|Title: The Book Thief|
Author: Marcus Zusak
Published: March 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, 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.
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, it's my second favorite genre. I also read a lot of YA. When you ask people what their favorite YA historical fiction novel is I would wager that a lot of people would answer this book. It comes extremely well recommended, I mean it has an average rating of 4.35 on Goodreads, that is one of the highest I have ever seen. And yet I resisted reading it. I told myself I don't like sad books, I don't like HF set during World War II, I won't like it. But I finally bit the bullet and read it. I'm happy to say, you were right and I was wrong, this books is beyond gorgeous.
But like I said, the historical aspect was not really the focus of the novel for me. I would say it was more about the people. This is a character-driven novel about people struggling to survive in the face of adversity. And with the people being the focus of the book Marcus Zusak of course created some absolutely amazing characters that you can't help but love. I very quickly fell in love with every single one of them. Our main character, the titular book thief, is Liesel Meminger. She's got a real thirst for knowledge, a book lover for book lovers which is always fantastic. But the best part about Liesel is her inner strength. She's been through so much in her short life and has amazing sense of humor and innocence. You can't help but empathize with her and want her to succeed. Just as fantastic as Liesel is her foster family Hans and Rosa Huberman. Hans is instantly lovable and supportive while Rosa is prickly and tough. They balance each other so well and are some of the most loving people who absolutely put others first. One of those other people is Max Vandenburg, a complex and kind Jewish refugee the Huberman's are hiding. Rounding out the cast of characters is Rudy Steiner, Liesel's best friend. They have such a fantastic relationship and Rudy's humor and enthusiasm is only matched by Liesel's. The characters are all so wonderful and really make this book so fantastic.
And the character-driven nature of the novel was made all the more interesting because of the narrative style of the book. You see, The Book Thief is narrated by death. He is obviously the perfect narrator for a novel about a historical period with so much death and destruction both because of war and because of other reasons. And yet Death's narration also had this great sense of beautyand lyricism that made the book gorgeous and captivating. But more than that, Death as a narrator added so much suspense and atmosphere to the book. You knew something bad was going to happen. This was not going to have a happy ending, how could it. But when things did get real, I was still not prepared for the emotional toll that it took. Even just writing this review I tear up thinking about how beautiful and tragic it is.
I seriously understand why everyone loves this book. It is an emotional and engaging story with characters you can't help but love with a complex and engaging historical backdrop that isn't like your typical book set during the time period.
I give The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak a 10 out of 10
Have you read The Book Thief? What did you think? Leave me a comment. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!