Can someone who knows about these things please explain to me why this book was never published in the US???? From what I can figure out, this, Markus Zusak's first novel, is the first in a trilogy. (Its sequels being Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl*) Generally, I would think that when you publish a trilogy, you publish all three volumes, not just the SECOND TWO!!!!
But thanks to the wonders of Inter-Library Loan -- I was able to get a copy from a library in Canada. I did have to pay return postage, but it was so worth it.
Cameron Wolfe is the youngest in his family. His oldest brother Steve is the "winner" -- good at sports, etc. His sister Sarah is generally attached at the lips to her boyfriend, while his brother Ruben is the troublemaker, always coming up with ridiculous schemes like robbing the dentist (which they don't actually do), and stealing a road sign (which Cameron makes him return). Cameron usually follows along with whatever Ruben has planned.
But then, after being fired from his job (he was a paper boy and he accidentally broke a customer's window). He begins to work for his father (a plumber) which leads to him meeting a girl, a real girl. And somehow, this changes him -- makes him want to improve himself.
Markus Zusak is a genius -- and that's all there is to it. While this is his first novel, and it isn't nearly as polished as say, The Book Thief , the emotion in this little novel is raw and real. And I can't believe that Zusak was only 24 when this was published... (makes me feel rather useless!). Now I can't wait to read the sequels!
*In Australia Getting the Girl has a different title: When Dogs Cry.