The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – Book Review

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak - Book Review

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a book that follows a girl who has been sent away from her family during WWII. This historical fiction book is a heartbreaking and beautifully written story that explores the themes of love, literacy, and power. This book review of The Book Thief is spoiler-free, but there is also an interesting twist to the story. Zusak uses Death as a narrator which, gives the plot an intriguing concept.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – Book ReviewTitle: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Rating: five-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

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Last Updated: April 19, 2023

Review: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

The Book Thief follows, Liesel, a girl who has been sent to live with foster parents during WWII because her mother can no longer take care of her. While the book is narrated by Death, we come to understand Liesel’s perspective, as it is her story that he would like to tell. He believes that Liesel’s story is one of beauty.

❀ Liesel is an Admirale Character

The book is set in Molching Germany, where the Nazi regime has a large presence. It is here that Liesel grows up quickly and learns the importance of friendship and the power of words. It is incredible to watch her grow from a young girl who couldn’t read to one that uses words to help others. She is an admirable and interesting character who is enjoyable to read about.

❀ Explores More than the Human Condition

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a powerful book to review that is both incredibly heart-wrenching and inspirational at the same time. It is one that explores so much more than the human condition. The novel is a coming of age story that is a powerful look at one girl’s experience during WWII. It is a story that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique and intriguing story about WWII.

About Markus Zusak

Image of Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.


About Lori

Avid reader. Contributor to The Candid Cover. Educator.

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