Author: Markus Zusak
Number of Pages: 552
Rating: 5 stars: LOVED IT
Genres: YA Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction
Books like it: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
My favorite quote: “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.”
Brief Synopsis from Goodreads:
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
A book full of heart-warmers and heart-breakers, this story will definitely be one that you will never forget.
A Story First:
The Book Thief’s Word
Written by Smiley Sarah
Hope: noun. To have faith that something will happen or come.
Synonyms: belief, confidence, desire, expectation, optimism
Once upon a time, there was a thief. This thief was not an ordinary type of thief, for she did not steal things like jewelry, money, or food.
She stole words.
This thief knew that words are the most valuable and powerful things in the world.
They can bring light or darkness, cause despair or anger, spark hope or create love. They can shatter someone’s heart forever or mend it back together. Words can destroy buildings, countries, and souls. Words have the power to change the world, for better or for worse.
Adolf Hitler used them for worse.
His words had the power to blind others, to make them hate, rebel, and urge to destroy.
Urge to cleanse Germany of the Jews.
The book thief knew that this was wrong. She was hiding a Jew in her basement, and he also had the power of words. But his words were different from the Führer. His words gave her a gift, that gave her the key to unlock her from her grief and confusion, one word to set her free.
That word was hope.
The book thief would hold that word close, and pass it to the hearts of others around her, to change their lives and let them search for the light in their world of darkness.
She would never let go of her hope.
Now: For My Feelings and Reactions
Yay, now that we all know that Sarah is a really bad writer, let’s get on to my actual feelings and reactions.
If you need to know anything at all about me as a reader, it is this:
I hate anything that happened in reality. Or that could.
I know that sounds really stupid, but I love books that challenge my imagination, that are purely brilliant fictional ideas, with magic and aliens and all those awesome things.
So when my friend kept bugging me to read The Book Thief, I did NOT want to, because I already knew that I wouldn’t like it.
This is now possibly one of my favorite books. Ever. Of course, it will never beat Divergent or Legend, but it is definitely in third place.
Why? This book was so beautifully written, and I was just connected to all of the characters. I cared about them. I cared so much.
A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.
Rudy is a blond haired boy that is Liesel's best friend. Together they steal apples, potatoes, and of course, for Liesel, books. And this friendship all started when Rudy threw a snowball at her face, or, in other words, how all friendships start. Rudy, however, is not just a friend to Liesel.
He is madly in love with her.
The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.
I fell in love with Rudy, because he was brave, smart, and a perfect friend to Liesel. He was constantly asking her for a kiss throughout the book, and I won’t tell you if he gets it or not.
Oh, how I loved Hans, Liesel’s foster parent, who she calls Papa. He holds Liesel after her many, many nightmares at night and reads to her, sparking her love for words. His accordion is constantly playing in their home, bringing a sense of peace and comfort with it. His love for Liesel is shown in the pages as boldly as if it were in neon orange. He has a kind heart, especially for the Jews. It is shown many times throughout the book, and to me he stood as a reminder that in a dark world, there are some who can bring light.
C. Liesel, aka the book thief
Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.
Last but not least, Liesel, the book thief. This book is written in the POV of Death, and so we don’t actually get to see many thoughts running through her mind, and she didn’t have as much dialogue as I wanted her to. Funny how you can develop a character purely based on their actions.
Liesel has fire, she has rebellion, and she has words. And if Hitler can use the words for bad, she knows that she can use her words for good. There is a spark in her that REFUSES to be extinguished, and she won’t give up. As long as she has her words, she has power.
Now for the actual plot…..
Ahem… now for the real reason you read this review. What is this book about?
Flash back to Germany during World War 2 and the reign of Adolf Hitler. In case you can’t remember from history class, this was a time when Hitler believed he needed to rid Germany of the Jews. He put them in labor/work camps, and most of them died from gassing, sickness, hunger, or exhaustion. In all, an estimated 6 million Jews died during what is now called the Holocaust.
Imagine for a moment that you live in Germany during this time, and in your basement hides one of these Jews. You know that if he is discovered, your parents will be killed or arrested, and you will be thrown into an orphanage. Imagine that you no longer know if your real parents are alive or not, and your younger brother died on your way to your foster parent’s house.
This is the life of Liesel Meminger, a girl who lives in Germany during World War 2. A Jew named Max is hidden in her basement, and he tells her stories and builds snowmen with her. But this is not her only secret.
Liesel steals books. Her first book was a handbook for gravediggers, that a boy dropped during her brother’s funeral. She picked it up, seeing it as her last memory of her brother. When Papa, her foster father, finds the book tucked beneath her bed, they begin to read together, and slowly Liesel learns to read and write. In the small, cold bomb shelters, her words will give comfort and hope to her neighbors.
Even though this book was not sci-fi or fantasy, I still fell in love with the way the author spun the story of the book thief with his words. This was a heartbreaking and inspiring story, and I felt really connected to all of the characters. I enjoyed reading the story of the book thief, and I learned more about history while still being entertained. This is an unforgettable story about the power of words and never giving up hope. So don’t walk, run-
- (see what I did there?) to your local library or store and pick up a copy of the Book Thief. You will definitely not be disappointed.
*I do not own any of these gifs. They are from the Book Thief movie, which is out in theaters now.