The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

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41 Responses to “The Book Thief, Markus Zusak”

  1. Asahfaust Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief, which is told by death, is about a young girl named Liesel who is living in Nazi Germany. Liesel is an orphan who moves in with Hans Huberman and his wife who Liesel despises. She becomes friends with her next door neighbor named Rudy who is a very good athlete and uses this to his advantage when stealing food, money and much more. As Rudy and Liesel become better friends they decide to try and steal things together. One of the trips involves the two of them meeting up with other trouble makers to go and steal fruits from a nearby farm but they are forced to run when the farmer sees them stealing and chases them off of his land. Living with her very poor family her father, who isn’t against Jewish people at all, finds a Jew. He decides that he will save the starving Jew and he sneaks him into his basement to keep him safe from the harsh winter and all of the people that would wish to send him to a camp. Later on in the story he sees the line of Jewish people being led in chains to a concentration camp. Her father, who is very kind, runs out to one of the Jews and gives him bread noticing that he is near death. A guard nearby sees Hans do this and he gives Hans a public whipping. After this the local police and Nazis have their eyes on Hans. The family continues to keep the Jewish man in their basement feeding him what they can and watching over him. Liesel and him begin to form a connection and learn to have fun with each other learning new words each day as the Jew and her father teach her to read many different books. The Jewish man (Max) soon becomes very sick and is asleep for many days; Liesel tries to make him wake up and he finally returns from his deep sleep. Soon after he decides he must go before someone is to find him which would result in the death of Hans and his family. While all of this is going on Liesel is getting very good at reading and is spending a lot of time at the mayor’s house where the mayor’s wife allows Liesel to read many of her books. After Hans gets in trouble for feeding Max the bread, Liesel is no longer allowed to go read books at the mayor’s wife’s house though and so she decides that her and Rudy will go and steal books from the house. After getting caught eventually by the mayor’s wife she is given a dictionary which Liesel loves. Soon after the sirens sound which mean that the bombs are coming; it turns out that it’s only a false alarm and it turns out that it was just a false alarm. Liesel was able to calm down the people by reading the dictionary so she decides that if it happens again she will read to them once again. The next time it happens Hans Huberman is back from the army which he had had to go to because he was being punished by the Nazis for helping out the Jewish man that was being walked to the concentration camp. This time the bombs sound without any warning. Liesel, who is in the basement, is the only person that lives because the basement protects her. Everyone dies but Liesel and the workers who come to clean up the rubble find Liesel.

    Evaluation: I found this book very interesting with many plot twists throughout the whole story that made me question what could possibly happen next. There were also many times that I would wonder how things could get any worse and when things would get better. Liesel was a very good character to have as the main character, because she is very unique and she has a lot to learn about herself and who she will become. Reading this book really makes you feel the emotions that the character is feeling. The story makes you feel joy, sadness and many other feelings.

    Rating: 4/5

    Recommendations: Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet, The Cat King of Havana.

  2. Ethan B. Says:

    Summary: The narrator of this novel is an odd choice – it’s Death itself. Death sees The Book Thief three times throughout the book, once on a train, next near a crashed plane, and finally after a tragic bombing. The colors he associates in this book pertain to each setting in which he sees her. The colors include white, red, and black, also known as the colors of the Nazi flag. The story begins when Liesel, and her family are traveling on a train to Munich when, out of nowhere, Werner dies. Liesel and her mother depart the train to bury the body. This is where Liesel steals her first book: from one of the gravediggers. She and her mother continue their journey to a town called Molching, where she will be raised by foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann. At first Liesel doesn’t get along with her foster parents, although Hans wins her over by teaching her how to roll cigarettes for him. Liesel slowly adjusts to her new life, even with the constant nightmares of her dead brother. Over time, she befriends a boy in the neighborhood named Rudy, who worships the American athlete Jesse Owens and also has a crush on Liesel. Meanwhile, the political situation in Molching and throughout Germany is becoming serious. It brings with it escalating war and a lack of food and available work. The town holds a book-burning to celebrate Hitler’s birthday, and this is where Liesel steals her second book: from under the flames. Liesel begins delivering laundry for Rosa, when one day Liesel is invited into Ilsa Hermann’s study, where she marvels at the walls of books. In Stuttgart, a German Jew named Max is almost forced to hide in a closet with no food, light, or water. A friend of his brings him false identity papers and a map hidden in Hitler’s autobiography. Max then leaves the closet to take the train to the Hubermanns’. Hans apparently served with Max’s father in World War I. After Max’s father died, Hans promised Max’s mother he would always help her. When Max enters Molching, Hans and Rosa hide him in the basement, just like before. He and Liesel turn out to become good friends as well. With Rudy’s help, Liesel begins to sneak into the Hermanns’ library to steal books. When Max gets sick and falls into a coma, Hans and Rosa worry about how they will dispose of him. But luckily months later, Max recovers. Nazi soldiers arrive and inspect the basement, and do, fortunately, not see Max. Liesel continues stealing books from the Hermanns’ library. Frau Hermann also leaves her a dictionary and thesaurus including a note saying she knows Liesel has been stealing from her. The Allies begin bombing near Molching, and the people on Liesel’s block must take shelter in a neighbor’s basement. Liesel read to them every bombing to comfort them. All except for Max, who has to stay in the basement. As the war intensifies, Nazi soldiers begin parading Jewish prisoners through town on their way to the concentration camp at Dachau. That night, Max leaves Hans and Rosa’s house. Hans waits for soldiers to take him away, but none do. Instead, they come to Rudy’s house to recruit him for a Nazi leader school. A few days later, both Alex and Hans are drafted into the German army. Hans is sent to Essen, in which he is part of a squad that cleans up after air raids. Hans breaks his leg on a bus, while another man he met earlier is killed. Hans then gets sent home. After another air raid, Liesel and Rudy find an Allied fighter pilot who has crashed his plane. They arrive right on time to witness him die. Death sees Liesel for the second time when he comes to collect the pilot’s soul. The Nazis then continue to march the Jews through Molching. One night, while Liesel is in the basement editing a book, her neighborhood is bombed. Hans, Rosa, Rudy, and the rest of the neighbors are all killed. When rescue workers pull Liesel out of the rubble, she finds Rudy’s corpse and gives him a kiss like he would have wanted. When the workers take her away, she leaves behind her finished book, called “The Book Thief.” Death, who has been watching, rescues the book. Liesel then goes to live with the mayor and his wife. After the liberation of the concentration camps, Max returns to Molching and finds Liesel. Liesel eventually ages and moves to Australia, where she has a family to live with until an old age. When Death finally comes to take her soul, he shows her the book she wrote so many years earlier.

    Evaluation: I truly did enjoy this book, even down to the most minor of details. Death narrating the book was a good idea and really did work. This book ranges from love elements to death elements, and does so magnificently. Almost every part of this book is near perfect, and is built on in a nice way as well.

    Overall Rating: 4.5 stars.

    Recommendations: To Kill a Mockingbird, I Am the Messenger, The Shadow of the Wind.

  3. Hank B-M. Says:

    The Book Thief takes place in the sleepy little town of Molching, Germany. Specifically on a little road called Himmel Street. This story is about a little girl living the life of a person in Germany during the reign of Hitler. The author chose to write this from the fairly odd perspective of death. In the book Liesel, who is the main character, is an orphaned girl who has just lost her little brother and her mother. She goes to live with an older couple by the names of Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She befriends an odd boy named Rudy Steiner, who has no reguards for the rules and social standards, as we find out when he covers himself in dirt to run like Jessie Owens. About halfway through the book, the Hubermanns receive an unexpected visitor by the name of Max. Max is a Jewish boxer who is being forced into hiding by the Nazi party who has taken over Germany. They let Max stay in their basement where he stays all day and all night. Max and Liesel become unlikely friends, and Max tells her many stories, and writes her a few books to read. In return she tells him what is going on in the world outside the small confines of his chambers. The book takes many evil twists which make for a very sad ending. The small town ends up being bombed by the allied forces, and Liesel comes out of her destroyed house to find that all of her friends and family have been brutally taken from her.

    This is a very emotional story, but I really enjoyed reading it. One thing you need to remember is that this was a very sad time in history so it’s going to be a sad book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves to learn about life in the past. It is a real page turner.

  4. Aspen B. Says:

    Summary:
    From the perspective of Death, The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, describes the story of a German girl named Liesel living in Nazi Germany. When Liesel’s mother signs her over to be adopted by Hans and Rosa Huberman, Liesel is at first timid. Throughout the story she becomes more adventurous befriending a boy named Rudy and stealing books in order to improve her reading skills with Hans. Later on in the story Hans pays off one of his debts by housing a Jewish man named Max. Liesel finds herself writing down the events of her frantic and interesting life. In the rising action alerts for a bombing begin to occur every now and then in the city. Finally one night in a climactic event, the bombs hit Himmel Street where Liesel lives. Most of her Friends and family die, but luckily she was in her basement reading and she survived. In the falling action Liesel kisses Rudy’s dead body in a hope that it will awaken her best friend. All through the story you see how a girl matures in a hostile environment and how Nazi Germany tore people apart.

    Evaluation:
    I found the perspective of this book very unique because it was written from Death’s point of view. The color imagery was fantastic and it had a very nicely crafted story line. I would strongly recommend this book because of its strong themes and its story. I would also recommend it because it gives you a window into the life of a citizen in Nazi Germany. The book always left me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. The powerful perspective that death had increased ones respect for what happened during the holocaust. The story also had a powerful female character which was nice to see. Overall it was a great book and I recommend it to everyone.

    Rating: 4.5/5

    Recommendations:
    All the Light We Cannot See
    Unbroken
    The Help

  5. Sophia S. Says:

    Summary:
    The Book Thief went into much detail about what life was like for the people in Germany during World War II. This book explained many different lives such as Liesel who had to live with a foster family. She was a tough girl who made many friends including Rudy, a boy her age, and the mayor’s wife who let Liesel use her library. As the title explains, Liesel loves to steal books to read, since her family was poor. For part of her life a Jewish man lived with them, which was very risky, but he and Liesel had a strong connection before he left and ended up in a concentration camp. As everything settles down and Liesel’s foster father comes home, her neighborhood is bombed, with her being the only survivor, because she was sitting in her basement writing a story. From bomb warnings to stealing food to survive, Liesel and everyone around her remain strong throughout the entirety of the tough times from living in Molching, Germany during World War II.

    Evaluation:
    The way this book was written, explaining all the different situations, was very effective for my understanding of the times back then. I really liked how they went into detail for how hard it was to live in those times; whether a family member was sent to war or it was hard to afford food. By explaining the detail, it makes the reader feel for the people that had to go through the tough times. I wish that there could have been more action and dramatic moments, because there were some points where the book kind of droned on and was a little hard to read. Overall I really liked the book and how much education it gave me on what it was like to live in Germany during World War II.

    Recommendations: A Moment Comes, Harry Potter #5

  6. Celeste R. Says:

    Summary: Liesel Meminger is a young girl in 1930s-40s Germany. When her brother dies on a train on their way to their new foster home she begins having nightmares about him. Her foster father reads with her her every night when she wakes up screaming, and the two develop a connection. She makes new friends in her new neighborhood in the poorer part of town such as Rudy Steiner, her neighbor who is always trying to kiss her, and the mayor’s wife who Liesel steals books from. Her foster father was saved in WWI by a Jewish man who died with the rest of his unit. The man’s son, Max, needs a place to stay to avoid capture, so Liesel’s foster parents hide him in their basement. Liesel, who has been learning to read, shares a connection with Max and the two read together. Max, who wants to give Liesel something, writes her books over thee painted over pages of Mein Kampf, showing the significance of how the two still fostered a bond amongst Holocaust era Germany.

    Evaluation: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is narrated by Death, is a unique and complex book with many underlying themes. This book was very well written with great word choice and many interesting details, suspense was created as the author as he revealed the ending in bits and pieces throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.

    Recommendations: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and Night by Elie Weisel

  7. Isiah T. Says:

    The Book Thief is about a little girl named Liesel, that is growing up in Germany at the height of the Nazi reign. The book is narrated by the mysterious figure of death, and follows Liesel as she grows from a quiet sad little girl, to a strong, young adult. As the story progresses, she starts to realize that her sacred Fϋhrer may be responsible for so many disappearances, and the death of her family.

    I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. I gave the book this rating because aside from a few things I disliked, mostly the pace and I think the tone was a little under developed. But it was still an all around good book. I really liked the fact that it was third person narrative, but the narrator, death was invisible to the main characters. This meant for lots of elongated character development. It also made for more plot twists, they were unexpected because if a character was holding a secret, you just didn’t know it. I also liked the historical accuracy.

    Recommendations:
    For similar books I recommend, I’d have to say Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally because of the same setting, tone, and principle of the book. It’s about, (if you haven’t already read the book or seen the movie) a man that saved many, many Jews from the chambers by sending them to work at his factories. And I’d also have to recommend Homeboyz. Homeboyz has a very similar tone, and setting, but it’s based in a different area. The book is about the severe gang problem in lower class/poor black neighborhoods, and takes place somewhere in southern US. Like I said, that seems quite different and it is, but the tone of the books are very similar, and the setting, both are in bottom class, suburban neighborhoods, with an organization trying to take over, and killing people in the process. Just in The Book Thief it’s Nazis, and in Homeboyz its street gangs that run illegal, drug, sex, and weapons trade to control territory.

  8. Amanda K. Says:

    The Book Thief: Liesel Meminger is a young girl living in Nazi Germany, her mother can no longer take care of her and her brother, so she’s taking Liesel and Werner to a foster family. On the way to their new home, on the train, Werner dies. They had a quick funeral service for him in a nearby town to where he died; that’s when Liesel steals her first book: The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Death is the narrator of the book, and after Liesel steals another book he gives her the name ‘The Book Thief’. Liesel’s foster father, Hans, teaches her to read because she’s 8 but has never had a proper education. Liesel has nightmares every night about her brother’s death, so Hans always comes in to comfort her and they read. Liesel meets a boy named Rudy, who is her neighbor, and they quickly become best friends and do everything together. Liesel and her family have to hide a Jewish man that somehow knows Hans and that’s when parts of Liesel’s life becomes secretive to the outside world. Throughout this book Liesel learns a lot about life, death, friendship, and family.

    Evaluation: This was a very good book, very intriguing but not a lot of suspense. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it used amazing details and word choice. I would definitely recommend this book to other people.

    Rating: I would rate this book 4 stars.

    Recommendations: Night, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Diary of a Young Girl.

  9. Hanna M. Says:

    Summary: Liesel Meminger, the main character of The Book Thief, struggled with the harsh government of the Nazi Party as well as her illiteracy. Liesel and her younger brother, Werner, were on their way to Molching to meet their new foster parents, the Hubermanns. However, Werner never made it to Molching and died on the train. As the gravediggers buried him, Liesel stole her first book, called The Gravediggers Handbook. When she first arrived at her foster home, she couldn’t read almost any of it. However, with the help of her foster father, Hans, she was able to learn to read and comprehend The Gravediggers Handbook and many other books. In the midst of Liesel’s book thievery, a young Jewish man named Max Vandenburg came to the Hubermann home in search of asylum. He remained hidden in their home for quite some time, until he felt as though he had overstayed his welcome. Max left Molching to protect the Hubermanns and left Liesel, never expecting to see her again. Liesel then adjusted to her normal life without Max and went back to stealing books and focusing on school, but she never forgot about Max and the friendship he provided.

    Evaluation: The Book Thief is a very complex story with many underlying themes and ideas about life, friendship, and death. World War Two is a very well-known historical time, however The Book Thief gives a different view of the time period. The story is narrated by Death himself, and he gives much needed satire to the serious story. Death tells the story in first person, telling of his experiences around the world during this time, but focusing on Liesel and her life. The point of view is at times misleading, as it is really in first person, but seems as though it is third person due to the main character not being the narrator. Death as the narrator makes for an interesting and well-rounded story with complicated themes about humanity.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Related Books: Night by Elie Weisel, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

  10. Jane E. Says:

    When Liesel is taken into foster care, her brother dies on the way and makes a really big impact on her. That is when Liesel steals her first book from a grave digger. Liesel is not able to read, so her foster dad teaches her, and they read every night together. Liesel meets a boy named Rudy, and they end up becoming friends. They go on many adventures which include stealing. The story takes a turn when Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew named Max in their basement which had many consequences if they got caught. After creating strong relationships with other people, Liesel’s neighborhood gets destroyed by bombs of war and she loses everyone she loved.

    This book is a really good book that gets the story out to you in a very vivid and detailed way. I liked how the author made the story flow throughout the different events that were taking place. Even though this book had a sad and depressing ending, the story showed a different perspective of what was happening during World War II.

    Rating: I would rate this book 4 stars

    Recommendations: The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Doll People

  11. Mike T. Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief is about a young girl named Liesel, a young German girl in WWII. She was on a train when she was separated from her parents and she was later adopted by a German couple. She is scared and lonely because of the death of her brother and is living with a German couple. The German couple then introduce her into books and she then gets addicted to books and reads so many it’s an escape for her to be happy. The book shows great strength and sacrifice made by the German couple to rescue her and keep her safe even though what they were doing was illegal and she had to have much strength in her books for her to be happy.

    Evaluation: Overall it is a very good book, and I enjoyed reading it; it had made me think about sacrificing stuff and taking things for granted.

    Rating: 4 stars

  12. Diana M. Says:

    Summary: This book is told in the point of view of death, death is telling the story. In this book it tells the story of a young girl, Liesel, during WWII. She’s taken in by a family, and that family has been helping a friend who is Jewish. Throughout the book, Liesel learns a lot about friendship, herself, death, and life lessons.

    Evaluation: This book was quite the read, overall I think it was a great book. It really shows a character developing, learning new things, and struggles. What I really liked is how this book was narrated by death, it was something different from what I have read in the past. Great book.

  13. Timmy D. Says:

    Summary: In The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak a young girl, Liesel Meminger, loses her brother from an illness and is separated from her parents. As a result she’s brought to Molching to live with the Huberman’s. This all takes place during WWII in Nazi Germany. Hans, Liesel’s foster dad, sees Liesel’s passion for reading. They build a relationship while he teaches her how to read.

    Liesel obtains her books by stealing. While Liesel illegally gathers books from the Jewish book burning, she is seen by the mayor’s wife. The mayor’s wife opts not to turn Liesel in, which forms a relationship between them around their love of books. Liesel’s relationship with the Mayor’s wife temporarily went bad, Leading Liesel to steal from her library. She did this with Rudy.

    Rudy, the boy next door and Liesel’s best friend, grows into an important part of Liesel’s life. He teaches Liesel how to have fun and make trouble. Even though they are best friends, Liesel is forced to keep a big secret from him, which is a Jewish man named Max.

    Max Vandenberg, the Jewish refuge, hides down in the Hubermann’s basement. Max is forced to stay in the basement all day to protect himself and the Hubermans. He spends most of his day drawing, pretending to fight Hitler and reading a little bit with Liesel. During the cold months of winter Max came down with an illness that left him unconscious for a couple of months. Which lead Liesel to spend time with him by read her stolen books to him. When Max awoke, he was told he was allowed to sleep in the warm house a night and stay in the basement during the day. Max left the Huberman’s, because he thought he was putting them in too much danger. In hopes of escaping, Max was caught and was thrown into a concentration camp. When the war ended Max came back to see Liesel, he learned that everyone is dead.

    Evaluation: I really enjoyed reading this book. I love how Markus Zusak use the point of view of death as the narrator. This made the story more interesting and addictive. This book is about death, love and pain. I thought the author did a really good job of keeping the story moving forward. I strongly recommend this book to all people.

    Rating: 4.5 stars

    Recommendations: Down the Mysterly River, The Emerald Atlas and any of The Hunger Games novels.

  14. Ivan M. Says:

    Summary: This book is about a young girl named Liesel, a young German girl during WWII. When she gets separated from her mother an old couple takes her into their home. When she is with them she becomes attracted to books to help her with the tough life she is going through. The old couple sacrifice themselves to help others in need. This book shows Liesel’s strength and the family’s trust of one another to keep safe during a hard time in their life.

    Evaluation: This book was very boring in the beginning, but as it told the story of Liesel it became very sad, and I did not want to imagine myself living through a hard time if I was her. Overall, this book is very well written and if you think it’s confusing in the beginning of the story, give it time and you will see that it takes a little while to understand the book and the way it’s written.

    Rating: 4

  15. Chloe S. Says:

    Summary:
    The Book Thief is a story about growing up during WWII. The book is narrated by death which gives it a unique perspective. Leisel Meminger, a young German girl, is sent into foster care during WWII. She is sent to live with an old German couple who decides to help an old friend by letting them hide in their basement. The book illustrates what it would be like to have to keep secrets of your friends and family to keep them safe. Leisel also has a fascination with books and reading helps her endure the tough situations she is put through.

    Evaluation:
    It was a very powerful book. Having the book narrated by death was an interesting choice by the author, but it made for a really good book and an interesting perspective. It was a good story and very informative about WWII.

    Rating: 5

    Recommendations:
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
    Into the Wild

  16. Anika B. Says:

    The Book Thief is a book that displayed a life of 12 year old girl named Liesel Meminger. Liesel lived during a time of war, dictatorship, death and despair. The time of digging her brother’s grave, a desire to read was strung from the finding of a book called the grave diggers handbook. She was observed by the narrator, Death. Death is perceived as a person that took the souls of the dead, every death experience the sky was a mysterious color that was a certain “flavor”. Liesel was left with a foster family that gave her an eternity of memories and experiences. The Foster father teaches her the basic knowledge of himself, including the specific rolling of cigarettes. The Mom had a close relationship with Liesel, yet that’s really all they had at that time. Liesel’s time spent in Mulching Germany was being involved in Hitler youth. Liesel had a surprisingly good start to her new life on Himmel Street, although the frequent nightmares of the death of her brother caused stress and depression to overcome her. The life of Liesel Meminger was made complicated because of the experiences she had from hiding a Jew named Max. In the beginning, Liesel was a shown as an angry character. Throughout the book she had begun to love and cherish her family. Closer to the end of the book she had turned into a strong willed character.

    The Book Thief was a book that I actually enjoyed to read. The perspective that I had on this book was way different from previous books I have read. I liked the idea that the narrator wasn’t a physical person. Many books explain small topics that take chapters to explain, The Book Thief had small segments’ throughout the pages that briefly explained what was happening. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to read and put the author’s ideas to thought.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Recommendations: The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  17. BAY G!!! Says:

    This book, written by Markus Zusak, is about a young girl named Liesel Meminger and how she is perceived by the narrator, Death. Liesel never knew her father, was given away by her mother to a foster family, and her brother died on the train ride to her foster family. She must start a new life on Himmel Street, Munich Germany. She finds her growing interest in books despite the fact that she cannot read. This is all going on while her foster family is hiding a Jew in their house while their country is filled with Nazis and war.

    I did not quite enjoy this book. I didn’t enjoy Death as the narrator. I don’t really like seeing Death as a physical person. I also didn’t enjoy the way that the events in the book progressed; it seemed too suspenseful without any actual events. Although, I did like his obvious sophistication and knowledge of this time period.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 5

    Recommendations: The Holy Bible. The Heaven Trilogy.

  18. Addi W. Says:

    Liesel Meminger is a young girl in Nazi Germany who has lost everything. She’s never known her father, her mother was taken from her, and her brother died in his sleep on the way to their new foster family. Liesel is forced to start a new life with these new foster parents and a black notebook she stole from one of her brother’s gravediggers. The Book Thief, strangely enough, is narrated by Death who as you can imagine, is very busy during this time period. He takes an interest in this girl he finds who finds comfort in books even though she can’t read. He fails to understand the human race as she goes through her life living in a war-torn country.
    For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The strange idea of Death as a physical figure trying to understand the emotions of the humans and amazing things they are capable of is intriguing. Markus Zusak puts an interesting twist on a historical fiction novel placed in WWII. However at times, I became annoyed at the suspense he would build that led to absolutely nothing.

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5

    Recommendations: The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Wolf Brother, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

  19. Bailey G. Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a book about a young girl named Liesel and her story throughout WW2. The book starts out at her home in Germany where her parents decide to send her away to a foster home. The book follows Liesel and her family throughout their struggles to help people in need during the war. The book also emphasizes Liesel’s need to read. The first book she takes is The Gravediggers Handbook; this is the first of many books that Liesel will go on to steal. Liesel goes through a lot of pain throughout her time in her foster home. A man named Max comes and hides in the Huberman household where Liesel is staying. Max and Liesel help each other grow and understand each other’s situations. Ultimately, this book greatly shows the struggle that Liesel experiences after her brother’s death and how she finds comfort in reading books.
    Evaluation: I thought that the book’s content was dark and a little confusing. Although the author did an amazing job writing the book, the way the book is narrated is confusing. I liked the parts in the book where the author gave a little more information into what is going on or what a word means. Sometimes the narrator would give away parts of the book and that was weird for the reader. All in all I liked the book and Markus Zusak did an amazing job writing about the struggles of families in WW2. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes stories that are gripping and have you on the edge of your seat.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

    Recommendations: The Diary of Anne Frank, The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas

  20. Ariel R. Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the story of a young girl named Liesel in Molching, Germany during WWII told by a very unusual narrator: Death. After the death of her brother, and her mother decides she is no longer fit to take care of her, Liesel is sent to live with Hans, a quiet; caring smoker who plays accordion, and Rosa Hubermann, a foul tongued woman with a bad temper. There on Himmel Street, she makes many new friends such as Rudy Steiner, the boy who pretended to be Jessie Owens and is always looking for a kiss. After Liesel steals her first book at the scene of her brother’s burial (The Grave Digger’s Handbook), Hans decides to teach her to read and write. She and Rudy go on to steal many books after that, and once Liesel is an accomplished reader, she lends comfort to many in the bomb shelters of Himmel Street. One of the strongest characters in the book is Max Vandenburg, a kind Jew that the Hubermanns hide in their cellar. He and Liesel become very important people to each other, and spend many hours reading together. Ultimately, this is a story of how Liesel grows from the trauma of her brother’s death and finds shelter in her books, eventually going on to write one herself.

    Evaluation: This is quite honestly one of the best books I have ever read. I feel the pain and struggle that Liesel goes through and the happiness she feels when small things go right. I don’t have any difficulties whatsoever in identifying with the characters. There are so many very strong themes in the book, such as friendship, love, and acceptance which just speak to me so powerfully. The way that Zusak ties the story into the war and the time period is very appropriate and done well. I feel like this is a very important book that many people should take the time and read. There is very good character development in Liesel and Max especially, and the way you see into each character is amazing. I also think the choice to have Death as the narrator was very ingenious.

    Rating: 5 stars

    Recommendations: Milkweed, I Am the Messenger, 1984, Fahrenheit 451

  21. Zack N. Says:

    Imagine reading a book that starts, “Here’s a small fact, you will die.” Markus Zusak’s book, The Book Thief, is that book. This is a book about love, pain, perseverance, bravery, the Holocaust, and the will to survive. This book covers four genres: romance, mystery, adventure, and comedy. One of the more interesting aspects of this book is that it is narrated by Death. The author somehow makes it seem as if Death, the character, hates taking people’s lives and that he is a very caring individual. This is what I liked most about the book, that it is narrated by Death. What I disliked about the book is that it is rather long and it takes a while to get to the point. This book is suitable for anyone over the age of 13 as there are some points in the book that are rather disturbing and dark. There is also quite a lot of adult language including English and German swear words, and some points of excessive violence. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars overall.

  22. Kyle H. Says:

    The Book Thief is a well written novel by Markus Zusak. The protagonist is a young girl named Liesel growing up in Germany during the late nineteen thirties. The book has the feel of historical fiction as the reader is introduced to Adolf Hitler and the onset of World War II through the eyes of everyday citizens living outside of Munich. Liesel loses her brother and her mother at a young age and is taken in by a dynamic couple as their foster daughter. At her brother’s graveside, Liesel sees something in the snow and she takes it. It is a book titled, “The Gravedigger’s Handbook,” and it is the first of many books that Liesel will steal. With the help of Hans, her accordion playing foster dad, Liesel begins to love books and discovers the power of words. Words can create hate and fear; words can also comfort and provide hope. This book is powerful because it focuses on relationships and reminds the reader that even the smallest actions can have a huge impact. Liesel is a likeable girl who exhibits wisdom beyond her years. The most entertaining parts of the story are times when Liesel and her neighbor, close friend Rudy, spend time together getting into mischief. The relationship that Liesel has with Max, the Jewish man hiding in her basement is also quite touching. Still, the author’s decision to use Death as the narrator is by far the most ingenious piece in the puzzle that is The Book Thief. The character of Death is not morbid, but instead he is funny and caring, adding a true bit of zest to the story. Overall, I would be hesitant to recommend this book to a friend even though I would give it a score of three and a half out of five.

  23. Emma F. Says:

    Markus Zusak’s book The Book Thief is a melancholic novel that causes its readers to understand the importance of reading and how it can help us escape our problems. In the book, it covers abandonment, the Holocaust, and trust. I liked that unlike most books themed with the Holocaust, it does not ONLY focus on it. It is still filled with other interesting details about what is going on during this time in the world. Also, I thought it was very interesting how The Book Thief was narrated by death himself. It gave the book an interesting twist without being too farfetched. I think this is definitely a book to read because it gives someone who might only think of reading as school related a new perspective on how it can be enjoyable. The book does have some swearing and disturbing scenes, so I probably wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under middle school, but it is a great book!

  24. Sam G. Says:

    The Book Thief, a book written by Markus Zusak, and narrated by Death, is about a girl named Liesel. Liesel lives in Germany in the Nazi era, she is adopted and is living with a family. The father, Hans, is a very nice man who teaches Liesel how to read and wants his son to be proud of him. The mother Rosa, hates Liesel and beats her. Later in the book Max lives with them in their basement. Max is Jewish, so the Hubermanns are hiding him from the Nazis. Liesel steals her first book, The Grave Digger’s Handbook. She will steal many more.
    One night, Hans finds The Grave Digger’s Handbook hidden in Liesel’s mattress after her usual nightmare of seeing her brother dying on the train. This is what makes him begin teaching her to read. When Liesel learns to write, she begins writing letters to her mother, but these letters go unanswered. Finally, we find out that her mother has disappeared.
    On Hitler’s birthday, Germany has a book burning celebration. But since Liesel now knows how to read and write she knows how much books are worth. She then hears a Nazi calling for the death of Communists and Jews, since her biological father was a communist she knows that Hitler is behind the death of her family. This inspires her to steal her second book, The Shoulder Shrug.
    Erik Vandenberg, a Jewish man who saved Hans’ life during World War one, dying in the process. Erik’s son, Max is hiding from the Nazis, and Hans is his last hope for his survival. Max hides in the Hubermann’s home.
    But in October 1942, Hans offers a Jewish prisoner a piece of bread while he is on his way to a concentration camp. Hans is whipped so he feels that the Nazis will track him down and find Max so they send him away that night.
    This story then turns into an emotional, heart wrenching story about Liesel’s life in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
    I strongly recommend this book because it is the first of its kind (nobody has written a Holocaust novel with death as the narrator before), and because of how powerful and moving it was.

  25. Bekah T. Says:

    The Book Thief is a fantastic historical fiction novel written by Markus Zusak. It is both a drama and a tragedy, and expresses themes such as trust, doing what is right, no matter how difficult, and to not give up. This book is a very interesting read; it is narrated by Death and his views on a little orphan girl’s life in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. I particularly like the characters in this book. My favorites are Papa, Max, and Rudy. I don’t really like the writing style of Zusak in this story, but it has a very good plot. This story is about an adopted girl whose family hides a Jew in their basement during the time of Jewish persecution by Nazi Germany. Much of the book is about the relationship between Leisel (the girl) and Max (the Jew). I think that if you had some free time, and feel like reading an interesting story, then this book is for you. As a precaution, know that it isn’t a happy, feel-good story, and it is quite long. Also note that there is a lot of cursing in this book, so if you are sensitive to that, it’s not the read for you. There are also many adult themes in this book (being based in Nazi Germany) and a lot of violence. I would give this book 3.5/5 stars. This book is good for anyone who wants a child’s view on the Holocaust and is interested in history.

  26. Jimmy C. Says:

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a compelling Holocaust era story that I recommend should be read by anyone interested in a good book. The book tells the story of a young girl named Liesel who moves in with a foster family in the small town of Molching, Germany. She becomes fascinated by books and forms an obsession with stealing literature. When her family decides to hide a Jew in their basement, her life radically changes.
    The main themes surrounding The Book Thief are loss, passion, and perseverance. The story is enthralling, and I find the narration by Death particularly interesting. The plot is one of a kind and does a great job of telling the story and captivating the reader. In addition, the setting and characters are also unbelievably realistic, which helps to create a genuine aura for the book so the reader can be emerged into the world. The genre for this book is historical fiction, but it also contains elements of many other genres. The Book Thief contains romance, action, suspense, thriller, mystery, comedy, and facts. It is truly a complete and well-written book.
    I recommend being at least 12 years of age in order to read this book. There is no sexuality, but it does contain violence and some suggestive themes. In conclusion, I would strongly recommend this book to all people because of its outstanding plot and overall incredibility. The Book Thief is groundbreaking and is a great book for young adults and adults to read. Not only does it provide historical perspective, but it also entertains the reader. I would give The Book Thief a rating of eight out of ten.

  27. Emma B. Says:

    Summary: This novel, narrated by death, focuses on the life of a German, orphan girl growing up in Germany during the Second World War. Young Liesel faces tragedy from the very beginning of her life. After being adopted by a couple of parents, she starts her life as a normal teenager, yet she doesn’t feel like it. In a world where it is easy to feel lonely, Liesel finds refuge in the books she steals. With constant conflict about the ideas of life, how to survive when you are one of the few who think the way you do, or just attempting to find a new book for an escape, the troubled teenager tries her best when all she has ever known is life full of tension, heartbreak, but also with true love.

    Evaluation: As a dark and thoughtful book, I enjoyed The Book Thief. Markus Zasuk does a great job conveying deep ideas while keeping the language beautiful and fun to read. The story of the young girl was relatable, while looking at World War Two through the eyes of death is also very interesting. I liked learning about the Holocaust while reading because it was Historical Fiction. The Book Thief is a great read for people who enjoy a touching story and world history.

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

  28. Kieran L. Says:

    Summary: During WWII, there is a young girl named Liesel. When she was very young her brother died and her mom gave her away to another family. Her family helps a young Jewish man by risking their lives and keeping him in their basement. Liesel learns a lot about life, and she steals a couple books along the way.

    Evaluation: I thought this book was very good. I like the way they showed the book through death’s eyes. I had never read a book like that. I also liked how they talked about all the different colors. I thought they did a great job of telling the story of Liesel while also informing people of WWII and the holocaust.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: Into the Wild, Night, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  29. Garrett W. Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief is about a girl, named Liesel Meminger, during the Holocaust in 1939 Nazi Germany, right before WWII. While at her brother’s graveside, she comes across a book partially buried, called The Gravediggers Handbook. This sets the story’s structure for the book. With help from her stepfather, she learns to read. With this comes the thievery and lying. But when Liesel’s family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s fate takes a wrong turn.

    Evaluation: I thought, although it’s long, the book all in all is a very well crafted piece of literature. It builds up into a climactic set of events that leaves you on the edge of your seat. All around a war is starting, and with war comes death.

    Recommendations: The Glass Castle, The Glass Lake, The Help

  30. Dante C. Says:

    Summary: At her brother’s funeral, Liesel Meminger picked up a book that changes her life forever. The Grave Digger’s Handbook was accidentally left there leading to Liesel’s first stolen book. Her musician step-father teaches Liesel to read, and she loves it. Later she starts stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, and anywhere she can find books. But it soon becomes hard. When Liesel’s family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s life changes once again.

    Evaluation: I thought the book’s content was intense and the author’s craft was very creative. The way he narrates is very surprising, and the style in which he foreshadows is strong and somewhat confusing. The length of the book is challenging to get through in a short period of time. All in all, this book is not sugarcoated, and it will absorb you if you get into it.

    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    Recommendations:
    • The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank
    • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    • Heaven Eyes by David Almond

  31. Michael L. Says:

    Summary: It is 1939 in Germany Hitler is just taking control and is using the Nazis all over the world. Leisel Meminger has to move into a foster family and experience life in a new way. She must keep lots of secrets safe after her father and mother do some traitorous things against the Nazi party. Leisel has to keep dangerous secrets to protect not just her, but her friends and family.

    Evaluation: I really enjoyed reading this book; it was very interesting. I couldn’t put the book down. It just sucked me in to the story. The author made the narrator interrupt the story every now and then to answer some questions that would be in the readers’ minds, but, with the narrator interrupting and explaining, it also spoiled some of future events of that take place in the end of the book.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Recommendations:
    1) Peter and the Star Catchers
    2) The Story of Daniel
    3) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

  32. William W. Says:

    Summary: A young German girl is separated from her mother and sent to live with an old couple in Germany during World War II. The book is written from a unique perspective, the perspective of Death. The young girl, named Liesel, matures throughout the story and makes several friends including a boy named Rudy. During this time Liesel’s foster parents agree to help an old friend by hiding his son in their basement. Throughout the book you see how a girl grows up in Nazi Germany and the death and suffering that come with it, and how it can bring people together, or tear them apart.

    Evaluation: I found it an extremely unique book being that it was written from the perspective of Death, something I had not seen before. The book’s slower pace does not appeal to all, however I found it refreshing, not having a completely action packed book, and how Zusak sets up the exciting parts. Also, Zusak shows us what life may have been like of the “enemy” and what civilians went through when “we” attacked them.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Recommendations: The Diary of Anne Frank, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

  33. Sarah H. Says:

    Summary: The Book Thief is the story of a young girl named Liesel growing up in Germany while it’s under Hitler’s rein. After the death of her brother and losing her mother, Liesel clings to her new foster father, Hans, and finds herself making many new friends on Himmel Street. Death tells her beautiful story as she is surrounded by the ugliness of the world. Rudy, Max, Rosa, and Hans all find themselves in awe of this powerful little girl who learned to read by stealing books.

    Evaluation: This book is one of the best I’ve read. The wonderful characters really made the story and problems seem real. Fabulously crafted, I enjoyed every page of the book whether I was laughing or crying. The narration is so unique that it would be terrible if used the wrong way but Zusak executed it perfectly. Overall, a great novel.

    Rating: 5 stars

    Recommendations: The Glass Lake, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Child of the Morning

  34. Hattie N. Says:

    Summary: This book is showing the life of a girl named Liesel, her friends and family, and the war from the point of view of death. This story takes place in Germany, and follows Liesel and her family while they risk themselves to help other people in need. With all the tragedy and heartbreak that it shows us in this book, Liesel stays strong and fights her way through.

    Evaluation: At the beginning of this book I thought I was going to hate it, because it was so confusing, and it barely explained stuff. However, when I got the middle, I started to enjoy it and the way it was written really made me think. So overall, I would say it just takes a while to really get into the book, and understand the way it is written.

    Rating:

    Recommendations: The Glass Castle, The Secret Life of Bees, Three Little Words

  35. Tess P. Says:

    Summary:
    Liesel is a young orphan surrounded by tragedy and darkness. Her story begins on one of the darkest days of her life, the day she earned her title. Liesel experiences many horrors of World War II through the eyes of Max, a Jew that finds a way into her heart. As she grows, she learns the importance of friendship, family, and books. Narrated by death, “The Book Thief” captures the life of a troubled teenager and the events leading to the end.

    Evaluation:
    I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved how Zusak writes in the point of view of death, because readers are given a whole new perspective of events that are not normally known. Another thing I noticed while reading this book was that I had to slow down and really consider the meaning of the words. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Recommendation:
    Looking for Alaska, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Paper Towns

  36. Sarabeth P. Says:

    Summary: Liesel, a young German girl living in the time of Hitler goes to Himmel street. She befriends a boy by the name of Rudy who is always asking her for a kiss. Hans Huberman is Liesel’s foster father, he teaches Liesel how to read and write. Hans has a friend named Max who stays with them, but Max is different; he is a Jew. All of the people on Himmel Street have a relationship with Liesel in some way and it progresses throughout the story, but after a bombing close to home, Liesel finds herself writing a story, a book, about her life.

    Evaluation: The Book Thief is a great entrance. It pulls you in and won’t let you go. You feel very attached to the characters after awhile. I love that they throw some German into the text. It makes you feel like you’re in Germany with them. I loved that they showed both sides of what living in that time meant, the poorer and the richer. Even though the book is sad at times, I realize that the story is very true to the actual events in history.

    Rating: 5 Stars!

    Recommendations: Three Cups of Tea, The Belgariad series.

  37. Riley S. Says:

    Summary: Leisel is a little girl who lives in Germany. She is upset at the world because her brother died and her mother abandoned her. She has to go to a foster home and is mad that she does. But while she’s there she learns how to read and write. She finally found something she had loved in life.

    Evaluaton: I thought this book was kind of boring. It expanded things to many times and was sad. It also was from a confusing perspective.

    Rating: Two stars.

    Recommendations: The Bolgaread series of 5 books, The Hunger Games

  38. Sophia S. Says:

    Summary: Liesel is nine years old when her brother dies and she is adopted into a home on Himmel Street in Germany. Her parents keep her safe until they have to risk their families life in order to save another family from the prejudice towards Jews during World War II. Liesel learns many new things through her journey. Death tells her story through many friendships, heartbreaks, robberies and life long lessons.

    Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book. The way that Zusak develops the characters makes me feel like I actually know them. Also, the story and the way that it’s told is so different from any other way someone else would tell the story. Zusak goes through the prejudice and friendships that Liesel faces almost as if he were telling his own story.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: The Help, Fever 1793, The Hot Zone

  39. Stephen K. Says:

    Summary: This story is narrated by Death and tells the story of Liesel, Hans, Max, and Rudy in the German town of Molching during World War II. Liesel’s mother signed Liesel over to be adopted by Hans and his wife, Rosa Huberman. She befriended Rudy and they became friends for life. Hans’s friend from World War I, Erik Vanderburg, who saved his life, asked that Hans take care of his son back home. Erik’s son, Max Vanderburg, is a Jew living in Nazi Germany and he hides in Hans’s basement. Death tells this tale with cynisim that is unparalleled. This is a great read for anyone.

    Evaluation: I thought this book, good, not great. This book had many common things, death, love, joy, and sorrow. Zusak wrote this brilliantly using Death to narrate the story. Using Death to narrate the story was something I never saw before, but greatly enjoyed. Zusak use of calm and suspense was a real page-turner.

    Rating: 4/5

    Recommendations: If you’re looking for a book similar to this, Milkweed is good. I usually read Fantasy novels and a great author is Rick Riordan, who wrote the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and The Red Pyramid. He also wrote The Throne of Fire. I would also recommend The Hunger Games series.

  40. Yuli B. Says:

    Summary: Liesel is a young girl known as the Book Thief. Her story is told in the perspective of Death as he meets her many times throughout her life as a German orphan. Liesel’s foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, help Liesel survive through Hitler’s reign while they themselves hide a Jew in their basement. Rudy Steiner, Liesel’s childhood friend, is also there to guide her along the path of friendship and childhood as she matures.

    Evaluation: This is a well-written story, and many readers will love Zusak’s unique style of writing. I enjoyed the outline of the story, and I thought Zusak did an amazing job portraying what it was like during WWII. His detailed, vivid descriptions allow the characters to really come to life. At first, being in the perspective of Death really confused me, but after a while, it became almost second nature.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Reccomendations: Revolution, Uprising, Numbers

  41. Eric B. Says:

    Summary: This book tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl orphaned during WWII. A German family takes her into their home, and she lives with them until they have to decide to risk their own safety to help a family friend in need. As Liesel learns and grows, she learns more and more about life and death in a troubled age.

    Evaluation: I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. Zusak developed the relationships between Liesel, Rudy, and Max in a way that I felt myself befriending them as well. The unusual narration and compelling characters made me eager to read to the very last page.

    Rating: 5 stars

    Recommendations: Looking for Alaska, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Hunger Games

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