Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book Thief” as Want to Read:
The Book Thief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book Thief

4.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,034,323 Ratings  ·  83,939 Reviews
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 hersel
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book Thief, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Lauri Geuzebroek I spent the last 50 pages weeping. I have read A LOT of books and this is still the most beautifully written book I have ever read.
Wordless Rebel, We live the dreams of others The sky is dark blue fading into light blue, with weightless cotton fluffs floating listlessly, and a golden flower, centre staged, in full bloom,…moreThe sky is dark blue fading into light blue, with weightless cotton fluffs floating listlessly, and a golden flower, centre staged, in full bloom, gracing all with its light, caressing each with a warm embrace... (less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
9th out of 42,941 books — 161,187 voters
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Giver by Lois LowryCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Best Young Adult Books
12th out of 10,215 books — 69,086 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 15, 2007 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who want a fresh angle on the Holocaust.
I put off reading this book for the library book club. Here are my three reasons for doing so:

1) It's a Young Adult Book. I am an Adult. It can't be that good if it's written for young people.
2) It's about the Holocaust, and I think we've all heard enough about that. The author will probably even focus on colors among the grays, as in "Schindler's List."
3) I have WAY too many other books to read.

After avoiding the book for as long as possible, I sat down, hoping to enjoy it enough to gain some c
Dec 04, 2013 Tamara rated it it was amazing
I give this 5 stars, BUT there is a disclaimer: If you want a fast read, this book is not for you. If you only like happy endings this book is not for you. If you don't like experimental fiction, this book is not for you.

If you love to read and if you love to care about the characters you read about and if you love to eat words like they're ice cream and if you love to have your heart broken and mended on the same page, this book is for you.

This story is narrated by Death during World War II,
La Petite Américaine
Feb 17, 2014 La Petite Américaine rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: This is such a piece of steaming dog shit that I'd recommend it only to people I REALLY hate.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Liesel: Hi, I'm Liesel. I have no personality, but I'm a cute little girl.

Death: Her name is not Liesel. Her name is THE BOOK THIEF and I shall name her that for the rest of the book.

Liesel: Even though I stole, like, 3 books in total or something.

Death: Shut up, Book Thief.

Rudy: Hello everyone. Have you ever seen a lemon? That's what my hair looks like.

Death: Here is a little information you should know: this books is filled with many interesting facts. Very releva
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Mar 02, 2016 Jesse (JesseTheReader) rated it it was amazing
Video review can be found here:

It's going to take awhile for this book to fully sink in, but overall this was a masterpiece.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This is a book to treasure, a new classic. I absolutely loved it.

Set in Germany in the years 1939-1943, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, narrated by Death who has in his possession the book she wrote about these years. So, in a way, they are both book thieves. Liesel steals randomly at first, and later more methodically, but she's never greedy. Death pockets Liesel's notebook after she leaves it, forgotten in her grief, amongst the destruction that was once her street, her home, and car
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
“When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.”
Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry.
I like that a lot.

A few days ago, when I was starting The Book Thief, my mother stopped by and saw the book on my coffee table. Having just read it herself (and knowing me better than anyone else in the world, I might add), she was determined to save me from myself. She did her very best to convince me not to read it. She described in detail the three day long head
Kat Kennedy
Jan 14, 2014 Kat Kennedy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People into self-flagellation
Just to clarify: Yes, I did cry.

I've read a lot of positive and negative reviews for this book. I can see why people wouldn't like it - I really can. Perhaps because I took a lot out of it personally, I found I enjoyed it a lot.

Quick test to see if you'll like this book:

1. Did you like Anne of Green Gables?
2. Can you cope with an off-beat, melancholy, caustic, dead-pan, self-righteous narrator?
3. Do you like words?
(Questions 4-8 were all about what kind of underwear you're wearing so don't worry
Dec 14, 2015 Nataliya rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who have their handkerchiefs/Kleenex box handy
Recommended to Nataliya by: Mark Oshiro's blog

Wow. Words cannot describe how much I loved this book, what impact it had on me. But, like Liesel, words is all I have, so I will have to try.

This is a lyrical, poignant, heartbreaking, soul-shattering story disjointedly told by a nearly-omniscient, fascinated by humans narrator - Death. (***I must confess that I kept imagining Death as the small-caps speaking Grim Reaper from Pratchett's Discworld, baffled by humans and loving cats and curry. Don't judge me - I needed a glimpse of fun in the bl
Jun 24, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I am apparently one of the few people who just do not see what all of the hype is about on this one. I was really excited to read this after all of the glowing reviews it got, but I was left extremely disappointed. I found the writing stilted and stuttering (hard to stutter in writing, but this book pulls it off), overly sentimental, and heavy-handed on the symbolism.

I also found the author's approach to the story to be just plain gimmicky. The first and foremost gimmick (also see heavyy-handed
Emily May
I hate it when this happens, I truly do.

It makes me feel wrong inside when everyone else loves a book that I find to be underwhelming... I mean, what's wrong with me?? Did I not get it?? Obviously it must be a lack of intelligence or something because everyone seems to rate this 5 stars. I was looking through my friend reviews hoping that someone would share my opinion - at least a tiny bit - and seeing 5 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars...

I can appreciate that Markus Zusak is a very talente
Dec 04, 2013 Zannachan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hardcover of this book. I no longer have it. I did not even finish reading it, because it irritated me so much and when I asked if it got better no one could convince me that it was worth persevering.

I know that there are many people who love this book, authors who's book I love, readers who's tastes I respect. But I couldn't stand the narrator. Every time the Narrator intruded on the story it felt like exactly that--an intrusion. A lot of people really like the narrator, and I imagine
Jan 06, 2014 Jason rated it liked it
I write this review under severe duress.

Three-star books are always difficult to review, aren’t they? They are difficult for me, mostly because I am so dispassionate about them. It’s much easier to review something you love, or something you hate, rather than something you’ve half-forgotten before you even get to your local library’s return box.

So this book is fine. Fine. It’s the story of a young German girl caught in the path of the advancing Nazi regime during World War II. For many German vi
Whitney Atkinson
May 26, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
i have no words. never in my life have i sobbed so hard at a book. i had to put my knitting down, then i had to stop the audio book because i was crying too hard.
this book is no joke. i was going to give it 4 stars because i thought it was a little too long-winded but truly it is a masterpiece and thank you thank you thank you to everyone that persuaded me to read it.
Dec 07, 2013 Walt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Walt by: My Dear Wife
Shelves: young-adult
Bravo Zusak! A standing ovation, a mighty opus. You stood Death on her head, removing her dark cloak and scythe, clothing her with feeling and letting us see she has eyes to see and a heart to feel, and the intellect to narrate a compelling story. I was so glad to find out she has a womb. Out of Death comes Life. She has greater aplomb than Nick in telling about Gatsby.

In the spring of 1968 at age 19, I made my way to Dachau. I lived just south of Munich and the visit to the defunct concentratio
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Aug 23, 2013 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* by: Lots of people
Oh, Book Thief …

I first picked up this book when I was 15 years old, after I'd been hearing such glowing reviews of it here on Goodreads. I knew next to nothing about it, besides that everyone seemed to love it so much; I recall seeing a conversation where a bunch of people agreed it was the best Young Adult book ever written. And then I pick it up from the library and it has some review on the front from the New York Times or something claiming this book is "LIFE-CHANGING" or something like tha
Kat Stark
Feb 29, 2016 Kat Stark rated it it was amazing

*I listened to the audiobook*

This book was perfection.

I haven't done a non/creative review in a while, so I figure why not with this one. For new friends or followers, I'll let you know that I do these reviews for fun and not informational purposes and I usually do them when there are thousands upon thousands of regular reviews. I like getting my creative outlet on every once in a while, so hopefully it comes across as unusual or fun to read.

The Book Thief graveyard:

Michael Kneeland
Jun 26, 2012 Michael Kneeland rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
Occasionally, you will read a novel that offers you new ideas about what a novel can actually do, how point of view and voice can be used differently but powerfully, and how characters can be developed to such an extent that they seem more human than those we come into contact with each day. This seems to be the case with Markus Zusak's 2005 novel, The Book Thief. I first read it on a recommendation from a librarian friend, and now find myself talking about it at great length to anyone who will ...more
Will Byrnes
Feb 03, 2016 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
The Book Thief was published as Young Adult novel. Don’t you believe it. This is a wonderful novel, appropriate for adults of young, middle and advanced years. My wife was shedding copious tears as she finished reading the book, and insisted that I read it immediately. How could I not? I was prepared for a moving read and was not disappointed.

Sophie Nélisse as Liesel Meminger - from TV Guide

The main character is Liesel Meminger, just shy of ten years old when we first meet her. It is pre-WW II
Ana {The Good Gif Fairy}
{BR with Nicole}

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

 photo wwwwwwww_zpsuslukuve.jpeg

 photo tumblr_n24mkbZkFW1t8c3zzo1_500_zpshbrw3kql.gif

These pictures are self explanatory.

There are no words good enough to d
Jan 07, 2016 Diane rated it did not like it
I hated this book. There is so much I disliked about it that I'm not sure where to begin. I recognize that I am in the minority on this one and that many of my GR friends loved this novel, so there's no need to start screaming at me in the comments. This book just wasn't my cuppa, and that's OK. We're allowed to like different books.

My List
I think the thing I hated the most was the writing itself. The sentences were rough, uneven and felt unfinished.

I hated that even though the sentences and ch
Bookworm Sean
Nov 26, 2015 Bookworm Sean rated it it was amazing
I devoured this. I read it; then I read it again, and now I want to read it for a third time. I’ve really got to move on, but this was just so Good with a capital G. This book takes such an interesting perspective on what is, in my opinion, an overly written about period of history. Having Death as the narrator for parts of the story really took it to the next level; it made it utterly unique. It also created a sense of detachment from the events, and evoked the message that death is unavoidable ...more
Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
*Reread April 2016*
I don't think I will ever read a book that has such an impact on me as this one has. I truly adore this book more and more each time I read it. If I had to pick one book out of the hundreds I've read to be my favourite, this one would definitely be it.

*Original read November 2013*
I don't think I will ever be the same again.
Komal Mikaelson
*Starts review. Write two lines. Erase the whole thing.*

*Starts again. No idea what to write*

*Wiping tears*

*Staring at the laptop screen, fingers resting on the keys.*

*Should I even write a review?*

*Where's the damn tissue?*

*I should totally write one. If I can write a snarky one, I can sure as hell write a gushing one*

*What would be the point, everyone has already read the book.*

*Does it matter? It's about me and the book masterpiece.*

So, that has been my thought process for the last 15 min. So
Meg ♥
Feb 21, 2012 Meg ♥ rated it it was amazing

Since there are already so many wonderful reviews for this book I'm going to keep this one kind of short. Most of my friends have already read this book, and may be wondering what little old me could possibly add to the endless stream of praise surrounding this book.

Well, I represent the people who have yet to read this book even though it's been out for almost 6 years, and won quite a few awards. Those of us who never read it despite receiving about 6,532 recommendations claiming "You will love
Apr 05, 2009 Daniel rated it it was ok
I'm going to try to avoid a long rant about "The Book Thief." It's not an altogether terrible book, and is probably better than most books marketed for teenagers, as this one is. (I read it because my book club selected it. They also made me read "Twilight" recently. I think my book club is suffering from an acute case of arrested development.)

Most of what annoyed me about Markus Zusak's book are related to a few pet peeves of mine, and I'll limit my comments to those pet peeves. I'll even do it
Oct 16, 2008 martha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, gave-up
Everyone in the whole world seems to adore this book and yet I hate it SO MUCH. The writing style is just SO grating; it took me forever to figure out why, but I think in large part it's because it's 100% telling-without-showing. See, the premise is awesome -- a book set in Germany during WWII, narrated by Death, focusing on the life of one civilian German girl. But Death(/the author) just tells you what everyone's feeling or doing, so the characters are like flat automatons. There's no depth or ...more
Jessica (priceiswong)
Apr 06, 2016 Jessica (priceiswong) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
4.5 stars
Wow! What a book! I thought that reading through Death’s perspective was so unique! Zusak took a really interesting spin on Death and his opinion on humans.

It was interesting to see the perspective of Germans (who weren’t Jews) during WWII. It was odd to see the other side being hungry and all of the bombing… etc.

Leisel was such a lovely main character! I loved how she still could see so much beauty and worth during this hard time of the war. And of course I loved her love of books! Ma
Jul 26, 2008 Relyn rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Yikes! I didn't like it. So, no one.
Recommended to Relyn by: I've seen it everywhere
I have seen this book everywhere. I'm finally ready to sit down and read it. Yippie!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OK, I know that almost no one is going to agree with me, but I really didn't like this book. I hear about it everywhere and about how wonderful it is. Not for me. I really thought the narrative device was trite. Death as a narrator? Death, who ate colors and was kind and sympathetic? WHAT?? It just doesn't work for me. Plus, the story line is extremely disjointed.
Jan 27, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Having Death as the narrator and having as a central protagonist a young girl in Nazi Germany make The Book Thief by Markus Zusak stand out from the crowd of books about Europe during World War II; this book is good not so much because of the story, but how the author tells it.

In the Book Thief, Zusak uses a rich, multi-layered blend of allegory, metaphor and symbolism to create amidst the dirt and depression of Germany during the late 30s and 40s a stark vision of historical and philosophical
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Young Adult H...: The Book Thief - April Group Read 8 17 May 01, 2016 08:35PM  
Around the Year i...: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak 37 129 May 01, 2016 05:47PM  
Teen Critic: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 1 1 Apr 30, 2016 07:43PM  
Bookworm Bitches : November 2011: The Book Thief 103 432 Apr 29, 2016 07:21PM  
Fiction 1 15 Apr 26, 2016 08:41PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak - Restarting April 10th 2016 234 298 Apr 26, 2016 08:04PM  
  • The Kingdom on the Waves (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #2)
  • Hattie Big Sky (Hattie, #1)
  • The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals, #2)
  • Climbing the Stairs
  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
  • Briar Rose
  • The Scorpio Races
  • The Returning
  • Postcards from No Man's Land
  • Annexed
  • Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
  • A Little Wanting Song
  • Moloka'i
  • Book of a Thousand Days
  • Dangerous Angels (Weetzie Bat, #1-5)
  • An Acquaintance with Darkness
  • Penny from Heaven
  • Mare's War
Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wol
More about Markus Zusak...

Share This Book

199 trivia questions
13 quizzes
More quizzes & trivia...
“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.” 9110 likes
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 7277 likes
More quotes…