Underdogs (Wolfe Brothers, #1-3)
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Underdogs (Wolfe Brothers #1-3)

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  667 ratings  ·  115 reviews
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 s...more
Hardcover, 501 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Scholastic, Inc.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,741)
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Maria
Markus Zusak is arguably one of the best contemporary YA authors, as evidenced by his internationally acclaimed bestseller, The Book Thief. It was a pleasure to read this trilogy as it chronicles the first three works of the author before his literary fame.

The Underdog is the shortest story of the three, and while lacking in some aspects it is an intriguing first act of Underdogs trilogy and whets the reader’s appetite for a taste of the resilient Wolfe Family. Fighting Ruben Wolfe delves deepl...more
Jenny
Come on, people, this is Zusak we're talking about and while, yes, I love his entirely unique writing style, I adore his beautifully honest stories with their sweet messages even more. This little story doesn't have some huge event or a climactic ending, it doesn't have some whirling plot that keeps us turning pages but will be forgotten not long after the last page is read. It's about life, and the lessons we can glean from it. Sure, Cameron couldn't talk to girls and Ruben and he were pretty u...more
Dawn Teresa
Jan 01, 2014 Dawn Teresa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
Originally posted on my blog, Read Love

The Book Thief was no fluke. It was the culmination of years of work and growth from a gifted writer. When I began reading the first book in Underdogs, fearful that it would prove to be vastly inferior to The Book Thief (one of my all-time favorite books), I found real and rapid assurance that the hand that authored that masterpiece also wrote these words. In The Underdog, originally published in 1999 (and his first work), Markus Zusak's talent and unique s...more
Jessica
Magnificent!

I know THE BOOK THIEF is the one that all kiddies rave about, and don't get me wrong: that is a brilliant book and I love it. But then I discovered GETTING THE GIRL, which led me to find FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, which brings us here, to the first US publication of THE UNDERDOG, contained in this omnibus of all three Wolfe brothers books. If you don't, from the first chapter of THE UNDERDOG (or any of the other two, really), fall madly in love with the endearingly awkward and yet strange...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
I finished this at last! And over all, I really enjoyed it. The first book of the anthology was a bit rough and uneventful, but I thought the second and third books were a lot better, and I could definitely see Markus Zusak's writing improve over the course of the trilogy. There were times when I thought the style (especially the dialogue) got kind of pretentious/annoying, but for the most part I loved the way they were written. And by the end I felt very attached to the Wolfe family and felt li...more
Heidi *Listen. I'll just keep talking anyway. *
I am not afraid. I will admit it. I have a new book crush. His name is Cameron. He is geeky and shy and he has a heart of gold. What is not to love? I will add that in the intro Mr. Zuzak admitted he is Cameron so by default I guess my crush also carries to him (Who are we kidding... I love Markus too. I mean who can resist an accent?)

What is it about Aussie writers? Even in their earlier books that are not as polished (such as this one) they have you laughing one minute and wanting to bawl you...more
Marija
On TCM there’s a segment where Peter O’Toole reflects upon his experiences working with David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia. O’Toole remembers one particular scene where Lean asks him to complete five minutes of mime for the scene where Lawrence tries on, for the first time, that white robe in the desert. Not knowing what to do, O’Toole thinks about it, and then remembers the dagger he has sheathed on his waist. As the film starts rolling, O’Toole uses the dagger as a mirror to look at himself and...more
Eden
The first thing to note is that this is an omnibus of The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl. The second thing to note is that they're Markus Zusak's very first novels. The writing style we all loved in The Book Thief didn't just spring magically from a first effort, and Underdogs is definitely representative of the journey this author's writing grew through.

The biggest issue with The Underdog is that it's plot-less. This leaves it all up to Cameron to capture our interest, whic...more
George
Would want to be a fighter? This book is a story about two brothers that always get into fights. They're not that close with their other siblings but themselves. One day a street boxing promotor heard about Ruben Wolfe beating up a guy in school for calling his sister inappropriate names. When the promotor talked with Ruben to get him to fight, Ruben also told him about his brother Cameron Wolfe that he should fight too. Ruben starts taking this seriously because he wants to be a fighter even th...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
Aug 04, 2012 Jillian -always aspiring- marked it as to-read-someday
All three books in one volume? YES!!!
Jen Scott
I'm going to do a three part review for this book, because I read all three novels at different times. The first one is for Underdog: Out of all of the Markus Zusak books I've read, this one was my least favorite. I felt like it didn't have as much direction as his other books, and there was no "wow" factor for me. But, nevertheless, this is Markus Zusak we're talking about, and he is a beautiful writer, so I enjoyed reading it.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe: I had the awesome experience of reading this t...more
Justin
I don’t know what it is with me and omnibuses… omnibusseses… omnibi? Anything that’s packaged as a complete set, be it made up of novels or comics, tends to attract my attention these days. This particular omnibus appeared to me out of nowhere, and didn’t do anything for me at first. Somewhere between when I started it and when I finished it, though, it crept up on me and became one of my favorite recent reads. It’s a meandering, quirky coming-of-age story that is funny and heartbreaking by turn...more
Newengland
G'day, mates. This here's the story of Cameron Wolfe. OK, THREE stories of Cameron Wolfe. Once upon a time they were little known novels by a little known YA writer from Down Under. Title of the books? The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. Title of the author? Markus Zusak. Reason that sounds familiar? The Book Thief.

And that's the reason Scholastic has put together these three books -- Zusak's sensational success with the Holocaust sleeper, The Book Thief. Some of the books...more
Nancy
Underdogs is an omnibus volume of Markus Zusak;s three novels about the Wolfe brothers, Ruben and young narrator Cameron.

The first novel - The Underdog - is noticeably the weakest of the three, and was in fact Zusak's first novel. There's really little to say about it, except that so little happens in it that I am a bit surprised that it was even published. It basically sets the stage for the two novels that follow.

But it is followed by Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and that is a horse of another (extr...more
Alex Murphy
This is just a review of the first book in this -The Underdogs- I love the other two so much and was floored when I saw that he had this book coming out. I was super happy, until I realized that I would have to also pay for two books that I had already bought. So I waited and waited and when this book became available as a strip I grabbed it up.

Unfortunately all of my waiting was for naught as this book was disappointing slow and didn't have any of the magic that all of Zusak's have. That lyrica...more
Phrynne
A very short, simple little book but it shows that Marcus Zusak has what it takes to be a really good author and later he proved this with The Book Thief. Underdogs is not really my kind of book but I enjoyed it for what it was.
John
A 2.5

There are plenty of moments in this quick trilogy where I saw the seeds of what Zusak became. But overall the books are mediocre. The second book was the best. It had the clearest story that built to something, and the characters seemed to grow and expand well.

One of the familiar little traits of Zusak that I love, is how he tells you what is going to happen ahead of time in concise little notes. Then you are left to read how it will unfold. He might fast forward a few paragraphs or a few...more
Trimble
Underdogs is a compilation of a three book series called "Wolfe Brothers". It includes The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl.

The Underdog is the story of a typical 15 year-old teenage boy, Cameron, who lives with his parents, two brothers, and sister. It's summer and Cameron and his brother, Ruben, spend most of their time together just hanging out and are frequently planning something naughty. Whether or not they follow through with those plans is another story. Zusak provide...more
Melanie
I read the Book Thief awhile ago, which I loved dearly. This trilogy...it wasn't what I expected. It's very different, in terms of plot, and content, but also in writing style. You see, starting with The Underdog, the growth Mark Zusak goes through, as an author. Of course, all there were great, but I liked Getting the Girl the best. These books seem more free, if you will, in terms of plot, with an almost dreamy quality to them, but Zusak does a marvolous job of connecting all the seemingly ran...more
Paula
'Underdogs' is the story of the Wolfe brothers, Cameron and Ruben and the trilogy is now in one book. 'Underdog', the story of the Wolfe brothers and their various endeavours to make some money which do not go to plan. 'Fighting Ruben Wolfe', the story of the brothers who begin to fight for money, Ruben seems to have found his calling but its not what he wants, he wants to be something more. 'Getting The Girl', this is definitely Cameron's story, he finds a passion for writing, which he uses to...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
I have yet to read The Book Thief, which has been highly recommended to me numerous times, so this is my first time reading Markus's work. Being that Underdogs, a collection of three stories following the Wolfe Brothers (The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl), is Markus's first writing, I can only imagine how brilliantly written The Book Thief is. It's not that these books were bad, because they weren't, they were good reads. Overall this collection show cases how Markus's writ...more
Shannon

*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...more
Jen
This is a book boys everywhere are sure to enjoy. It's filled with lots of boyish things like hair brained schemes that go awry, girls, blood, guts, girls, mysterious smells, action, girls, fighting, and did I mention girls? There's talking about girls, thinking about girls, writing about girls, girls, girls, girls! So it's not all about girls but hey, that's what occupies a teen boy's mind 24/7 pretty much. The main difference between Cameron Wolfe and his brother Ruben is, Cameron wants to fin...more
Albert Riehle
This is an omnibus edition of the 3 continuous books in the Cameron Wolfe series and as an omnibus I'm giving it 4 stars because I have to judge it all together. It's worth noting that if there were half-stars I'd give it 4.5 though. It's also worth noting that the last two books, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl are definite 5 star works. It's the first book, Underdog that brings the rating down. And Underdog isn't bad. It's simply a first book and it's not as good as the other two. It...more
Jess
Sep 23, 2012 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Big fans of Zusak
Recommended to Jess by: His other stuff
Shelves: z_12, ya
Cameron Wolfe.

Releasing these as a set was a good move for they are best read together over the course of a week or so.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe is the best book on brothers I've read. The part where Rube defends Cameron (p. 270-71) made me cry, and it's been a long time since that's happened. He's just so loyal and protective and proud of Cameron that I couldn't take it.

Cameron is so introspective that you get more wondering about people and things that actual things. Good and bad. The Underdog h...more
Dan
Markus Zusak has earned a place at the top of my list of favorite authors. If you haven't read The Book Thief, do. Read my review of it first though--I think you should know some things before you start. Read I am the Messenger too.

Once you've read those, you're going to want more Markus Zusak--at least I did. Luckily I discovered Underdogs. It is a compilation of the first three books Zusak published. Originally published in his native Australia, they have only recently become available to rea...more
Carla
Because I loved "The Book Thief" and I liked "I Am The Messenger" a lot, I was eager to read "Underdogs," Markus Zuzak's debut novel which is really three related short stories put together. I am glad that I did not read this book first as it may have put me off the other two, but this first novel had its redeeming features. The story is about the Wolfe brothers, Reuben and Cameron, who are underdogs in all senses of the word -- in their family, in their working-lower class neighborhood, in thei...more
Abby
Dec 29, 2012 Abby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Friends, family
Shelves: favorites
This is probably one of the only books that I've ever wanted to reread. I've had that desire with every other Markus Zusak novel, as well, but this one seemed to stick with me the most. There's something about the Wolfe Brothers trilogy that is just so impactful and inspiring.

You are introduced to Cameron Wolfe and his older brother Ruben in the first book, The Underdog. Both boys are troublemakers, though Rube is fine with this and Cam's longing for a bit more. They're close, the two of them. T...more
Chanda
I loved The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger so I really looked forward to Under Dogs. Sadly, I didn't love it. I don't enjoy short stories and essentially this is three short stories in one. They are all about the same characters so you do get a little attached to them by the end but I find it harder to invest in short-story characters, even when there are multiple stories about them. It feels like their tale always gets cut short.

Despite being disappointed by the book as a whole, I was defin...more
Shannon
I'm going to review each story as I read it so I can look back and justify the overall rating that I end up with.

So the first is the underdog. I was ready and eager to love it. Zusak wrote one of my very favorite books on my all time favorites list (the book thief) so I had high hopes for this and was excited to start. That excitement quickly dimmed, unfortunately. One thing I hated, and it may just be my aversion to having people tell me about their fantastical dreams, is that every chapter en...more
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Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe...more
More about Markus Zusak...
The Book Thief I Am the Messenger Getting the Girl (Wolfe Brothers, #3) Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Wolfe Brothers, #2) Underdog (Wolfe Brothers, #1)

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“Very quickly, very suddenly, words fell through my mind. They landed on the floor of my thoughts, an in there, down there, I started to pick the words up. They were excerpts of truth gathered from inside me.
Even in the night, in bed, they woke me.
They painted themselves onto the ceiling.
They burned themselves onto the sheets of memory laid out in my mind.
When I woke up the next day, I wrote the words down , on a torn-up piece of paper. And to me, the world changed color that morning.”
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“The dog next-door had settled down, and the neighbourhood seemed stunned by this event occurring in our backyard. It was like it could sense it. It could sense some form of tragedy and helplessness being played out, and to tell you the truth, it all surprised me. I was so used to things just going on, oblivious and ignorant to all feeling.” 1 likes
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