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Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Underdogs) Paperback – 28 Jan 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Definitions (Young Adult) (28 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862309574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862309579
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Markus Zusak, a prize-winning children's author, lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and young daughter. At the age of 30, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today's most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a 'literary phenomenon' by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature.

Product Description

Review

"Written with a spare, gritty authenticity, this is a compelling and refreshingly brief novel by the author of the bestselling The Book Thief." (The Guardian)

"Originally published in Zusak's native Australia three years before the hugely successful The Book Thief hit these shores, Fighting Ruben Wolfe is a lithe and affecting short novel about two brothers who become lured into the seedy underbelly of an illegal boxing ring in order to make some money to help out their parents. With echoes of the vulnerable and questioning first person narrative of The Outsiders, this is a fiery and ruminative novel for young teenagers." (The Bookseller)

"Gritty novella about tough lives in tough neighbourhoods at tough economic times. Short, sharp and punchy, it has moments of savage humour and pure pathos. There's poetry in every life - even when it's seeped in violence." (bookbag.co.uk)

"An impressive and heartwarming story of fraternal and familial bonding." (The Irish Times)

"The novel is [...] a knockout" (The Irish Times)

Review

“The earthly characterizations, volatile family dynamics, and sports theme make this a match for Chris Lynch’s Shadow Boxer.” (Horn Book Review)

“Zusak offers a lot of sports action as well as a sensitive introspection of sibling relationships and family pride ... an often provocative book.” (Publisher's Weekly) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
The fantastic Mr. Zusak is back, with a long-awaited UK reprint of his early novel Fighting Ruben Wolfe, which was first published in Australia in the year 2000. It's not quite in the same league as The Book Thief, but his excellent writing and characterisation still shines through in true Zusak style.

Brothers Cameron and Ruben Wolfe head up this gritty tale of family and fighting, and show just what determination and a sense of pride can achieve. When their father loses his job and starts struggling to pay the bills, the brothers know they have to do something. An underground boxing ring provides the perfect way to make quick cash, and vent some anger at the same time.

Zusak's depiction of the Wolfe family is so realistic it's hard to remember you're reading about fictional people. They face the prospect of going on the dole, vicious rumours about their daughter's sexual promiscuity and the worrying need for more money. It's refreshing to read about everyday problems like these, rather than exaggerated situations that are impossible to relate to. I don't know whether any of these plot lines stem from personal experience on the author's behalf, but whatever the reason for their inclusion, I'm just glad they're there.

Ruben's fight scenes, though quite harrowing, are action-packed and suspenseful. They'll no doubt be a big hit with the boys, and will give girls an insight into a very male-orientated sport. The same can be said for the male narration. It's such a nice change to be in a guy's head, and to see what they really think about girls, school and life in general.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe is a story about pride, strength and that unbreakable bond between two brothers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mogwins on 20 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Fighting Ruben Wolfe is very short, an afternoon's read at most, but Zusak's battling brothers are more fully realised than many authors manage in ten times as many words. It's story of heart, with heart. Yes, some of the word play is a little, um, cheesy, but it fits with the voice of the narrator struggling to express his feelings in the best way he can. Well worth a few hours investment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paula Mc on 16 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Fighting Ruben Wolfe' tells the story of the Wolfe brothers, Ruben and Cameron, two very different brothers who both have a lot of fight in them, their fight to be understood, their fight to be accepted. Ruben is offered the opportunity to box for money, and Cameron is asked too, they need the money to help their proud parents, who won't accept help, especially their Dad, so the brothers take the step to box and find out more about themselves, what they mean to each other and their family.

I enjoyed `Fighting Ruben Wolfe', Markus Zusak describes the Wolfe family brilliantly, you feel like you know them because there are aspects of them that will remind you of someone you know, which is nice to read in a book.

Cameron Wolfe is one of my favourite characters, `Getting the Girl' (the sequel to `Fighting Ruben Wolfe', which I read first) is the reason why, which I will be reviewing next. There is something about Cameron, for his age, he is good and kind, understanding, he is very much a dark horse but you see his qualities and love him for them.

Ruben is also a great character, there is much more to him that meets the eye.

A fantastic book, read as soon as humanly possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TullulahsBear on 28 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
A cracking read, you immediately fall in love with the main characters, the ill adjusted wistful younger brother and the good looking, wise cracking, Ruben.
When things aren't working out so well in the Wolfe clan, the younger siblings find a novel way of making ends meet and somehow unite their fractured family along the way.
Atmospheric and gritty with moments of poetic beauty, fighting Ruben Wolfe is not only a terrific yarn but a captivating piece of writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Intrepid Newbie on 9 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Markus Zusak elicits the true smells, tastes and feelings of Australia and centres its sweaty, gritty atmosphere on the Wolfe family, a family struggling to make end meets with a father out of work, a family with four children each enduring their own paths of personal development. We experience this through the story of Cameron and Ruben who embark on a journey of their own that manifests itself in the guise of bare-fisted boxing. The authenticity of the characters leaves me thinking that they MUST be based on real life people. This is a rather short, beautifully concise novel where every single word of dialogue and description is fundamental to the overall plot and atmosphere. Markus Zusak, one of Australia's most inspired writers, perfects, yet again, the art of imbibing big, adult themes in young adult fiction. Pick it up and be transported to the verandas of Australia and to experience the coming of age of one young boy admiring his older brother - and who could blame him. I too admired him for the overwhelming sense of love he exudes for his family, his determination and his resolve. Try not to cry with this book...I dare you.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Of course after reading the Book Thief ,this book was never going to be 5 star... worth reading,though,atmospheric & though provoking...anyone reading this should certainly read The Book Thief by the same author.
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