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by Markus Zusak, Stig Wemyss

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From the bestselling author of THE BOOK THIEF

Before THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe Brothers: THE UNDERDOG, FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, and GETTING THE GIRL. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more

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From the bestselling author of THE BOOK THIEF

Before THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe Brothers: THE UNDERDOG, FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, and GETTING THE GIRL. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They're intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben's girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

We're proud to present these novels together 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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 9 Up—Fans of Zusak will not be disappointed with his early collection of stories about the Wolfe brothers, published here as a single audio work. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights and coming up with half-baked schemes. Humor abounds as Cameron and Ruben find themselves in all sorts of mischief. It starts with a crazy scheme to rob a dentist that ends abruptly with the attractive receptionist. These stories are pure entertainment, right from the beginning. When Cameron meets the girl of his dreams, who ultimately becomes the object of Ruben's affection, the brothers who have always been loyal to each other must figure out how strong their relationship really is. Narrator Stig Wemyss brings Zusak's brilliant characters to life. VERDICT A great purchase for any library.—Betsy Davison, Cortland Free Library, NY
From the Publisher

Praise for Markus Zusak

“The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures. And because there's no arguing with a sentiment like that.”– New York Times Book Review

“Zusak doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.” – Time Magazine

Praise for Fighting Ruben Wolfe

“Zusak debuts with an intense tale about boxing, brotherly solidarity, and searching for self-respect. . . . Engrossing.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Zusak's first-person narrative is electrifying. . . . Coarse and poetic at the same time, the power of Zusak's prose and vivid imagery will continue to reverberate long after the last punch is thrown.” – Teenreads.com

Praise for Getting the Girl

“Zusak uses simple but poetically poignant language to convey Cam's inner teenage turmoil, confusion, and heartache. This highly recommended novel is a sad, funny, loving, and ultimately heartwarming coming-of-age story.” – Voice of Youth Advocates

“The extravagant prose does work well in describing the relationship between Cam and Octavia, demonstrating the often-ignored fact that teenage boys also fall breathlessly and heart-stoppingly in love.” – The Horn Book

Children's Literature - Laura Challenger
How far does brotherhood extend? This question lies at the heart of Markus Zusak's stories. Previous published separately, three novels have been combined into one book entitled Underdogs. In The Underdog, Cameron and his older brother Ruben are constantly battling each other, but are nonetheless close. Cameron wants to have a relationship with a girl and dreams of how he will treat her. He also is motivated to earn money and works with his plumber father on weekends, where he meets what he believes is the girl of his dreams. But Rebecca is not going to be his and life with all its family interactions and complications continues unabated as Cameron tries to deal with what life has dished out. Cameron's older brother, Ruben, in search of himself, is determined not to end up like his unemployed father. In Fighting Ruben Wolfe Cameron and Ruben seek dignity and respect as they encounter many hard situations that have no easy way out. Zusak's story is about family love and the justification of actions. Ruben gets into a fight at school when a classmate says something humiliating about his sister, Sarah. Perry Cole, a man who operates a boxing group, hears about the fight and wants to employ the boys. Ruben accepts, hoping to make something more of himself. Cameron agrees to join primarily because his brother does; however, Ruben has the skill, and Cameron has the heart. The last fight of Cameron's career is against his brother. Cameron realizes that for him to win against his talented brother, he must believe in himself. The boys eventually tell their parents about the large amount of money they have won, and the parents are ashamed. However, the parents attend the fight between the boys and feel proud of how the brothers have proven their love for each other. This story is a great example of brotherly love and respect between family members. Ruben's search for himself is commendable, but it is Cameron's constant support that makes Ruben's search and success possible. Getting the Girl is a sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe and it begins by leading the reader into the changing life of Cameron Wolfe. The youngest of four children, Cameron is suddenly faced with discovering the new feelings of being a teenager. He does not like who he is. He is not a person with a lot of friends, especially girl friends. Cameron begins to notice his older brother Ruben's attitude toward girls. Even though Ruben never dates a girl for more than a few weeks, he has no trouble finding girls who take an interest in him. Cameron's ambition is to find a girl whom he can treat with respect. Cameron has never had a girlfriend, but desperately wants one. He dreams of finding just the right girl, and then he meets Octavia when she begins dating Ruben. After they break up, Octavia shows her true feelings towards Cameron. Cameron thinks that his dream has come true until he gets into a fight with Ruben because of Octavia. Not wanting to break up a family, Octavia disappears, leaving Cameron at odds with his brother and without the girl of his dreams. At first this story appears to be a typical teenage novel, but it adds more depth by incorporating an idealistic sense of family. Unlike most teenagers in most books, Cameron respects and values his family. He actually grows closer to Ruben in the end by confessing his feelings for Octavia. Cameron additionally grows closer to his sister and other brother Steve. The story does not merely focus on Cameron and Octavia, but delves into Cameron's relationship with several people. This allows the reader to see several perspectives, instead of the viewpoint of only the main character. Reviewer: Laura Challenger, Jordan Long, and Marilyn Courtot
Kirkus Reviews

A three-in-one volume binds together Zusak's two later books about Cameron with his first, paradoxically the last to appear in the United States.

Before the prize fights of Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001) and the complications with Octavia in Getting the Girl (2003), Cameron and Ruben Wolfe were plotting to rob dentists and exact revenge on their sister Sarah's ex-boyfriend while their mother continually cooked sausage and mushrooms in tomato sauce for meals. Attempting to break free from the monotony of his family, Cameron begins working with his father on plumbing jobs and meets Rebecca Conlon in the process. While Cameron's failed to engage in life so far, could Rebecca be the first reason to reach out? With this compilation release of The Underdog, the rough-and-tumble adventures of the Wolfe brothers are finally all assembled. Zusak's stunning use of language and rich character development are present, while the introduction of the family framework provides additional understanding for the sibling dynamic in the later stories. It's a treat to see Cameron's visions, which will develop into stories in later chapters, especially since the author brings such a strong sense of frustration and despair to those insights.

Appealing to fans and providing an entry point for fresh readers, this is a much-appreciated addition to the Wolfe brothers' canon. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Markus Zusak is the New York Times bestselling author of The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, which received a Printz Honor. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

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Underdogs 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His writing is so real, he makes you think, cry and laugh.Beautiful, just beautiful. Nothing else needs to be said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zusak's first 3 novels are short and explore a short period of time in the lives of two brothers in Australia. There is the predictable angst of being teenagers. But glimpsing their world makes the reader appreciate 2 very average boys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love, love, love this book. Markus Zusak has a way of capturing you from the beginning and taking you on a journey. I love all of his books and wish for more to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...if it didn't sound like you were trying to start a Warrior cats roleplay. Who calls kittens kits anymore? Although I would be open to roleplaying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The white longhaired shecat padded into the clearing. Her fur shaped to her slender figure(she looks like a white angora, which is a pretty breed of cat). Her bright, aqua blue eyes gazed around till she spotted Silverstar and padded over to him. She dipped her head respectfully and spoke in a soft yet assertive voice "I have come like you have asked. Unfortunatly, my deputy wasnt available. I havent been able to tell her about this meeting. But anyways, you said that what you had to say was important so I am ready to listen."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What clan r u in? Can i join?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you know where bloodclan camp is?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok she goes there
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cherry res 3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shrugged and followed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I am really close to disbanning this clan. I have no active members."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Markus Zusak and this was another great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a junior in high school and not much of a reader at all. I read this book and I absolutely could not stop reading. Zusak has a way of pulling you into the story and making it seem so surreal and you truly can feel what the boys feel. This book will make you feel the struggle and you will truly want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Absolutely amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Accidentally read Getting the Girl first which was amazing and seeing how it ends i really dont want to read the beginning so ill be rating it from the 3rd novel the reason one star is missing is because it could be slow at times but its totally worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never cried so much for three books. Especially the third one. The characters were all so real, so true, so simple. Simple, yet powerful. I felt a connection with every character, and I found myself caring about Cameron and Rube as if they were my own brothers. No, the whole Wolfe family, actually. I was becoming part of the Wolfe pack as I read this, every step of the way. I cried when the characters were in trouble. I laughed when the characters mocked the rodent-like dog Mitzy. I felt the same shame and embarressment Cameron experienced in the boxing ring. Yes, I loved Markus Zusak's first three books. He is a genious, plain and simple.
shayrose More than 1 year ago
via goodreads *This is an omnibus edition.* I am going to break this up into sections. The first book of the trilogy, The Underdog, can only be described as an adolescent boy coming of age story. Cameron Wolfe is an introverted boy on a journey of self discovery. Through his dreams and nightmares a battle is told and with his own observations his insights become teaching tools. He starts to wonder and care what others judgments are of him and if they are justified. Through it all he feels painfully alone. All I could think about while reading this was my own son and the sons' of my friends. This is amazingly real and vivid. Cameron Wolfe could be any boy that I know or that I see from a distance. As a parent you know that self discovery is a journey we all must take, but your heart still clenches at how cruel that process can feel and you wish you could shelter them from it. In the second book, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Cameron is still looking for himself. Life deals the Wolfe family some hard times and the dynamic changes. Cameron and his older brother have always been close but there's a strain on their relationship now. That strain intensifies when they take up fighting for money and the possibility of facing each other in the ring is a real threat. This one was much more emotionally intense. I didn't see it as just a story about personal paths but also about respect for the people that are important. I got a better look at the whole Wolfe family and a greater feel for their relationships. Even though the message was deep there were some laugh out loud moments and some tender moments as well. Finally the third book, Getting the Girl, takes us to Cameron's romantic side. He has seen his brother, Ruben's, romantic escapades and knows that he doesn't want to be like that. He wants to find a girl to love and treat right. The problem is that the girl he finds causes a rift between the brothers. There are bigger problems on the horizon for Ruben and if they can't look past their differences things could go very badly. This book was also emotionally charged. There's not much to say without giving the story away. This was a great conclusion and I definitely recommend this one to anyone. There is something for everyone: family values, adventure, romance and the emphasis on self confidence. Young boys will look up to Cameron and young girls will fall head over heels for him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
calogero More than 1 year ago
Markus suzak books rule how often u enjoy a book that has childlike writting but translaletted into adult themes... Marksus is a blessed writter and able to capture best of both worlds youth & adult without killing it.. I checked out his books at the L.A library fighting ruben wolfe to precise good book but i never realized it part of a trilogy so i decided to pirchase all 3 books under one great price...
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Under Dogs is the most sincere and true to life book about teen guys I've read in a long while. Honest, frequently hilarious, and at times heartbreaking Zusak's first books made me remember what it was like to discover "who I am" when I was young(er).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He waits.