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Underdogs (Wolfe Brothers #1-3)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,025 Ratings  ·  153 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
Hardcover, 501 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Scholastic, Inc.
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Community Reviews

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Dec 31, 2014 Maria rated it really liked it
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
Sep 24, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing

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
Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
Oct 21, 2011 Heidi (Yup. Still here.) rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-that-rocks
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
Aug 16, 2011 Marija rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2011 Eden rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 30, 2014 George rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 07, 2014 Hemant rated it liked it
I could relate to this story right from the beginning. Though the main character is 15, the things he is going through right now sort of relate to any average teenager (love, relationships etc). I really like how the story talks about the main character (Cameron)'s brother and how they are still having fun together even after they have fights and arguments (that was mostly what related to me). This book is good for people who want to know what it is like going through a teen's life but it goes i ...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
Feb 21, 2012 Jen Scott rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2011 Justin rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fiction, arc
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
Sep 29, 2011 Ken rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, finished-in-2011
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
Jan 29, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
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
Tanya Nekrasova
Sep 25, 2015 Tanya Nekrasova rated it it was amazing
Это история про :

миссис Вульф
мистера Вульфа

про поиски себя
про голод
про дружбу
про семью
про любовь

—Ты можешь утонуть во мне, когда захочешь, Кэмерон,— сказала она и, как тогда, прикоснулась губами к моим губам и плавно потекла через мой рот. Листки оставались у меня в руках, прижатые к ее бедрам, и я чувствовал, как, нависнув сверху, она вдыхает меня.

Мистера Зусака и его героев не возможно не любить. Пишет Зусак красиво, просто и трогательно. Книгу можно разобрать
Deb Stern
Mar 30, 2016 Deb Stern rated it really liked it
I could have counted this as three separate books, as they were written. However, to really feel the full effect, this needs to read as one continuous novel. Zusak speaks of layers from life experiences and every one of his books shows pieces of his layers. Audible version really good.
Jun 09, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, Zusak is a genius at writing and that was the main force to keep me reading. Out of the three books I liked the third one the most. However, the more I read the more meaningful and different the book became. My actual rating is 3.5. If you're a fan of the book thief and/or the messenger then you may want more Zusak in his beginning years. Warning: Peculiar, but worthy
Emily Griffin
May 09, 2016 Emily Griffin rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-1-10
Preview: This is a compilation of three shorter books about the Wolfe brothers, Ruben and Cameron. The book is told from Cameron's point of view and follows him as he struggles with living up to expectations and trying to figure out where he fits in best. He is always in the shadow of his older brothers and he really struggles with that a lot of the time. This book illustrates the hard ups and downs of having a strong bond between siblings and how they are always there for you even after you hav ...more
Sydney Dares
Mar 30, 2015 Sydney Dares rated it it was amazing
Zusak always has a way of writing about the everyday life of his characters, and somehow making it extraordinary. There is not a huge, overarching, defining plot to Underdogs, and yet it's definitely one of the better YA books I've read to date, because it highlights resiliency, and examines the beauty of the stories of people's everyday lives.

Underdogs focuses on roughly two years in the life of Cameron Wolfe, the youngest of the Wolfe family. The book heavily explores the relationship that Cam
Dec 14, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
I liked The Book Thief, but as I read more books by Markus Zusak, I realize that I like his other writing even more. This trilogy (which I read bound all into one book) explores the relationship between main character Cameron Wolfe and his brother Ruben. The first book establishes Cameron as an underdog in life and even in his own family. In the second book, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, both brothers become boxers and ultimately must fight each other in the ring. The most interesting battle, however, i ...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
Turned out really well, although I had my doubts in the beginning. The first book, The Underdog, is definitely the most aimless, with not much of a plot. It's more like an introduction to the characters, and it works pretty well, although I kept waiting for things to happen. The second book, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, also works well, since the plot is compelling, and the characters start to flesh out. Finally, Getting the Girl pulls everything together. Every character gets their moment. It's such a ...more
Hazel West
Aug 04, 2015 Hazel West rated it really liked it
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I decided to just review this addition so I can review all three books together in order to compare them. They were, of course, brother stories, and that always makes me enjoy things so much more and I really did love reading about the Wolfe brothers.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Meh, it's okay. Nothing really special, but I do like silhouettes as opposed to character impersonators.

Characters: These are definitely character driven stories, so having good characters is very im
Maureen E
Nov 01, 2011 Maureen E rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
All three Wolfe novels. The last, Getting the Girl is by far my favorite, though the tidiness of the resolution bothered me just a little. But I was invested enough in Cameron at that point to not really mind. [Oct. 2011]
Sep 02, 2013 Phrynne rated it liked it
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.
Mar 08, 2014 John rated it it was ok
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
Apr 05, 2016 elissa is currently reading it
This is the first time I've ever seen book #1 in the Wolfe Brothers trilogy (The Underdog). The other 2 are two of my favorite YA novels of all time, so I'm happy to finally get to read the 1st.

4/5/16: I finished the first book, and while it's my least favorite of the 3, I'm glad that I read it, and it's still a 4 star read for me. I'm not sure that I'd recommend starting with it, though, unless you're really set on being chronological.

My younger son and I got to see Zusak speak recently in DC (
Jan 02, 2014 Trimble rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
That's it, there's no contest now: Markus Zusak is my author crush. There's no one else who even comes close to his writing style. It's poetic, it's compelling, humourous, soulful, it's just...beautiful. And this series was supposed to be his "rough work", the first books that he got published, but they read just like any one of his other more famous works. Anyone who's read any of his other books (or just people who need a good read) should pick this collection up and pick it up now.

The chara
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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 Wol
More about Markus Zusak...

Other Books in the Series

Wolfe Brothers (3 books)
  • Underdog (Wolfe Brothers, #1)
  • Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Wolfe Brothers, #2)
  • Getting the Girl (Wolfe Brothers, #3)

Share This Book

“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.”
“Steve, on the other hand, has plenty of friends, but he wouldn't bleed for any of them, because he wouldn't trust them to bleed for him. In that way he's just as alone as me.” 2 likes
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