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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Ruben Wolfe
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...
Published on 29 Jan 2010 by Jenny, Wondrous Reads

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars great for teenage
even though it was not of my favoured genre, the story was good. I'd recommend to years 7_11 year olds.
Published 22 months ago by Patto


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Ruben Wolfe, 29 Jan 2010
By 
Jenny, Wondrous Reads (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. It takes a simple premise and gives it depth and emotion, while never straying from the authenticity of the situation. I only wish it was longer, which would have allowed for more development and more time with the Wolfe family. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sequel, Getting the Girl, will be released here one day, as I need another new Zusak fix as soon as possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick, powerful jab of a novel, 20 May 2011
By 
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
4.0 out of 5 stars The good fight?, 16 Mar 2010
By 
Paula Mc (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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`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
4.0 out of 5 stars a cracking read, 28 Mar 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A tear jerker!, 9 May 2010
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Not The Book Thief but still a good read, 23 Jun 2013
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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3.0 out of 5 stars great for teenage, 20 Feb 2013
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even though it was not of my favoured genre, the story was good. I'd recommend to years 7_11 year olds.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Zusak is one to watch..., 3 Jan 2013
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's an easy and engrossing read.

The story has soul and humor and the principal characters are very well drawn. You really get a sense of the spirit and heart of people who are true to themselves and value their dignity, honor and integrity above all else - that's my reaction anyway. Were the characters real they might well phrase it differently.

Like other Zusak works I'm familiar with, it has a few unlikely premises. In this case, nothing so far out as to render the storyline implausible.

If you like books where the story-line and narrative generates a real atmosphere and the characters are strongly drawn with a minimum of fuss - and its all done without turgid pages and chapters dedicated to soul-searching, contemplative reflection and hand-wringing - well - Zusak does it here.

It's a short book that leaves a deep impression.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I admit to being obsessed with Zusak!, 27 Dec 2012
Although you can tell this was written before The Book Thief, it still has Zusak's unique style of writing, which I'm a big fan of! It's a very short book, which I sat n read in an afternoon, but the characters carry on well from The Underdog and are well thought out...looking forward to reading Getting The Girl next!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Short changed and disappointed, 4 July 2012
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I had such high hopes of this book. Having read and loved and re-read The Book Thief I decided to purchase the kindle edition of Fighting Ruben Wolfe.

The style of writing was familiar and the story was compelling - just like The Book Thief, but I was left feeling shortchanged - the book ended and I felt that there was unfinished business. There was none of that epic novel that I was expecting.

And the last 13% of the kindle edition is a "preview" of The Book Thief - which I already know is amazing....

I think I'll be reading the Book Thief for years to come, but I doubt this one will ever come out again.
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Fighting Ruben Wolfe
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak (Hardcover - Mar 2001)
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