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From the bestselling author of THE BOOK THIEF Before THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of gritty, funny, and at times heart-breaking novels about the Wolfe brothers: THE UNDERDOG, FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, and GETTING THE GIRL. We're proud to present these novels together in one volume for the first time, and to be introducing American readers to THE UNDERDOG, never before published in the United States. Fans of THE BOOK THIEF won't want to miss reading the novels that launched Markus Zusak's stellar career.
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- Arthur A. Levine Books
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excellent early Zusak
Underdogs is an omnibus of the three books of the Wolfe Brothers series by Australian author, Markus Zusak.
The Underdog is the first in the Wolfe Brothers series by Australian author, Markus Zusak. Cameron Wolfe, aged fifteen, knows he is a dirty boy. After all, .. all young boys are pretty disgusting, like beasts. Maybe the challenge was to somehow rise above it.. Cameron is a bit of a loner: he and his brother Ruben keep getting themselves into trouble, Cameron has a bit of sense (but not a lot), he doesnt have a girl (his hair is thick any furry and sticks up every which way). When he meets Rebecca Conlon, hes hoping he can be nice and respectable instead of purely lustful and terrible. Hes hoping for a chance. Zusak has created a great set of characters in the Wolfe family: through Camerons 15 year-old eyes, we see a family that cares about its members, and we see Cameron maturing through ordinary events in everyday life. Zusaks format is 14 chapters of Camerons narration told in an authentic teenage voice. Each chapter ends in a dream Cameron has had, some bizarre, some obviously related to events in his life. Cameron says in the first chapter that not a whole lot happens in the story: perhaps he is right, but by the time the last chapter is reached, most readers will want more of the Wolfe family. Luckily, there are two more in the series.
Fighting Ruben Wolfe is the second in the Wolfe Brothers series by Australian author, Markus Zusak. Quite a bit has changed in the Wolfe household in the last year: Cliff was injured at work, now has no jobs coming in and is feeling inadequate as the breadwinner; Mrs Wolfe, with two jobs, is working harder than ever; Steve is leaving home as his parents pride wont allow them to take a contribution from him; Sarah is taking her break-up with Bruce hard, drinking too much and getting a less-than-desirable reputation; Ruben uses his fists to defend the family name. This and his bouts of backyard One Punch with Cam (born of having only one set of boxing gloves) helps set them on the road of illegal fights with promoter Perry Cole, not just for the money, Rube says, but to get our self-respect back. This is a story about family loyalty, brothers supporting each other and having the heart to get up after youre knocked down. The format this time is sixteen chapters of Camerons narration in a genuine teenage voice, each ending in a conversation between Rube and Cam. There is some lovely prose: ..the sun is screaming out in pain on the horizon. The horizon swallows it slowly, eating it up whole. The dog illustrations are a cute touch.
When Dogs Cry is the third in the Wolfe Brothers series by Australian author, Markus Zusak. Another year has passed and the Wolfe family is in a better place: Cliff has plenty of work and Rube and Cam are working Saturdays with him; Mrs Wolfe is still working two jobs; Sarah is working hard and taking candid Polaroids in her spare time; Steve is working hard and winning weekend football; Cameron has taken to standing outside Stephanies place in Glebe, hoping for a glimpse of the girl who doesnt care about him. When Rube, in his usual callous fashion, breaks up with the beautiful Octavia, Cameron is annoyed with Rube and sorry for Octavia. Until, that is, Octavia reappears with a question for him. Some of the prose is beautiful (Soon the evening worked its way into the sky and the city hunched itself down), but there are also instances where Zusak tries too hard and the result is woeful: the brief happiness left and a sadness tore me open very slowly and deliberately. City lights shone across the air, reaching their arms out to me, but I knew theyd never quite reach (ugh!) This time the format is twenty chapters of Camerons narration each ending with thoughts that Cameron (the fledgling author) has started to write down. This gives the series a semi-autobiographical feel. The characters, plot and dialogue are believable but the cute dog illustrations that graced the first two stories were absent from this one, even though the dog played a large part in Camerons words. With perhaps some insight into the authors life, these books are a good taste of early Zusak.