The Book Thief
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The Book Thief

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4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  609,398 ratings  ·  66,357 reviews
HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 8th 2007 by Black Swan (first published 2005)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakAgainst The Tide by John F. HanleyThe Last Boat by John F. HanleyThe Orphans of Dachau by Anthony HulseAtonement by Ian McEwan
WWII Historic Fiction
1st out of 408 books — 286 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Colleen
Sep 15, 2007 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Tamara
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,...more
Sophia.
THE BOOK THIEF: A Summary.

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...more
La Petite Américaine
Feb 17, 2014 La Petite Américaine rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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...more
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.
Yes.
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...more
Kat Kennedy
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...more
Nataliya
Jul 02, 2012 Nataliya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Jason
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...more
Zannachan
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...more
Michael
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...more
Walt
Dec 07, 2013 Walt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
Michael Kneeland
Jun 26, 2012 Michael Kneeland rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Lora
Jan 18, 2012 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
Daniel
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...more
Relyn
Jul 26, 2008 Relyn rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yikes! I didn't like it. So, no one.
Recommended to Relyn by: I've seen it everywhere
7/22/08
I have seen this book everywhere. I'm finally ready to sit down and read it. Yippie!

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

7/25
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....more
martha
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
Diane
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...more
Joyzi
Aug 16, 2011 Joyzi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every living person who can read
Recommended to Joyzi by: Youtube
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(courtesy of www.deviantart.com)

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...more
Wendy Darling
The final discussion post for our Book Thief Readalong is up on the blog!

description

All three of us ended up liking, but not loving it the way so many of our fellow readers seem to. What did you think?

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3.5 stars I loved Max, "The Standover Man," Hans, and few other moments, but overall found that the writing style distracted from the story for me. Disappointing that I don't love this as much as so many of my fellow readers seem to.

karen
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...more
Kira
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Magdalena
Jul 12, 2007 Magdalena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults (despite its genre in the US)
Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief has one of the most original and striking narrators since Julian Barnes introduced us to the canny perspective of a woodlice in History of the World in 10½ Chapters. There’s no caginess about it. The first word of the first chapter’s title makes it clear that the narrator is a personified Death: the not so grim reaper. Having Death as the narrator for a book set in Germany at the start of World War II starts the book on exactly the right blackly humorous tone which...more
Alejandro
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...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 01, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates the power of words, those who enjoy reading holocaust era fiction
I admit that I am perplexed about why this is considered a young adult novel and not an adult novel that could be read by those 12 and up. The title character is a young girl, but there are plenty of novels written for adults that have young main protagonists. And I have to say that I could have enjoyed it at 12 but perhaps it’s more appropriate for those 14 and up, although that obviously depends on the reader. But I know that I enjoyed it more reading it as an adult than I would have as a youn...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. The first thing I need to say is that it's quite possible that if I were to re-read this book at a later date, I might plant a gushing 5 ***** rating on this book (or at least an enthusiastic 4 stars). The writing is so gorgeous and descriptive that I truly found myself amazed by Zusak's prose. This is a book you could literally pick up and start reading at any page and find a memorable quote or a unique turn of phrase. It's just superbly well written.

The best way to review this is t...more
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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 Wolfe...more
More about Markus Zusak...
I Am the Messenger Getting the Girl (Wolfe Brothers, #3) Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Wolfe Brothers, #2) Underdog (Wolfe Brothers, #1) Underdogs (Wolfe Brothers, #1-3)

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“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.” 7000 likes
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 4995 likes
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