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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 13,656 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 17,315 reviews
on September 11, 2016
What a wonderful story of Germany before and during the World War II years. Our main earthly character is Liesel a young German girl who's brother dies as they are heading to their adoptive parents in a rural suburb of Munich. From there we follow Liesel as she develops and becomes literate with the help of her adopted father, her curiosity and nimble fingers.

It's a wonderful story narrated by the Grim Reaper who adds background and describes for us the horrors that young eyes might be seeing at the time. The characters are so well developed you'll feel you know them.

It's hard to give such a wonderful book credit through a review. Just look at the high rating this book has across the span of, at this time, 18 - 19,000 reviews. It's standing the test.
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on May 6, 2014
After watching the movie, I hesitated in reading the book. The movie was great, but it was to me a different story. Zusak's characters were not black and white people, which I found interesting and as an adult I could understand both Liesl's POV and a grown up perspective. Why the movie chose to make some of the people seem more like the bad guys I don't understand. I was able to see many different types of people were not the devout Nazis they were supposed to be and Death's views on humanity instead of the whole right and wrong issues were both interesting sections to me. I wasn't prepared to feel compassion for anyone who was a Nazi, even if they were only a fictional character.

This isn't the first time I've read Death as a character and often I find Death is as involved with the humans in the story as I, the reader, am. I suppose it's a bit like bird watching, I enjoy all the birds and even though they squabble amongst themselves I am an outsider and therefore don't feel as passionately about what happens between them. I can appreciate each one and find beauty in all of them. Death is a lot like this in The Book Thief.

I wasn't quite sure about the ending of the book, Liesl's end of life left many questions for me. I tried to piece what I saw in the movie and match it up with the book, but am not sure if that's how Mr. Zusak saw it. This was a hundred times better than the movie and I loved the movie.

This book is appropriate for both older children and adults. I think children should discuss the book with an adult after they've read it, because the whole WWWI and WWWII topic is something that should be talked about frankly and openly.

Great job Markus Zusak!
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on December 17, 2016
Anyone who is truly interested in the life of a young girl during the Holocaust would love this book. The Book Thief is a work of fiction so it is not a true story but with how it is written you could believe it. From the first line I fell in love with this book, Liesel Meminger is such a brave and spirited little girl and you can see how she becomes a brave and spirited young lady. Overall, buy this book because it's worth it. There is some heartache in here but what would you expect. So I hope you choose this book and that you love it as much as I did.
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on May 4, 2012
I was ambivalent about this book regardless of the positive reviews; however, I went ahead and placed a hold on it at my local library.

When I started reading 'The Book Thief' I felt a bit perplexed and felt maybe this book wasn't for me. After the first few pages I decided to put the book away and pick up the reading the following day. Instead of the following day, I continued a few hours later. I am glad I decided to continue reading and not return the book, because, `The Book Thief' is now one of my favorite books. And I have bought it to add to my collection.

I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer so I had to ponder a few times what the writer was trying to relay. In other words, the book will make you stop to think - it's not one of those books where `red' means `red'. You will find lots of similes and metaphors throughout the book.

The story of Liesel's life is beyond captivating and the writer made me feel as though I was actually there during her highs and lows. Liesel is charming, funny, witty and a young girl who's been through loss and abandonment but somehow managed to get beyond her early struggles.

The characters are all alive, with their own peculiar personalities; their different stories of life to tell. The characters are almost palpable and not one of them can be called boring.

The story of Liesel's life is narrated by Death - yes, `death', as in, the Grim Reaper. You'll find Death to be quite a comic, likable and almost human. With a very busy work schedule.

This book brings out various emotions and quite frankly, I cried when I read some aspects of the book. It was a very emotional read, some people may say depressing. However, it was worth reading.
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The Book Thief's beauty is in its simplicity. The book is narrated by Death, and he tells us the story of Leisel Meminger a young German girl who at onset of World War II, has already endured some very difficult personal trials. Through The Grim Reaper's narration we follow Leisel's new life on Himmel (German for heaven) Street in the fictional town of Molching. We meet a cast of characters meant to show us what life was like for the average German citizen as the Nazi party hurled the world into war.

The book gets its title from Liesel's taking a book dropped on the ground during a very traumatic moment in her early life. This book is used by her step-father to teach Leisel to read and write. Through these teaching sessions, she develops a strong bond with her step-father, and a love for words and reading and writing and of course, books. Throughout the novel Leisel does what she can to procure new books and she uses them to enrich her life and the lives of her friends and neighbors. The most poignant moments come as Leisel and a houseguest, Max, share their love of reading together, and He creates some books for her. This "guest" is a young Jewish man whom the family takes in and hides at great risk to their own safety.

Through Leisel and her small world we see the Nazi party gain a foothold with nearly every citizen in town. We learn that there are real and personal costs to individuals who disagree with the party. We see what it was like to live with rationing. We watch as a populace does nothing and often even joins in on the harassment of the Jews in their town. Soon they are all gone and we are taught the price that individuals might pay to help a Jewish friend with the Nazi machine at full power.

I say that the beauty of this novel is its simplicity because so many of the insights are delivered through the stories of children and their daily lives. It was somewhat reminiscent of Huck Finn in that regard. Death communicates in simple, short sentences, and the writing is beautifully to the point; poetic.

The Book Thief is a novel that manages to be beautiful despite its subject matter. It is a novel that you will feel more than you will read.
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on August 5, 2015
Excellent book...kept my interest. To me, it was seeing the life of the German family during the war...but I know for a fact, the German population was all for Hitler and his henchmen, even though the book shows the average German under the heel of the military and police....I have a hard time buying that as we all can see films of the German people salivating over the monster Hitler, and all of the dead Jews. I do believe the average Germans were the ones that gave the Nazi party the encouragement to do exactly what they did. Yes, the German people suffered towards and after the war, but to me, the great majority opened the door and welcomed the killings that led to their sufferings. It's the children in the book that are also victims and this book clearly shows that but when men crave war, it's inevitable the innocent children are victimized.
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on February 21, 2013
Markus Suzak has turned out a masterpiece in this story of an orphaned girl, Liesel, whose foster parents do not fit the mold of their antisemitic, Nazified town. The girl's challenges -- the loss of her real parents and her younger brother, her accustoming herself to a new mother who can be off-the-charts loony, a town that will not brook variations from its norms, and her own battle to teach herself to read and write -- make for a page turner. It is not without hope: her relationship with her new "Papa," a man who teaches by example love of one's fellow (even one who is hunted down for being Jewish) is a vital component of the book. The sympatico between Liesel and one of the downtrodden is meaningful and poignant, and even Death becomes a sympathetic character, quite an accomplishment given his job.

Written in the first person from the viewpoint of the Angel of Death, this book is so well-written I ended up with over a hundred underlined passages. There's hardly a page on which either a whole exerpt or a turn of wrenching phrase does not capture the reader.

I'd say that the theme may be a little adult-like for a Young Adult audience, but I may be behind the times. In any case, The Book Thief is unforgettable, and, of the 100+ Young Adult novels I've read in the past six or eight months, head and shoulders above the rest.
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on May 7, 2014
This book is for everyone to read. To learn of Word War II's early beginnings, through the experience of a German family's perspective, helped me to understand more about the "other side". Having the protagonist be a little girl who is searching for life's meaning and belonging too, provided a fresh dimension that never stopped moving me. Reminding me how the world appears to innocent eyes, and shapes a character's growth. And that the narrator of this story was Death itself, kept me glued to the pages. Marcus Zusak's story was written in a format that kept surprising me with it's unique format. Brief listing of the ingredients of each chapter set the stage for the unfolding of what later takes place. A kind of reassuring recipe for what is to come of the tale. Easefully he presents the horrors of war and the daily struggles of each member of a family in their needs to normalize a life which teeters beyond the brink. A brilliant author who has succeeded in painting a new and engaging picture of a history which still affects us all.
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on November 10, 2015
This is now my most favorite book. I love how the author uses words to describe the surroundings, scenery, emotions with just a few profound words, like poetry, when it takes pages for other authors to say the same thing. I did not see the movie, and I probably won't either. I can't believe that a movie could ever be as good as this book. What an adventure for a child so young. To have been loved by strangers when her world has been taken from her. Death has always been a chilling character, but this one has a circle for a heart. He admired this girl and how she adapted to everything - that which is bad, is also good in her life. I'm glad I bought this book instead of borrowing it from the Kindle Library. I will go back and reread this book. I enjoyed my time with all of these characters and was sad when the story came to an end.
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on June 16, 2017
This story is told like a poem, like a painting. A fast moving storyline you will not find here. Every little snippet of the story comes together to paint a picture of the soul of these characters. There are much insights into the nature of humanity, the power of words. Out of so much sorrow and destruction, it is not hatred and despair you will find, but love and hope. It is hard to finish the story with dry eyes, but they will not only be tears of sadness. It will be the enormous beauty of love that arouses your emotion. I know this story will stay me. The characters will live in my heart. I will revisit them for years to come.
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