The Book Thief by Markus Zusak // Book Review

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakIt 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.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 14th, 2006

I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.

The Book Thief wasn’t an easy read by any means—quite the opposite, actually—but in the end, the hardship was infinitely worth it.

I’m still reeling from all the emotions this book invoked in me, and I’m not sure I can find the right words to subsume exactly how much it moved me. This book made my heart ache beyond words, and made me feel so much grief, and love, and sadness.


I wasn’t sure what lay ahead of me when I started on The Book Thief. The story could have developed in so many different ways; matters could have been overdramatized—inappropriately so—the story could have been utterly misguided, shallow, superficial, or predictable … I could go on.

However, Markus Zusak avoided all these pitfalls, and managed to concoct an immensely raw and authentic tale. I had not anticipated in the least to be as impressed as I was with this book, and not as emotionally overwhelmed, but I ended up being rendered entirely speechless—in the best way possible.


There is no doubt about the fact that Markus Zusak is obviously an extraordinarily talented writer; he more than once made me wish I was able to assemble such wonderful sentences the way he does, and paint such vivid images with words alone—the style in which the story we’re being told was narrated was beyond question utterly breathtaking.

The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.

What particularly impressed me, however, and was conducive to the feel of the story setting, was how he integrated German words and sentences in a way that didn’t come off as pretentious; the German phrases he used fit.


Markus Zusak’s beautiful writing was only surpassed by his incredible talent of forming characters that slowly, but surely, sneak their way into your heart, despite their flaws and misdoings.

He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.

There is a sensitivity and a sincerity in them that makes you love them all the more, and you can’t help but feel for every single one of them, no matter how despicably they might have seemed to you at one point.


This book did not only bring tears to my eyes—it made my heart feel hollow and my chest hurt with sadness, and it made me want to stop reading as my heart grew heavy, while, at the same time, I was eagerly turning another page, unable to tear my eyes away.

There is really nothing left for me to say but this: The Book Thief deserves nothing less than five brilliant, glowing stars.

I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.


You’re interested in this book?

You can buy the Paperback or Hardback at Book Depository.
(Free delivery worldwide!)

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wideblue-watercolor-wash-texture-5letschat!-2Have you read The Book Thief? Do you love it as much as I do?
Do you enjoy historical fiction?
How excited are you about Bridge of Clay?

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xx, Lily

105 thoughts on “The Book Thief by Markus Zusak // Book Review”

  1. These quotes are, wow. I love them so much. ❤ I haven't read The Book Thief just yet, even though I know I should – most likely because I am not that into historical fiction, it is a bit out of my comfort zone. But I know that someday I'll HAVE to read it, because it sounds like a story I just can't pass up! 🙂
    Beautiful review, Lily! ❤


    1. This entire book is just such a masterpiece, I can’t even fathom how it came to be written. 🙈 And I usually always end up disappointed by historical fiction, and am therefore extremely apprehensive of it, but this book is so incredible. I really hope you’ll love it, Marie! And there’s a movie adaption, too, in case that’s incentive for you. ☺️

      Thank you so much, I hope your day is kind to you! ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this review – The Book Thief is one of my favourite books of all time and seeing other people love it just as much makes me so happy! There’s such a beauty in this book as much as it’s also so heartbreaking! I cried so much when I finished it – such an emotional ride. Books like this one are rare ✨ thanks for such a great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that makes me so happy to hear – thank you so, so much, Rums!

      I adore this book, and the ending made me cry, too. 😭 It’s why I’m still hesitant to watch the movie, I don’t think I can survive it, haha. Have you seen it?

      Thank you so, so much, that really means a lot to me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautifully written review Lily! I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and still never gotten round to reading it. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and because I’ve studied it so much, I always cringe if it’s not particularly factual or plays up elements that are in bad taste/out of place. I had put off reading this for fear that it would ruin my perception of what I think is a really interesting story 😂 After reading your review I’m sure that that’s not the case here and I think I’ll have to give it a go!
    – Hannah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Hannah! 💗

      Ahh I relate! This happens a lot to me too, when I read historical fiction. I was a bit worried before I read this book as well, because I had to study this particular event in history very thoroughly in school, but I really didn’t have to worry at all.

      I hope you have a fantastic time with it as well, when you get to it! I can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aw you’re more than welcome! 💛

    + oh gosh the movie will definitely break your heart even more, I watched it a few months ago and it stays with you. The acting is so good and the cinematography is seriously stunning. They did a good job at adapting the novel.

    I hope you enjoy it whenever you get a chance to watch it 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw you’re welcome Lily – seeing your reviews always makes me so happy! 💛 your writing tone is so great!

    + I have seen the movie and it definitely made me tear up, it’s so well acted and the cinematography is stunning, a very good adaptation so I would totally recommend it to you! 💛

    Would love to hear what you think once you’ve watched it x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh you’re way too sweet, thank you!! This really makes me so, so happy to hear. :’)

      Well, now I really can’t wait to watch it – I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts, when I have!! 🙂

      I hope you have a great week, Rums! 🌻💫


  6. this review makes me want to try reading it again!!!! I got 1/2 through the audiobook but then stopped bc I kept falling asleep while listening, I failed so muchhhhh. But now I’m less sleep-deprived and YOU LOVED IT, SO I SHALL TOO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MAL, PLEASE LOVE IT OR I SHALL WEEP (even more tears than I did over this book).

      I read it in both English and German because I love it so much, but I actually preferred the translated, German version – maybe, similarly, the audiobook format doesn’t work quite as well for this book?


      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic review! This is one of my all-time favourite books, I have so much love for it. I’m actually a little scared to try Bridge of Clay because I will undoubtedly compare them and I don’t feel like that’s fair – nothing can live up to the beauty of The Book Thief ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Alex! 💛

      Mine too! And it definitely makes me so anxious and afraid to read Bridge of Clay, because I don’t know if it’ll live up to my high expectations? I also still haven’t read I Am the Messenger, because I’m too scared I won’t enjoy it (as much).

      I’d love to hear what you think of Bridge of Clay, when you get around to reading it! 🙂


    1. Ahh I’m so happy you love it too, Kath! It’s definitely one of my all-time favorites as well, and I’m side-eyeing myself for not having watched the movie adaption yet. I’m so anxious to read Bridge of Clay! I hope we both love it. 💫🤞🏻

      Thank you so, so much! I hope you have a lovely day!! 💛


  8. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all time! I didn’t expect to speed through it, but I did. When I finished, I had to sit there and collect my thoughts. It didn’t leave my head for weeks. I think this is easily one of the most influential books of all time. I hope they continue to teach it in schools as they did for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful review! I also adored this book. I don’t normally get emotional when I read but this made me sniffle. (Embarrassingly, I was sitting on a bus at the time and got some strange looks from other passengers…) Hope you manged to read it without similar incidences!

    Liked by 1 person

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