The Book Thief

The Book Thief Author: Markus Zusak
Published: September 2007
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Literature
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 576 pages
ISBN-10: 0-375-84220-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-84220-7
Goodreads | Amazon

Grade Sheet

Characters/char. development:
Plot structure:
Writing style/script:
Dialogue/character interaction:

Narrated by Death (who has the most beautifully crafted narration style), The Book Thief follows Liesel, her neighbors, her foster parents, and the Jewish man they hide in their basement during the escalation of World War II.

This book is absolutely brilliant and most definitely deserves the gazillion awards it has received. It is far from your typical World War II Nazi Germany story. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry. It is so powerful that it sometimes manages to do both at once.

The characters are fantastic. Liesel was such a darling, and Max made me want to cry every time he appeared on the page. Hans and Rosa felt so genuine, and the entire family’s interactions were wonderful. Each character inspired me in a different way — even Death. I really loved looking at WWII through the eyes of Death; it was so thought-provoking and utterly new. The whole concept of telling a story from the POV of Death is so ridiculously novel, and yet it could have been a disaster if executed poorly. Zusak is a mighty fine storyteller, though; he has mastered the art of invisible, omniscient narration whose effectiveness is amplified by the narrator’s unique perspective.

The plot keeps readers on the edge of their seats, both straightforward and intricate, all at once. It doesn’t take lengths to impress the reader with crazy suspense and plot twists, but it is edgy enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. And the writing is just beautiful. I wish I could say more without spoiling the plot, but I don’t want to accidentally give anything away.

The Verdict

An absolute must-read. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on it as soon as possible. I’d recommend reading the whole book in one sitting, especially since the style is so unique and the setting so aptly described that you’re best off immersing yourself in Death and Liesel’s world from start to finish.