Review: Getting the Girl (Wolfe Brothers #3) by Markus Zusak

Brothers Cameron and Ruben Wolfe have always been loyal to each other – even when Rube goes through dating girls he has no intention of being serious with. Until Cameron meets and falls in love with Rube’s latest girlfriend, Octavia. Already struggling to not hide under Rube’s shadow, Cameron isn’t even sure if a beautiful girl like Octavia would go for a guy like him. And even if she was, would it be worth breaking the brotherly bond between him and Rube?

Personal Take: After being given an amazing spoonful of such good, emotional writing in the second installment of this series, I had high expectations for the last book, specifically when it came to Cameron’s personal growth. There was growth, but not the “awakening” kind I was expecting.

But before I go into that, I want to point out one thing I noticed was that Zusak approached this book without referencing a lot from events in the previous book Fighting Ruben Wolfe, which was weird, as it was a turning point for both brothers. In Getting the Girl, it felt like Rube was the one that found his ground, while poor Cameron had maybe a semblance of a foundation (and there were plenty!), but not enough to prop him up.

Having said that, the self-discovery and struggle Cameron goes through is still emotional and heartfelt (and sometimes quite shitty, actually), and the beautiful prose keeps blossoming as he finds his ground. For the romance though, it was eh. It was too fast, and it didn’t feel like Octavia was much of a character. I think that, along with the constant awkwardness of Cameron, were the two only downsides.

While this series doesn’t show the best of Markus Zusak’s writing, it’s still brimming with his talent of writing.

Audience: I’d stay older teens for a few choice words.

Rating:

Other recommendations: I’ve read and reviewed the first two books in this series; Underdog and Fighting Ruben Wolfe. Also read the much critically acclaimed The Book Thief, and I Am the Messenger.

Review: Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Wolfe Brothers #2) by Markus Zusak

Tough times fall on the Wolfe household. With Mr. Wolfe unemployed, and Mrs. Wolfe working overtime; the Wolfe siblings are helpless, and each copes differently. With Cameron and Rube, it’s involves getting into shenanigans like betting at the dog track. But when rumors of their sister circulates at school, Rube starts a fierce fight– one that gets unexpected attention. Suddenly Rube, along with Cameron, are thrust into the underworld of boxing. While the two brothers vow to watch each other’s backs, Cameron feels a change coming on Rube, and he’s not sure if it’s the good sort of change.

Personal Take: If Zusak’s first book seemed like a solid for such an aimless story, the second installment more than makes up for it. Cameron has much more substance, along with all the characters mentioned. There’s something beautiful and desperate in Cameron’s voice that I love, and his growth is subtle but deeply felt. I also love how he’s contrasted against Rube, and his view of his brother is so pure and heartfelt. The story itself is much more solid and concrete, and not as aimless as Underdog.

That Zusak could make us sympathize with such grungy characters is a testament to his talent.

Audience: Older teens and adults, for some language.

Rating:

Other Recommendations: Needless to say, must reads are Book Thief and I Am The Messenger. Part of this series though (and which I reviewed) is Underdog.