Title: Fighting Ruben Wolfe
Author: Markus Zusak
Length: ~210 pages
Plot Basics: The Wolfe family is in financial hard times and are losing status in the community. Brothers Cameron and Ruben start boxing in an underground circuit to make money and bring a reputation back to themselves and their families. Through fighting, they learn the true cost of being brothers, having family and what the value of a name really is.
Banter Points: This is the prequel to Zusak's achingly beautiful "Getting the Girl" which also features Cameron and Ruben. Nicely, though, you don't have to read one before the other. Again, Zusak captures the frustrated poignancy of teenage thoughts and tells a wonderful story about family. The boys have great moments of astute adult insight and head-shaking moments of teenage stupidity.
Bummer Points: Word Nerd's now read everything Zusak has written. He needs to get cracking on something new, she thinks.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you have or know teenage boys, get them to read these books. If you like good books, no matter what your age, look into Zusak. He's young and likely has a long and *hopefully* prolific career in front of him.