By Markus Zusak
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011. 499 pgs. Teen fiction
This is a 3-in-1 version of Markus Zusak's earliest works, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl.
In The Underdog, we meet Cameron Wolfe and his older brother Ruben, lovable losers living in Australia, doing not much more than disappointing their parents and older siblings, and even themselves, as they can't manage to follow through on any of their mischievous plans.
In Fighting Ruben Wolfe, the two brothers are offered a chance to be amateur boxers and they both agree, although Ruben is the better fighter. Cameron, still aching to become something more, doesn't know if he'll ever be able to get out of his brother's shadow.
In Getting the Girl, Cameron, who has always longed for love, finally finds it--with Ruben's ex-girlfriend, something that forces Cameron to figure out who he is and what he's willing to fight for.
Ah, Cameron. He's a doll of a narrator. I love getting to know him and watching this teenager find himself and realize that he isn't a loser, that he's more than just a poor, dirty nobody. As can be expected of any of Zusak's writings, you just get carried away in the style and the word choices. The books do get a little raunchy, but there's also that poetic sort of prose that makes Zusak so delightful.