Five stars, read September/November 2011.
You miss a few things if you listen to this on audio, because I saw some illustrations and formatting when I picked up a hard copy—but the narrator is also fantastic and it’s a lot of fun hearing it read in a German accent, so you’ll have to just decide which experience you’d rather get. I can’t say which is better, but I can say that I am currently in love with Markus Zusak’s books. I Am the Messenger was amazing, and The Book Thief was equally incredible: The story, characters, and writing are just beautiful and lovable, and if you don’t find yourself in tears by the end, I will possibly question the functionality of your tear ducts. Or soul. (Okay, not really.)
This is a story about a German girl named Liesel, growing up outside Munich during World War II. She’s best friends with Rudy, her neighbor; Hans, her foster father; and Max, the Jew who’s hiding in their basement. She’s a book thief, and her story is narrated by Death (a surprisingly compassionate character). Beautifully written, with endearing characters and a compelling plot.