Review: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Review: The Book Thief – Markus ZusakThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Published: 2005
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three-half-stars

It 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 Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

thoughts1 I’ve wanted to read The Book Thief for a while but I was pretty scared of it. I mean everyone seems to love this book. Really, really love this book. So I was very nervous. I bought it back in 2013 and basically it just sat on my Kindle untouched. That’s until Rachel picked it for my May Epic Rec read and I can now thank her for that. Was it my favorite book? No. But it was a really powerful, truthful book about a really bad part of history. There were a lot of pages and some slow moments, but all in all a great story with a really good main character.

It’s hard to really explain what The Book Thief is about. Everyone pretty much knows what was happening in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. We’ve all had the history lessons and have seen the movies and read the books. It was an awful time where a lot of lives were lost. On the surface one would think The Book Thief is just another to add to the pile. But it wasn’t. The Book Thief was a really unique way to tell a familiar story.

I think what made the story unique and special was the voice of the narrator. I really enjoyed the voice and ability the author had to show more by using the voice they did. Seeing the book thief Liesel through another person’s eyes added a level to the story that made it stand out. The narrator was definitely not a character I’ve run into in a lot of books but it fit for this book.

I also really liked Liesel. She was so young and had been through so much. She saw death and pain and hate. She was left and loved and disliked. She had so much against her yet she was strong and resilient. The things she went through were things no one should have to go through and yet Liesel kept going. She not only kept going but she stood up for herself and didn’t let anyone walk all over her. But she also knew when to keep quiet. She was a pretty special character and will stay with me for a while.

The reason I didn’t rate this higher was the fact that it was slow moving at times with a lot of pages. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a bad thing, it just made reading the book a little daunting. But I pushed through and I’m glad I did. The Book Thief broke my heart in a unique way but also left me feeling that everything happens for a reason both good and bad. So I say thank you again Rachel for making me get over my fear and to take this journey. What a book journey it was.

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Epic Recs – May

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Back in late February I signed up for Epic Recs which is basically organized book bullying that is hosted by Judith and Amber. The premise is to pair people together that have similar tastes in books and let them suggest books for one another. If you would like to learn more you should definitely check it out here.

My partner that I was paired up with back in February is still trying to get her hand on the book(s) I have suggested so we are currently in a stand still with that, but it isn’t dead in the water yet, just on hold. But I was talking to Rachel at As Told by Rachel and since she is basically the younger version of me we thought we would make a great pairing so for we paired ourselves up.

In April I had picked Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty for Rachel (her review) and she selected Hopeless by Colleen Hoover for me (my review). Since we had so much fun we decided to do it again in May. And this time I have a book I have been interested in reading (and already have on my Kindle) Rachel has selected The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. And for her I have selected Saving June by Hannah Harrington (which she too owns).

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Review: Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

Review: Hopeless – Colleen HooverHopeless by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: May 7th 2013
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three-half-stars

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

 

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I had read Colleen Hoover once in the past and it wasn’t a great experience. I was not a fan of the book so I was wary going into Hopeless. However a friend recommended it and I had wanted to read it at some point in the past so I went for it. I can say with certainty that this book was a much better reading experience than the other. The plot line, although predictable, made way more sense and didn’t make me want to roll my eyes or laugh. Basically it was a win.

Hopeless is the story of Sky, a girl that has been pretty sheltered her whole life. Adopted at 5 she has lived without TV, phone or internet and has been homeschooled. When she is a senior in high school she convinces her mom to let her go to public school where she meets Dean Holder, the resident bad boy. All of a sudden Sky is feeling things for this boy she’s never felt before in her life and with these feelings come memories that she has been surpassing for 13 years that have the potential to change everything she has ever known.

Like I said I found the plot pretty predictable and transparent, but it didn’t bother me as much as it should have and that’s because I really liked the characters. Sky was a really interesting girl. I can’t really pinpoint what it was about her that I liked but it was something. She had great bravado and a killer sense of humor which I like in books. She was the kind of girl you want to be best friends with and learn more about. And then there is Holder. Holder was kind of awesome. He had so many levels and so much depth to him that you couldn’t help but fall in love. He’s one of those people that deeply feels the things that matter to him and isn’t above showing that passion whether it is in anger, love, or sadness. But there is also a mystery to Holder that you are constantly trying to figure out. Together these two characters had an amazing chemistry that just made you want to read more, and as a reader that is all you can ask for.

All in all Hopeless was a good book that hit on some hard issues but didn’t do it in a preachy kind of way. Sure, some of it was slightly ridiculous and unimaginable that it will play out that way, but not ridiculous enough that you have to stop reading. It was a much better reading experience this time around with this author so I’m glad I was suggested her again and gave her another chance.

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Epic Recs – April

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Back in late February I signed up for Epic Recs which is basically organized book bullying that is hosted by Judith and Amber. The premise is to pair people together that have similar tastes in books and let them suggest books for one another. If you would like to learn more you should definitely check it out here.

My partner that I was paired up with back in February is still trying to get her hand on the book(s) I have suggested so we are currently in a stand still with that, but it isn’t dead in the water yet, just on hold. But I was talking to Rachel at As Told by Rachel and since she is basically the younger version of me we thought we would make a great pairing so for April we paired ourselves up. I’m not gonna lie, it is more difficult to pick a book for someone you know because you worry if they will like it or not, and even more difficult when they are also a YA reading fanatic/blogger as they have read almost all the books. But after some research I picked Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty for Rachel since we are both contemporary lovers and summer lovers I figured it was a good one to go with. Plus everyone loves a back-listed book. For myself Rachel selected Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Now I have read Hoover in the past and I wasn’t a huge fan of the book(review of that to come), but I have heard nothing but love for Hopeless so I was kind of excited when she picked it. I have started it and I will say…Holder is HOT! Stay tuned for my review of it and make sure you check out Rachel’s blog as she will be posting her review of The Summer I Turned Pretty.

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