Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review and Character Connection: The Underdog by Markus Zusak

Book: The Underdog by Markus Zusak
Genre: YA
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: Amazon

So, I decided to combine my review of this book with a Character Connection post,(link up over at Introverted Reader) which I hope makes sense by the time I'm done!

The other day, I got this new book from Amazon, as you may know. It combines the first three books that Markus Zusak wrote, into one volume. These books are The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. The second two I've read already, (my review on these books here if you are interested, written oh so many years ago!) so I was anxious to finally read the first book, The Underdog, which I did quickly (it's very short) and am now counting as its own separate book, even though it's just the first part of this actual book. I hope that makes sense to everyone!

Anyway, so in this book we are introduced to the characters of Cameron and Ruben Wolfe, your ordinary run-of-the-mill brothers. But since the book is from Cameron's point of view, we specifically get to know, and yes fall in love with, him.

Thus, my character connection is about him.... Cameron Wolfe!

This is very short and very simple book. Not much happens. Cameron is very angsty. Much like Holden Caufield in Cather in the Rye (which, I know, is exactly what I said about Ed Kennedy from another Zusak book!) However, he is young and there is hope. We spend the whole book in his head where he is worrying about his family (his sister broke up with her boyfriend, his older brother got hurt, etc.) and his partner in crime Ruben (these two mostly just think about what next great crime they will commit!) and the girls that cross his path (but he's too shy to really talk to any of them.)

The crimes never work out because the brothers only THINK they are bad... and dirty (like literally dirty) and they chicken out every single time! That's because in truth they are good boys. But don't tell them that! Cameron tries to figure out the right thing, and how he is going to shape up, but just can't quite get there. Perhaps that's yet to come in the next two books, which do have much more plot to them.

That being said, it's still a Zusak book, meaning, written very simply yet poetically. I love it. However, you can tell this is his first book. The beauty of The  Book Thief and I am the Messenger is not quite there yet! It would be interesting to read all these books in order to see the progress he makes as an author. I seriously can't wait for his next book if that obvious progression holds true.

But back to Cameron. He worries about his hair, how it stands straight up. He worries about this girl he meets while working at her house, and if she thinks about him. He falls instantly in love with her because she is so REAL, unlike the swimsuit models in the magazine under his bed. He worries about his brother and what he'll be up to next and if he follows him or not. He is always in his shadow and sometimes that's okay, and sometimes not. He worries about his family and if he is causing them too much grief. He worries about his dreams, which are really weird, because yes, we as readers are privy to them too! But we love him because of all these things he worries about. Just like the girl he likes, we love him because he's REAL too.

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it, even though it lacked the substance I'm used to from this wonderful lovely author!


  1. I'm actually thrilled it's narrated by Cameron. I relate to him so much I get teary eyed just thinking about it and sob every time I read Getting the Girl. Pathetic, I know. I can't wait till my book gets here!!!

  2. You can't go wrong with a Zusak Character Conection! I haven't read any of these 3 books, but Cameron sounds like someone I will love as well.

  3. I've read 3 of Zusak's books now and enjoyed them all (especially The Book Thief). :)



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