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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

9/10 A truly beatiful, haunting novel

The Book Thief by Australian author Markus Zusak is an international bestselling historical fantasy novel written in 2005, the recipient of the Indies Choice Book Award for Children's Literature, the Kathleen Mitchell Award and the National Jewish Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature.

It is 1939. In Nazi Germany, the country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier - and will become busier still. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

The Book Thief’s narrator is none other than the grim reaper himself, Death, who regales us with a haunting, yet truly beautiful and strangely uplifting story of Liesel and her burgeoning love of books. Set in Nazi Germany at the beginning of the Second World War, Liesel lives in a time of fear, aggression and censorship - books that do not conform to the regime’s ideology are burned. During the funeral for her brother, she manages to steal a macabre book - a gravediggers’ instruction manual.

Lisel finds herself living with a foster family during these dangerous times, and when the family hides a Jew in their basement, nothing will ever be the same again.

Although The Book Thief is set in such dark times, when almost unimaginable atrocities were being commited, it manages, by its end, to be an uplifting, life-affirming book due to the kindness, love and bravery of its many characters.

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