I know this review has been all over the place, but it's because there is so much that I would want to say that I can't get it out in a logical sequence. All I can tell you is that you NEED to read this book!
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This book is an excellent depiction of Germans' (specifically Bavarians) daily life and the impact of the Nazi regime on their lives, during the time of Hitler's "reign." The people shown are 'regular' people, some wealthier than others. It is incredibly touching.
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This is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. Such a unique style of writing. Don't miss this one!!
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An excellent read. I read this book in two evenings---could not put it down. Even a week later I find myself thinking about the book and storyline. It is a book that will stay with you for a long time. Definately a keeper.
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This book was amazing! What a deep rich moving story of a child in WWII with nothing and no one. She finds a family in her foster home. The book shows a different point of view about the war that you usually don't see. Wonderful characters, rich details and very thought provoking all through out. It is a book that will stay with you for a long time. It is one I always recommend and have on hand to give out. One you need to read!!
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This was a touching story, but it was a sad one. It made me see the way things were for Germans during the persecution of the Jewish community.
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Awesome book!
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An amazing accomplishment for a 30-year old male author, this book offers a non-Jewish perspective on the Holocaust and living in Germany as it unfolded. An easy read for any reader, including the author's targeted young adult, this novel offers a second plane of themes and thought for the thinking reader. Words play a main character role throughout the story, popping up in new disguises everywhere. This book is truly a delightful read on many levels.
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Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com

THE BOOK THIEF is on of the most memorable books I've read in a long time. It takes place during World War II in Molching, Germany. It's the writing, the unusual narrator (death), and the characters sketched in vivid colors that make this novel so difficult to put down.

Meet Leisel, the book thief, whose first encounter with death occurs on a train with her mama and brother - on their way to meet her foster parents.

Meet Rosa Hubermann, Leisel's new mama, whose rough, crude exterior can't hide the heart inside.

Meet Hans Hubermann, Leisel's firm foundation. The man who stays up with her after her nightmares, who teaches her to read her first stolen book, who finds empathy in a slice of stale bread.

Meet Max, a Jew, the shadow in the basement, a skeleton later seen marching, or more aptly, stumbling, down the road.

Meet Rudy, the lemon-haired Jesse Owens, Leisel's partner in crime and best friend, the one who yearns for Leisel's kiss.

Meet the Führer, the invisible, potent master of words.

Meet death, in a metal cockpit, on a snow-covered field mottled in red, hanging from a rafter at the end of a rope, sitting at a simple kitchen table, under a pile of rubble that used to be a home.

Markus Zusak fills the reader with vivid images of humans at war, humans led to the unthinkable by a force they cannot control. Some go willingly, others have no choice. Those left behind are merely attempting to survive each day as life crumbles around them. Leisel survives by stealing books.

As I read the final chapters of THE BOOK THIEF, I literally had to close the book to get my emotions under control before reading on to meet death. It was inevitable -- he would meet me at the end of the book. As I emerged from the story at the turning of the back cover, my reality felt so jarringly wrong. It was as though I went from a black and white silent movie to a new world: bright, free, and colorful. You cannot read this novel without feeling a resounding resolve that this should never, ever, happen again.

The writing is incredible. Mr. Zusak gave death such an unusual perspective. His descriptive phrases are nothing short of brilliant. THE BOOK THIEF is a powerful read that should not be missed by anyone, teen or adult!
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Very good book. Interesting reading.
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Do not be fooled by the "young adult" category in which this book has been placed. It is a haunting and moving story that will easily appeal to readers of any age.

The Book Thief takes place in WWII Nazi Germany. It manages to breathe fresh life into the era by having the story narrated by Death, an overworked grim reaper with a dry sense of humor who suffers from the tedium of his thankless job.

This story follows a young girl sent to live with a German couple who are sympathetic to the Jewish suffering of that time. And while that is far from an original plot, Zusak manages to make it unique. He has ways of turning phrases and describing the world that are both quirky and delightfully original. His characters are realistically, if not painfully, drawn.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and then it will break your heart. Give it a try. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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An amazing, heartbreaking, uplifting story.
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Liesel Meminger, a foster child living outside Munich during World War II, scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist--books--in this unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed and free the soul.
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A bit hard to get started but fasinating
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Absolutely amazing!!!!!
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This is by far one of the best books I have ever read! I could not stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it, but a few times I needed to step away from it to catch my breath and think about the extroadinary events that had transpired. Also, the fact that it is so historical, everyone should read it.
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This was a very good story. I feel so bad for the people who had to go through the hardships pf the war and the Jews who whew prosecuted. Lisel was a very brave strong little girl. Great story. Hope to see the movie...
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This is the best book I have read in a long time. It is the story of a young foster girl who comes to live with a family in Berlin in 1940s. It is about her adjustment to living with this family, the tragic things that come into her life, her love for reading, and the bond she forms with the foster family and others in the community. There is a lot of tragic happenings in the book. It brings to life how the ordinary German cannot do much, if anything, to help those in trouble, but many try facing difficulties themselves. Death tells the story so at first it seems a little odd, but then you see the story and Death's amazement at the strength of humans. The movie comes out on Netflick in April.
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This book wasn't as good as I expected it to be. I enjoyed it but I'm still looking for something more in it.
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I tried to get into this book but found the writing style one I just couldn't get interested in. The third party narrative from the perspective of Death, to me wasn't very interesting and seemed to stop the momentum of the book plus the use of Jewish/German words and phrases made it necessary (for me) to have my iphone ready to search for a translation. The premise of the book could have been a great book, unfortunately for me this author fails.
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Fantastic and comforting story about terrible times before and during WWII.
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Well, I meant to write this review a couple of weeks ago, but it just slipped my mind. :-/ And I have now read about four of five books since finishing this one, so most of all the things I wanted to say in my review have gotten mushed around and strewn to the wind, which is unfortunate because I truly loved this book.

Initially I was put off by the narration and writing styles, and five pages into the book, I was sure I was not going to get through another five. I mean come on, having Death as the narrator in a story set during the Holocaust? Can we say cliché? And that whole thing the author does with writing a couple of paragraphs and then suddenly inserting a few lines of




***asterisked, bolded, and centered text***
SOMETIMES IN ALL CAPS
just to make some kind of statement



No thank you.

I made it maybe to the end of the first chapter before I just thought, Nope, to hell with this and threw the book down in a pile, incredibly thankful that I'd picked it up at the Goodwill for a quarter.

The next day, I saw a good friend of mine -- a friend with whom I enjoy sharing and receiving book recommendations on a regular basis -- and brought up this book, mentioning how much the whole presentation of the story bothered me.

He was completely flummoxed, simply COULD NOT BELIEVE that I didn't finish the book -- in fact, he couldn't believe I'd waited so long to read the book in the first place. Urged me to put aside my annoyance with the writer's style and give it one more shot.

So I did. And while I can't say that I ever really warmed to the




***CRAZY BREAKS IN THE TEXT*** bullcrap


I did quickly find myself engrossed in the story, and I also did a complete 180 on the death-as-narrator tool. For this particular story, I felt it truly did add something to the story that -- without the gimmick of Narrator Death -- would have definitely made the story less interesting and less touching.

By the end of the book, I had laughed out loud, cried in unashamed, headache-inducing sobs, and slammed my fist down in furious anger. This book truly made me FEEL. I absolutely loved it, maybe not from beginning to end, but I loved it just the same.
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Holy Crap.

I'm not even sure I can give a review right now; I'm so distraught.

Okay, so I just finished this book and I am truly in awe. I was initially intrigued with a novel that was narrated by Death. And then I became really interested when I realized this book went into Nazi Germany. Death was pretty busy during the war, ya feel me?
But the way Death tells this story of a young girl is so enrapturing. Everything from the day she met her foster parents, to Max, to learning how to read, to Rudy, to everything just made you connect so much with the characters. It felt like I knew them personally and I could relate to their feelings and actions.
I loved how Death foreshadowed so much and how he let you know what was going to happen before it did so you could prepare yourself but at the same time, Death explained the story when it needed to come up which made the events more gut-wrenching.
Not going to lie, I cried twice reading this. My husband was looking at me like I was crazy but this book had so much DEPTH!!
Ugh... I hate this book because it made me love it so much. And the last line just brought everything home perfectly. The story was about a girl but Death brought it back to him and included his feelings. You don't often think of Death having feelings but his job is hard. And the last line really showed that.

If I could give this book a 10/5 stars, I would. But, alas, I'll have to settle with 5/5
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Wonderful book! Such an interesting narrative! And really gives another side of Nazi Germany.
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Great book. Wonderfully written.
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It appears that I'm in the minority about this book. I understand the importance of the story being told, and can appreciate that you don't usually hear it from the perspective of a young German girl. That being said, it just wasn't for me. I know the events happened (and it scares me that it may happen again in my lifetime, the way the world is going now) but I don't like to hear about it. I know life's not always a bed of roses, but I would have like to have seen a happy ending. It may have made up for the time that I feel like I wasted in reading this book. There were parts of the writing that I really enjoyed, the descriptions and emotions. But overall, there just wasn't enough for me to like it.
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very good book Highly recommend
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A human story, poetic prose, best book ever!
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Love love loved this book! Author has an enjoyable artistic flavor of writing.
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Very moving account of a girl's life in Germany during World War II.
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amazing book
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Just as good as the movie.
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The story wraps around 1942-1943 and Hitler's quest to rid Germany of the Jewish population. Although many review this book with 4 & 5 stars, I can only allow two stars. I plodded thru the book and found many questions as the story line seemed to duplicate or change what was already written. I understand the heartache, struggles and desperation of the time - but this book also confirms German's willingness to stand by and watch the Holocaust take place among the very business people and neighbors in the community. Complacency and Apathy!! I did not enjoy reading this book.
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I thought the book was depressing taking place in Nazi's years. It was a very thought provoking read.
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Do not be fooled by the "young adult" category in which this book has been placed. It is a haunting and moving story that will easily appeal to readers of any age.

The Book Thief takes place in WWII Nazi Germany. It manages to breathe fresh life into the era by having the story narrated by Death, an overworked grim reaper with a dry sense of humor who suffers from the tedium of his thankless job.

This story follows a young girl sent to live with a German couple who are sympathetic to the Jewish suffering of that time. And while that is far from an original plot, Zusak manages to make it unique. He has ways of turning phrases and describing the world that are both quirky and delightfully original. His characters are realistically, if not painfully, drawn.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and then it will break your heart. Give it a try. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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This was a very good book considering the subject matter. I wasn't too sure about the writing format at first - but after the first chapter it made sense. Definately recommend this to other readers.
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Very good book. I really liked it. Highly recommend
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Do not be fooled by the "young adult" category in which this book has been placed. It is a haunting and moving story that will easily appeal to readers of any age.

The Book Thief takes place in WWII Nazi Germany. It manages to breathe fresh life into the era by having the story narrated by Death, an overworked grim reaper with a dry sense of humor who suffers from the tedium of his thankless job.

This story follows a young girl sent to live with a German couple who are sympathetic to the Jewish suffering of that time. And while that is far from an original plot, Zusak manages to make it unique. He has ways of turning phrases and describing the world that are both quirky and delightfully original. His characters are realistically, if not painfully, drawn.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and then it will break your heart. Give it a try. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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Excellent book and I highly recommend for everyone to read!!! I'll be passing this on to my grandchildren.
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I recommend this book, although it is in the YA category, I was drawn in too. This book centers around Nazi Germany, narrated by "Death". The main storyline is about an adopted teenage German girl, and how her world is affected by Hitler, especially when they decide to hide a Jew in the basement. Good read.
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Ugh! In the mood to read something from Death's perspective? I think the writer believes he is in some way humorous, but his humor is crass to say the least. I like a book where I can relate to the main characters...there seems to be no way to relate with these characters...I find their development to be superficial. And they just don't seem interesting, except perhaps the "papa"...though not interesting enough to actually want to read more. This is dull, dull, dull. It flows along...so the writing doesn't suck...but it's boring...seems to have no purpose...and since it's not very enjoyable, well, what's the point?! IMO, if you are going to write about WW2...then the story should definitely have meaning...should grab you and shake you and maybe even teach you something. I could be wrong, but I've wasted too much time on this, so I'm not going to finish just to see if the author actually EVER makes a point or the story actually EVER gets interesting (you'd think 150+ pages would be enough).
And I certainly wouldn't recommend it to any teen.
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I love Historical Fiction novels and I heard all the wonderful reviews about this book so I decided to try it. I was very disappointed. The style of writing is very different and I couldn't get past the first chapter.