Reviews and Critical Reception

"The Book Thief is, among other things, a love letter to books, writing, and the power of words." -

Awards The Book Thief has won:

·  2006 - Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (South East Asia & South Pacific)
·  2006 - Horn Book Fanfare
·  2006 - Kirkus Reviews Editor Choice Award
·  2006 - School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
·  2006 - Daniel Elliott Peace Award
·  2006 - Publishers Weekly Best Children Book of the Year
·  2006 - Booklist ChildrenEditors' Choice
·  2006 - Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
·  2007 - Boeke Prize
·  2007 - ALA Best Books for Young Adults
·  2007 - Michael L. Printz Honor Book
·  2007 - Book Sense Book of the Year
·  2009 - Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Master List

From Bookmarks Magazine:

Zusak... took a risk with his second book by making Death an omniscient narrator—and it largely paid off. Originally published in Australia and marketed for ages 12 and up, The Book Thief will appeal both to sophisticated teens and adults with its engaging characters and heartbreaking story. The Philadelphia Inquirer compared the book's power to that of a graphic novel, with its 'bold blocks of action.' 
If Zusak's postmodern insertions (Death's commentary, for example) didn't please everyone, the only serious criticism came from Janet Maslin, who faulted the book's 'Vonnegut whimsy' and Lemony Snicket-like manipulation. Yet even she admitted that The Book Thief 'will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures.' And, as we all know, 'there's no arguing with a sentiment like that.'"

From The Guardian:

"To reveal that the story is told by Death himself may well conjure up images of Terry Pratchett's Death, in the Discworld novels, or even seem distasteful or wholly inappropriate considering the subject matter. In Zusak's hands, this narrative device is none of these things. It gives a unique and compassionate voice to a narrator who can comment on human's inhumanity to human without being ponderous, 'worthy' or even quite understanding us at times.
This is a beautifully balanced piece of storytelling with glimpses of what is yet to come: sometimes misleading, sometimes all too true. We meet all shades of German, from truly committed Nazis to the likes of Hans Hubermann. Zusak is no apologist, but able to give a remarkable insight into the human psyche."