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The Book Thief

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  925,905 ratings  ·  79,828 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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 15, 2007 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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 1 of 5 stars
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
Jul 02, 2012 Nataliya rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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

sigh. 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 rather underwhelming... I mean, what's wrong with me?? Did I not get it?? Obviously it must be a lack of intelligence or something of that sort 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 lickle tiny bit, and after seeing 5 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars... I found Stephen
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
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
Dec 07, 2013 Walt rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Whitney Atkinson
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.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
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
Michael Kneeland
Jun 26, 2012 Michael Kneeland rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Kat Stark

*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:

Really wish I enjoyed this novel as much as so many other people have, definitely one of those books where I'm in the minority.
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
Meg ♥

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
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
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
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
Jul 28, 2015 Lora rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Holocaustic fiction
Recommended to Lora by: someone should have!
It's probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler's reign, no person was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me. A human doesn't have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence of this is that I'm 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, ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Relyn rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.
Aug 16, 2011 Joyzi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every living person who can read
Recommended to Joyzi by: Youtube
(courtesy of

Certainly one of the best books that I have read so far. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It's beautifully written, the descriptions of the skies, people, places are just unique, the descriptions used are not the usual like the author used to say his hair is like lemons, or he has hair like feathers.

The friendship and love story of Liesel and Rudy keep me from reading. It's just so cute and I always smile whenever I have read Rudy saying, "H
Words, books and the power that they have.

The Book Thief is a wonderful story full of emotions.

I think that any book that touches the topic of the holocaust in the World War II always gets some attention but this book is not only worthy of attention due that but also for its amazing writing style and presentation.

I think that the first thing that touched me was the choice of narrator. If somebody has any right and knowledge to talk about what happened in WWII is the one that Markus Zusak selecte
i meant to write a review for this months ago, when i actually read it. now this poor book is sitting on my virtual shelves, unreviewed, unspouted-about. and i have been feeling very guilty about it because every book deserves a half-hour's written thoughts about it.

but honestly.this book.

at this point, i believe anyone who has an interest in it has already read it, right? i was one of the last people in the world to get on board. and it's like, how would you review a chocolate chip cookie? ever
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
EDIT: March 2015
I've read this a few more times since I last edited this review. The latest re-read was for uni, because I'm writing an essay on it FINALLY. Very interesting.

EDIT: January 2014
I met Markus Zusak!! For the release of The Book Thief movie, Markus Zusak has been touring Australia and I managed to get tickets at the last minute to an event he did in Brisbane. It was my first ever book signing (his books are the only signed books that I own) but it was such a wonderful experience. Ma
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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
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“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.” 8701 likes
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 6796 likes
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