The Book Thief was one of the better novels that I have read in a while. It takes place in Germany during the Holocaust. Liesel undergoes the tragedy of losing her younger brother at the very beginning of the novel, and then is adopted by a foster mother and father, Rosa and Hans Hubermann. As Liesel gets older, she learns to cope with loss and life through spending time with her intelligent and kind foster father Hans, and her good friend Rudy Steiner. As the name implies, there is thievery in this novel. Liesel learns to read, and the only way she can get books is by stealing them from local bonfires. The books all have ties to Jewish people, either in the plot or the author, and this is just one way that the Hubermann family could get into deep trouble. One interesting twist thrown into the story is a Jewish man by the name of Max Vandenburg. Through a series of events, Max comes to hide in the Hubermann household, and this is when everything goes haywire.
One interesting element of The Book Thief is how it is narrated. Rather than having a no named narrator that you don’t know much about, this novel is narrated by none other than Death. Death adds his own emotions and opinions to the table, making it a more interesting ride. Throughout the book, I not only wanted to learn more about Liesel, but I wanted to learn about Death. Zusak expresses Death’s emotions through colors, which is quite perplexing at first, but I started to get it as I progressed through the novel.
Overall, this was a great read for just about anyone. While teenagers may be able to connect with the characters’ struggles, anyone can feel the tug on their heartstrings during this novel. I would recommend this to just about anyone who asked about it, except maybe some of the more depressing parts would be overwhelming for a young reader. I give The Book Thief by Markus Zusak nine out of ten stars for its great plot and interesting characters.