"The Book Thief"

"The Book Thief"

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Published: March 14th, 2006
by Knopf Books for Young Readers




It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who 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.


The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.

The Book Thief is one of the more intriguing and uniquely written books I’ve read, following a Book Thief, a little girl named Liesel and the spark that leads to the fire that began World War Two.

It’s 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.

As the book starts and as we are thrown into Zusak’s 1939 Germany, we follow a young girl named Liesel as she is placed in a foster home after being orphaned, where she watches Hitler and his followers rise to the top of the German political party.

As a protagonist, Liesel does not disappoint. She may not be anyone specifically special or have a unique destiny like some stereotypical YA protagonists, but she feels so real. Her flaws, her fears, they all reach into the deepest part of your heart and linger for a long time. While she might not necessarily be as kickass or as talented at fighting as some protagonists, but she makes that up in her realness and her bravery, courage, and determination. Truly, she is a force to be reckoned with.

The thing that bothered me most though was how – at times – unnecessarily lengthy it was. Thinking over it, I believe about 65% of the entire story could have been cut out entirely, or, at the very least, trimmed just a tad. There were a few scenes that made no contribution to the plot’s direction whatsoever, and that resulted in outright boredom and my loss of interest in the story as a whole at times.

All in all, while this certainly isn’t my favorite book, I do believe that it will certainly appeal to a HUGE number of readers (as it already has) and that it will touch so, so many people. It’s beautiful and poignant, and Markus Zusak has certainly outdone himself with this spell-binding tale.

I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.

You have, Markus Zusak. You certainly have.

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