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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Random House, 2007.

Still, it's possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from?
Which brings me to my next point.
It's the leftover humans.
The survivors.
They're the ones I can't stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.
Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. It's the story of one of those perpetual survivors-an expert at being left behind.
It's just a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery

I saw the book thief three times.

Narrated by Death, The Book Thief takes place in Nazi Germany and follows the story of a German girl who falls in love with literature, at one point even risking her life to save a book from the Nazi book burnings.

Don’t expect a happy ending, but it is a beautifully written novel. The writing is absolutely outstanding, one of the best examples in the entire teen genre. Anyone who says that all YA is fluff is disproven by this novel.

One thing I found interesting was how he gave away the ending. Repeatedly. I knew what was coming, and maybe that's what made it a little easier to accept it when it happened (though trust me, if you're the kind that tears up, you'll be crying.) On the other hand, stupid hopeful reader that I am, I kept hoping that Death was somehow mistaken or just pulling my leg and we'd somehow come to a happy ending anyway.

Yeah, there are no happy endings in WWII stories. At least, no completely happy endings. But this does give you a sense of resolution. You're not left screaming "Whyyyyy?" to a lightning-ridden sky.

Fantastic book club book, fantastic historical fiction, fantastic everything. I do recommend it for the 14+ group, though. It's a little intense for anyone younger.


  1. New to your blog, and love it! Your banner I just can't get enough of :) I've heard a lot about The Book Thief and wonder why it is I haven't read it yet. Maybe it's like you said, the guaranteed unhappy endings of most WWII stories, or something else I can't quite put my finger on hmmm. ah well one of these days I'll get over it and read it! :D haha

  2. Thank you so much! The picture is by Josephine Wall, who is one of my all-time favorite artists.

    It took me a long time to read The Book Thief because I knew it would take so much out of me emotionally. Sometimes it takes me longer to read a book I know I'll love than a book I'm iffy about. Let me know what you think when you do read it, though!

  3. One of my all time favorites. Great review!

  4. Wonderful review. I have to pick this book up :)