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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 10-12. Death is the narrator of this lengthy, powerful story of a town in Nazi Germany. He is a kindly, caring Death, overwhelmed by the souls he has to collect from people in the gas chambers, from soldiers on the battlefields, and from civilians killed in bombings. Death focuses on a young orphan, Liesl; her loving foster parents; the Jewish fugitive they are hiding; and a wild but gentle teen neighbor, Rudy, who defies the Hitler Youth and convinces Liesl to steal for fun. After Liesl learns to read, she steals books from everywhere. When she reads a book in the bomb shelter, even a Nazi woman is enthralled. Then the book thief writes her own story. There's too much commentary at the outset, and too much switching from past to present time, but as in Zusak's enthralling I Am the Messenger (2004), the astonishing characters, drawn without sentimentality, will grab readers. More than the overt message about the power of words, it's Liesl's confrontation with horrifying cruelty and her discovery of kindness in unexpected places that tell the heartbreaking truth. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as "an attempt--a flying jump of an attempt--to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it." When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor's wife's library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel's experiences move Death to say, "I am haunted by humans." How could the human race be "so ugly and so glorious" at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it's a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
DON'T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY , MARKUS ZUSAK'S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF . <br> <br> The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul. <br> <br> Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read . <br> <br> When Death has a story to tell, you listen. <br> <br> It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.<br> <br> Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. <br> <br> In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.<br> <br> "The kind of book that can be life-changing." -- The New York Times <br> <br> "Deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank." -- USA Today
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