Book Review: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak


The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany.
The country is holding its breath.

Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when, by her brother’s graveside, she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever these books are to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

Narrated by Death, The Book Thief is a story about the power of words and the ability of books to feed the soul.

Award-winning author MARKUS ZUSAK has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; Later Printing edition (September 11, 2007)

My Thoughts:
Wow.  Just WOW.  I am honestly speechless after finishing this book.  I need a few more days to digest it and let everything roll around in my brain a little.  


That’s how I would describe this book.  Markus Zusak is a master storyteller.  I was sucked in from page one and could never truly separate my feelings from those of the protagonist, Liesel.  I loved what she loved, hated what she hated, and felt what she felt.  The characters are well developed and come together beautifully to create a very realistic portrait of a war torn country and the many personalities contained within it.  

Everyone should read this book.

About the Author:

Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which has topped bestseller lists ranging from the New York Times in America, the Sunday Times in the UK, as well as countries in Europe, South America and Asia.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry, released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards in Australia.

The Messenger, published in 2002, won the 2003 CBC Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America.

In 2005, The Book Thief was released and is now translated into over thirty languages. As well as receiving awards in Australia and overseas, The Book Thief has held the number one position at, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in Brazil, Ireland and Taiwan. It has been in the top five in the UK, Spain, Israel and Korea, and is still set to be released in many other territories.

The Age calls it ‘an original, moving, beautifully written book’. The Guardian: ‘A novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told’. The New York Times: ‘Brilliant and hugely ambitious…the kind of book that can be life-changing’.

Markus lives in Sydney, Australia.

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  • Reply
    Renee C.
    March 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Wow is exactly how I felt too. I consider it in my Top 3 favorite books that I read last year. Just loved it.

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