From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-Cameron Wolfe, first introduced in Fighting Ruben Wolfe (Scholastic, 2001), wants a girlfriend. He wants sex. He wants to separate himself from his brothers' shadow. He wants to find himself and be something more than the underdog in the family. And he doesn't know how to go about getting what he wants. He is attracted to a girl who treats him horribly so he stands outside her house at night, hoping for glimpses of her. He likes his brother Ruben's girlfriend-and she treats him like a human being. When she and Ruben break up, Octavia shows an interest in Cameron and even though his brother already has another girlfriend, he beats up Cameron and Octavia walks away. Ruben has some bigger problems, though, and violence is once again his method of solving them. However, this is Cameron's story, and he discovers that he is much more than he ever thought he could be. His sister is the first to recognize her brother's strengths and helps give him the courage to face himself and his demons. The interaction of the characters is a real strength of this novel. It is a story of family dynamics and coming of age, interspersed with the protagonist's poignant poems and observations. The book, which was first published in Australia, should appeal to readers who want strong male characters such as those in Chris Crutcher's books.Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 9-12. In this sequel to Fighting Ruben
Wolfe (2001), the Wolfe family has settled into a kind of "okayness." For Cameron's brother, Ruben, that means "one girl after another, one fight after another." Only Cameron, who's in adolescence's high season, seems to feel restless and alone as he wanders the streets, pines over disinterested girls, and begins to discover his passion for writing. Then Ruben brings home beautiful Octavia, who, when Ruben predictably dumps her, surprises both brothers by turning to Cameron. Zusak interrupts Cameron's first-person narrative with excerpts from Cameron's writing that, as does much of the book, reads like what it's supposed to be: the words of a talented teenage writer, including some heavy metaphors, self-consciously experimental style, and fresh, inventive images. The authentic emotion behind the words and Cameron's raw experiences are powerful, and teens, especially boys, will easily connect with Cameron's intense yearning to define himself within his family and to discover what romance is all about--to explore, as he puts it, "the edges of words, the loyalty of blood, and the music of girls." Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved