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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Review: Every Day – David Levithan

Review: Every Day – David LevithanEvery Day by David Levithan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Published: September 10th 2013
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four-stars

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

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Very interesting was my first thought when I finished this book. Honestly I couldn’t really think of anything else but interesting. I’m not sure why. It was a great book and written beautifully, but that was all I had. Maybe because I knew from the start it had nowhere to go, that there could never been a resolution because of the circumstances. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed this book immensely, but I also felt like I was reading towards a dead end and I think that took away just a little in the long run.

Every Day is about A, a boy that can never have a life of his own. Every single day he wakes up in the body of someone else and stays there for roughly 24 hours. He has no family, no friends, no home. His life is the life of others and he has become okay with it. Has made his peace with the fact that it is the way it is. That is until he meets a girl and everything changes for him. Instead of living the life of the body he is given for the day A starts to do things just to see Rhiannon. No matter where he is, who he is, everything begins to be about her. But when A uses the body of someone to see Rhiannon and they start to put the pieces together and figure out what is going on A is in an area he has never known before and he must decide what is more important his secret or his love.

I liked A, I really did. He was complex but vulnerable at the same time. He saw life in a way that others just can’t. In his world there were no boundaries, no outside packages. He saw what a person was like on the inside and didn’t understand why people couldn’t do that. It really was a very interesting take on the age old saying “judge a book by its cover” because the cover was people. And since A was never the same person twice it was hard for him to get that it was easy to judge someone by looks and not who they are.  The talks he had with Rhiannon about this were fascinating as the reader got to see both sides of the coin. And I love A and Rhiannon together no matter who he was that day. But again I’m brought back to the dead end. I just couldn’t get past that line of thinking that it just couldn’t go anywhere good.

I will say having only read one other Levithan book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and not really liking it all that much, Every Day was a FAR better choice. It had a beautiful story with great characters that was masterfully written. It made me want to read more by this author and erased the awkward feelings I had after Will Grayson. Now that right there makes this worth the read alone.

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