Part 9 Summary

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Liesel returns to the Hermanns’ home to steal another book, and once in the room, Liesel sees that Ilsa has apparently left out a plate of cookies for her. She writes a brief “thank you” note and steals a book titled The Last Human Stranger. Liesel is on her way out the window when Ilsa Hermann enters the room. Liesel realizes that the library belongs only to Ilsa—not to her husband—and Ilsa admits that she used to read to her son in the library. Liesel asks Ilsa if she has read the book in her hand, and after stating that she has in fact read the book, Ilsa tells Liesel that she must hurry out the window because Rudy is waiting for her outside.

It is the middle of January 1943, and Liesel walks over to Frau Holtzapfel’s house to read to her. She is greeted at the door by a strange man who tells her that he will come to fetch her when Frau Holtzapfel is ready to receive company. He later arrives at the Hubermanns’ home—Michael Holtzapfel is lucky to have returned from the war when his brother was not so lucky. Rosa is shaken by the news of the brother’s death. Michael tells Rosa he heard that her son was still alive, but Rosa waves Michael and Liesel away. The two go back to the Holtzpafels’ house, and Liesel reads to Frau Holtzapfel to ease her troubles.

Liesel returns the cleaned cookie plate to Ilsa Hermann, and on the way home, Liesel sits by the Amper River and laments the fact that her dead brother will remain, in her mind, six years old forever. At home in her dreams, Liesel sees all those whom she has loved: Rudy, Max, and her little brother, Werner. In the morning, Liesel wishes that they all would come back into her life—alive.

Hans manages to escape death, even when the driver of a truck in which he is traveling loses control of the vehicle and another man loses his life. Hans’s superior officer tells him that he plans to recommend that Hans is not fit for service and that he should be transferred to an office in Munich. Hans broke a leg when the truck rolled, so he will be sent home for a while to rest. When Rosa and Liesel share the news with Mrs. Steiner, she is happy, but the question remains, “Why Hans Hubermann and not Alex Steiner?”

His father still absent, Rudy only grows increasingly angry, and he takes out his anger by challenging Liesel’s theft. A few weeks later, bombs fall, and everyone exits their homes when the sirens sound. When it grows quiet, Bettina Steiner is the first to see a sliver of smoke through the trees. Rudy and Liesel approach the scene: a small plane has crashed. They sit with the pilot as he dies.

In April of that year, Hans Hubermann is granted one week’s leave before assuming his new position in Munich. Liesel finally feels a little bit of happiness.

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