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Fighting Ruben Wolfe
by Markus Zusak
ISBN 043924188X / 9780439241885 / 0-439-24188-X
List price $15.95
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As Cameron and Ruben Wolfe walk home from school one day, a rough bloke awaits them at their gate. "Can we talk inside?" he asks.
"Well, for starters," Rube answers, "who the hell are y'?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," says the stranger. "I'm a guy who can either change your life or smack it into the ground for bein' smart."
The brothers decide to listen. They keep listening, and soon they're embroiled in a ruthless underground world of sleazy amateur boxing, 50 bucks for a win, a decent tip for a loss. The intensity of this kind of fighting goes beyond the obvious violence and danger, though, as Cameron wonders whether he even wants to come out from his brother's shadow and both boys seek an identity beyond that of their painfully harsh working class family's.
Markus Zusak pens a surprisingly complex and touching story that will linger long with readers. The language is hard-hitting, witty, and authentic--as are the emotions and action. Fighting Ruben Wolfe is not about boxing. It's about respect, stubborn pride, and real brotherly love. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter [via]