Zusak, Marcus. Getting The Girl. Push, 2004. 978-0439389501 250 pp. $
This sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Arthur A Levine, 2001) features the two Australian brothers, cocky Ruben and quiet Cam. Cam, a self dubbed loser and perpetual underdog, falls for his brother’s girlfriend Octavia. He bides his time; after all, Rube uses and discards women at the rate of one every few weeks. Cam appreciates Octavia’s beauty and musical talent, but he wants to get inside her head, not just her pants. His patience pays off and Cam is there when Octavia gets dumped, but once Octavia shows a little interest back, Ruben changes his mind about being bored with her. Will a girl break the fraternal bond?
Several supporting characters return, including the neighbor’s mangy dog the boys walk as a side job. Ruben’s sister comes forward to boost Cam’s self esteem and his star football player brother surprises Cam with advice and support. Even more of Cam’s poetic soul shines through, and Rube voices just how much his baby brother means to him, but it is too late to salvage their relationship?
Written in the same fast-paced, smart, observant style as the prequel, this is another quick book about working class life reminiscent of Chris Lynch’s Blue Eyed Son series (Harper, 1996). Zusak is a sharp new voice in young adult literature. He is a skilled writer whose cleverly evocative prose slashes through the pages with an economy of words. Zusak is required reading.