the book thief | Teen Ink

the book thief

October 1, 2009
By xavier conrad BRONZE, San Fransico, California
xavier conrad BRONZE, San Fransico, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

As the historical fiction novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak opens, Liesel, her brother and her mom are on a train to their new foster parents' home where they will be safer. By the end of the train ride there are only two of them left – her brother dies unexpectedly. Her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa welcome her to her new home and to the new Nazi world– a world created by Hitler full of fear, hatred and history. Liesel is different than everyone else – she is smart, witty, able to understand situations at a glance, and always stands out from the crowd in good and bad situations. At her new school Liesel meets an energetic, exciting, and wild boy named Rudy who becomes her ever-persistent friend. Liesel begins to steal books from wherever she can find them – from book burnings, houses, and the street. She steals and reads, and read, and reads them again. Towards the middle of the book, a Jewish boy named Max comes into the story, once in the public's eye as a street-fighter and now just seen as a Jew. He is hiding in Liesel's basement and slowly over time they become friends, but with this friendship there is responsibility and danger.

In my opinion this book is dark and yet happy. Zusak constantly switches between a light, happy perspective and a dark perspective. There are times in the book where you are happy for the characters and then times when it feels as if everything is wrong. This makes the book hard to predict, which really keeps the reader's interest. The way in which Zusak narrates this book is very unique – he puts you in the shoes of Death. Death gives away endings and beginnings, sometimes tells the story from the perspective of Liesel on her behalf, and skips ahead in time frequently. One part that stood out to me was when Max gave Liesel a book with words and pictures which he made himself. This shows the strong bond between these two characters. I would recommend this to an audience of those who enjoy books with a lot of plot twists and a book which is fictitious but based on historical facts. This novel is exciting, different and thought-provoking. Overall this is a book that the reader will read and read again.

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