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Underdog (Wolfe Brothers #1)

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,356 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Boys are like dogs - ready to bite, bark and beg to be given a chance to show their value.. "I vowed that if I ever got a girl I would treat her right and never be bad or dirty to her or hurt her, ever." Cameron Wolfe is a dirty boy. He knows it. His brother Rube knows it, because he's one too. they could change - but what would it take?
Paperback, 153 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Ravensburger Buchverlag
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Community Reviews

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Reynje
Ordinarily, if someone said “Hey, would you like to spend a few days in the mind of a 15 year old boy?” I’d emphatically say: “No thanks,” or at a stretch, “Maybe, can I take hand sanitiser?”

However, if someone said “Hey, would you like to spend a few days in the mind of a 15 year old boy via Markus Zusak?” I’d say: “Yes! Give it to me now!”

No one actually said that, but have acquired all three books in Zusak’s Underdog series, and thus this week I spent some time in the mind of Cameron Wolfe: d...more
Shirley Marr
Like others, I also chose to read this primarily as it is Markus Zusak's first novel. It's written in his trademark existentialist, charmingly goofy and self-degrading style. The book revolves around Cameron Wolfe and the entire Wolfe 'clan'. Highly autobiographical I suspect (spray jacket wearing Cameron, reminds me of spray jacket wearing Markus) and loose in structure and plot, but Zusak's characterisation and thematic adhesion carries this one through to the end for me.

I enjoyed it. I love...more
Luke Wilson
Markus Zusak says in the introduction to the American edition that he doesn't like the series that much and would change a lot if he could redo it. And to a point, it isn't really nearly as good as The Book Thief or The Messenger. It lacks the sense of direction and the subtextual deepness that he other books have.

That being said, it's still a Zusak novel, so it's still very definitely worth reading. His unique voice definitely still comes out and his stylistic choices are still superior to many...more
Melissa
Before Zusak gained fame for writing the beloved novel The Book Thief, he wrote a trilogy of books about a young man named Cameron Wolfe: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl.

This is his first book and the beginning of that trilogy. It tells the story of the Wolfe brothers from Cameron’s point-of-view. He and his older brother Reuben live in Australia and spend their time getting in trouble and annoying their family members.

The novel feels immature in some ways. The style f...more
Sarah
This book is a joke. It has no plot and no point. As with 'The Book Theif', I WANTED to like it because Markus Zusak is not only a young Australian writer of YA fiction but ALSO (I discovered) quite cute. But I couldn't do it. The writing is clearly supposed to be very deep and meaningful and writerly but instead was deeply annoying and pretentious.

"Had the years defeated us?
Had they worn us down?
Had they passed like big white clouds, disintegrating very slowly so that we couldn't notice?"

I m...more
Dyanne
Underdog was Markus Zusak's debut book. Although it is lacking in the beautiful delicacy and the well thought out plots of The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, it shows that even for a debut book, Zusak had undeniable talent for writing.
The writing style was beautiful. The word choice spoke to my heart and really touched me.
His mixing of poetry and prose was also superb.
The characters were relatable, and so SO real.

Where was he a bit lacking?

The plot.
It wasn't that there was no plot. It was...more
Ceecee
As much as I love Markus Zusak, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

Of course, after reading The Book Thief, nothing compares. And I understand that this being his debut novel I can hardly expect something as grand and heart-wrenching as The Book Thief.

Underdog is just about a boy and his ordinary life, and also his aspirations. It's almost autobiographical in writing style. There's no Big Baddie, nor a big climax. Just a book about the head of a 15-year old boy.

Cameron Wolfe is a sw...more
Marianne
The Underdog is the first in the Wolfe Brothers series by Australian author, Markus Zusak. Cameron Wolfe, aged fifteen, knows he is a dirty boy. After all, “….. all young boys are pretty disgusting, like beasts. Maybe the challenge was to somehow rise above it…..” Cameron is a bit of a loner: he and his brother Ruben keep getting themselves into trouble, Cameron has a bit of sense (but not a lot), he doesn’t have a girl (his hair is thick any furry and sticks up every which way). When he meets R...more
Guilherme
"Estávamos vendo tevê quando decidimos assaltar o dentista
-O Dentista? - perguntei para o meu irmão.
-Claro, por que não? - Foi a resposta que ouvi - Você sabe quanto dinheiro entra numa clínica dessas durante o dia?Chega a ser obsceno.Se o primeiro-ministro fosse dentista, o país não estaria do jeito que está agora, sério.Não haveria desemprego, nem racismo, nem machismo.Só dinheiro."

Oi gente, tudo bom?A resenha de hoje é o novo lançamento da Bertrand e o segundo livro do autor de A Menina que...more
Louisa
If you've read Zusak's The Book Thief or The Messenger, you'll notice a huge difference in quality between them and this. Granted, The Underdog is his debut novel. It just kind of... doesn't have a plot. It's also 160 pages long - far too short for any decent development, IMO. At least I got to finish it at a snap during deadline/test crunch week.

I've already bought the next two books in the series and hopefully they serve as a good follow-up. All I can say now is ehhhhhhhhhhhh. 15-year-old guy...more
Eliana Olivera
4.5 WOW! Empece a leer este libro sin esperar mucho, he leido varios reviews diciendo que no es muy bueno, quejandose de los personajes, del plot y de mil cosas por eso a mi me sorprendio lo mucho que me iba gustando y a medida que iba leyendo me gustaba mas, no es La Ladrona de Libros no, pero si se nota que es del mismo autor, que manera de escribir la de Markus Zusak, tiene una manera de contar las historias unica.
He leido mil veces la pregunta 'Con que personaje ficticio te identificas?' y...more
Dale
It started off quite interesting, but I soon lost interest. In the introduction Zusak says it was originally planned as a short story around the dentist tale from the start of the book. He should have stopped there, because it just didn't hold my interest after that.
Italo André Oliveira
O Azarão é um livro curto, de linguagem simples e conta com praticamente nenhuma trama. Mas o livro arrancou de mim boas risadas em alguns momentos. E foi muito bom lê-lo, é um relato adolescente que soa real, que me fez lembrar de minha adolescência e de minhas angústias na época.

Gostei bastante. Apesar de não ser nenhuma obra prima, releria numa boa. Gostei do narrador/protagonista e torci por ele (o que foi um tanto inútil, basta olhar o título do livro). Cameron Wolfe é um adolescente normal...more
Bradley
The order that I read Markus Zusak books:

I am the Messenger
The Book Thief (multiple times)
Getting the Girl
Underdog

The first book is exactly that, his first book, it's clear he is still finding his voice and developing his style at that point - he says more or less in the forward at the beginning of the newly released trilogy. In that sense, I enjoyed it. Having read everything I did before Underdog it's great to be able to see how he has grown as a writer, which is evident even in the short span...more
Brooke
Favourite Quote: “There was only me who could worry about what was happening here, inside these walls of my life. Other people had their own worlds to worry about, and in the end, they had to fend for themselves, just like us.”

After reading The Book Thief and I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak, I knew I had to read more of his works, so I picked this book up! Since this was his first novel, I did not expect it to be as good as his other books and I wasn’t wrong, this book was no where near as...more
Laura
The Underdog is a story about a first crush... or was it about two trouble-making brothers? Or a somewhat abusive and dysfunctional family? Maybe all of these things at once? Which really turned out to be its downfall for me. The lack of cohesion between all of the storylines left me questioning the point of everything I just read. It's just a little story, about a piece of main character Cameron's life, which alternates between hilarity, introspective musings, gut-punching with Cam's brother, R...more
Helen
This is Marcus Zusak's (The Book Thief) first published novel. It was published in Australia, but not in the US until recently. The story is told from the point of view of Cameron Wolfe, a 15-year-old "underdog" who does stupid things with his slightly older brother Ruben. In his narrative, Cam admits that "boys like us--boys in general--would have to be the scum of the earth." It's a funny, if a bit uneven, story about Cam's first crush on a "real" girl and his promise to himself to never hurt...more
Cari
It's definitely not a secret that Markus Zusak is my favorite author. The man is a magician with words and I can't get enough...

The biggest appeal of reading Underdog was to discover Zusak's very first book and to see how the writing style differed from it and his later works. I've read that you can see Zusak's writing style develop before your eyes as you progress through the Wolfe brothers trilogy.

Underdog tells the story of Cameron Wolfe, a teenage boy who is constantly making mischief with...more
Owen11
Další Zusakův povedený kousek. Ještě před Zlodějkou knih a Poslem napsal Zusak trilogii novel, jejíž první díl vyšel nedávno česky (název "Roky pod psa" není podle mě úplně ideální). Tentokrát se nedočkáme neobyčejných dobrodružstvích obyčejných lidí, ale "obyčejného" života. Jinak má kniha přesně to, co Zusak umí - neuvěřitelně sympatické postavy, skvěle napsané, spoilerování příběhu dopředu... Jedná se o naprostou jednohubku (140 stránek, ovšem pokud bychom osekali prázdné stránky, tak se dost...more
Maggie
It's like Markus Zusak's shy, younger brother wrote this! Definitely a starter book, but even back then, Markus's feelings about foreshadowing ("Mystery bores me, it chores me.") is obvious.
Penny Poppleton
Markus Zusak's first book. Bloody excellent. I want to climb inside his fiction.
Silan
Kitabın niye yazıldığını anlamadım ama :DDDD bana Kara Kafa'yı hatırlattı biraz :')
David
Impulzem k nákupu bylo jméno autora. Po prvních stránkách jsem si říkal, že to byla chyba. Nemám rád knihy ze "současnosti", nemám rád příběhy z "obyčejného" života, pubertální hrdinové mě nijak nefascinují, jenže...... To celé trvalo jen pár stránek a pak jsem zase podlehl Zusakovu kouzlu. Ten chlap je prostě neuvěřitelný vypravěč a i banalitu je schopen vyložit tak, že vás strhne. Jeho styl je civilní a zároveň velmi specifický. Působí esteticky a přitom vzduště a účelně. Příběh má vtip i nesk...more
Amy
Markus Zusak weaves endless magic and I love him with all of my heart.
Ief Stuyvaert
Very good. Not as great as 'The Bookthief' ofcourse, but then, what book is?
Katie
Markus Zusak, I'm kind of in love with you, okay?
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
I'm currently making my way through Underdogs, which is the anthology of all three Wolfe Brothers books. I'll probably write a more detailed review of the anthology as a whole (which I'll link to once I write it), but just some notes on this first installment:

- The narrative voice is very strong. Even though it's Markus Zusak's first book, it already has a distinct style and I enjoy his writing (as I always do).
- The whole thing feels very natural and real. There are a lot of great details, and...more
Lman
”I don’t really know that this story has a whole lot of things happen in it. It doesn’t really. It’s just a record of how things were in my life last winter. I guess things happened, but nothing out of the ordinary.” p.11

And that’s right.
This is Markus Zusak’s first novel...for that reason alone I wanted to read it. Ostensibly for young adults, this chronicle may be coined as a succinct, but subtle, peek into the mind of a growing boy, condensed within a very small chapter of his life - an hones...more
Emma
Ruben Wolf is always thinking of ridiculous schemes that he and his brother, Cameron, never actually carry out. And setting out to rob the dentist is no exception. Cameron is fifteen and usually just goes along with whatever Ruben dreams up. The Underdog is about the things that happen to Cameron that winter: how he fell in love, got into fights, dreamt and survived. Cameron feels pathetic and hopeless, and just wants to find a girl that he will never hurt. As Cameron tries to stop disappointing...more
Martha
This book is so ... RAW. But first, if I might say, this, for me, is Markus Zusak's first attempt to I Am The Messenger. I can see a lot of similarities, not just in the writing style, but also in the message he wanted to pass on. Granted, they have a very different story line, but the main character's struggle with himself and the inner dialogues are pulled out of the same material. Or the same cause ... or something.

The one huge difference between the two is what I already pointed out. In I Am...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) Underdogs (Wolfe Brothers, #1-3)

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“I had to decide what I was going to do, and what I was going to be.
I was standing there, waiting for someone to do something , till I realised the person I was waiting for was myself.”
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“It is early, early morning. It's that time when it's still dark but you know the day is coming. Blue is bleeding through black. Stars are dying.” 37 likes
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